As recruiter for Acorel, I often get asked by colleagues why recruitment seems to be so difficult these days. The truth is the labor market has changed a lot in recent years. Ever since the pandemic remote & hybrid work, flexible working hours, virtual meetings and many other changes that were thought to be only temporary, have become something permanent and have highly impacted the recruitment scene.
This means, for instance, that professionals currently have a much broader pool of potential employers, especially when looking at fully remote jobs, which are becoming more and more popular. In addition, there seem to be more jobs offered, than there are professional looking for a job (this is apart from the fact that there are more options because of the lack of geographical limitations).
Therefore, attracting and retaining new employees can be very challenging these days. Professionals simply have an abundance of options available. To mitigate this, we see that Employee Experience is becoming a priority in many organizations. Some even claim that Employee Experience will reach Customer Experience levels of sophistication in the coming years.
For me, when trying to explain the difficulties of recruitment nowadays, I like to compare recruitment with online dating:
- Online profile
As like in online dating, everything starts with creating your online profile. You write an interesting bio that makes you stand out from the rest, carefully choose your pictures and after specifying what you’re looking for, you start your search.
Recruitment is very similar to this process. You start with an online profile, which in this case means, your jobsite and vacancies. This is how organisations present themselves and specify what they are looking for. To stand out from others, organisations tend to show (carefully chosen) pictures of the workplace, the office, colleagues, among other things. A strong jobsite and accurate vacancies can make a huge difference in the number of applications organisations receive.
- Finding the right match
When searching for a potential partner, people tend to know in advance if they are looking for a long-lasting relationship or something less serious. Because of the abundance of apps like Tinder, Bumble and Happn, for example, the pool of people looking for long-lasting relationships have become smaller, as these services have become more popular. This is because with the rise of these apps, the pool of potential partners greatly increased, and with having so many options available a lot more people tend to stay single and aren’t necessarily looking for something long-term.
Finding a (long-lasting) employee has become more difficult for the same reason. Because of the abundance of job advertisements on social platforms, it’s again hard as an employer to stand out from the crowd. Why should a jobseeker choose your organisation, out of dozens of others? And even if you do stand out, you want to attract exactly those people who are looking for the job you offer. Not everyone will be suitable, so defining the specific audience you’re looking for is key. This is especially important if you want to retain those employees, since they have so many options.
- Getting to know each other
Online dating usually starts out with a match on a dating platform, interaction through text, then on phone and eventually you’ll both decide whether or not to meet up in person. While this does not count for everyone, in today’s era it’s common that either you and/or the person you’re meeting with are still talking with other potential matches, while you’re both figuring out if things will work out between you.
The same happens in recruitment, after talking on platforms like LinkedIn or other job boards, numbers, emails and resumes are exchanged, followed up by a (video)call and eventually, an in-person meeting with the candidate. However, just like in the situation above, candidates usually have several applications, either actively or pending. This means it is very important to focus on the candidate experience and make sure it stands out, as you’ll (almost) always be competing with other employers.
- It’s a match! (?)
When looking for a long-lasting relationship, people may advice against using apps like the ones mentioned above. Even when matching with a potential partner, these relationships rarely turn into a long-term committed relationship. For example, a 2020 survey shows that in the US, only 13% of users of online dating platforms have been in a committed relationship or marriage with someone they met through online dating (Pewresearch.org, 2020). Nevertheless, a lot of relationships nowadays seem to have started out in a similar fashion. But like said earlier, being a match doesn’t necessarily guarantee a long-lasting relationship: it requires continuous effort from both parties.
We can say the same about a match between an employer and employee. There can be a good match on paper, but only after hiring, will the process of continuous effort from both parties start. This means it’s not only about finding someone who is a match on paper, there are other factors which need to be taken into consideration when looking for a long-term employee, like ambitions, personality and competences. We currently see a shift where organisations are not hiring based on (hard)skills anymore, but solely on personality and competences.
In my opinion, both perspectives are equally important and valuable when trying to assess a potential new employee, especially when looking for a long-lasting employee’s. These are just a few examples of the challenges recruiters are facing. Hopefully the next time you receive an InMail (not the automated ones), you’ll understand that we recruiters are just trying to be good wingman for our organisations!