There is no reason for employers to whine about "talent shortage." There is no talent shortage — only poor recruiting practices that drive job applicants away.
Realistic job specs describe living people, not imaginary beings. Recruiting problems are operational problems on the employer's side — not deficiencies in the talent community!
I always ask HR leaders what percentage of applicants who begin their recruiting process end up completing their application, but most leaders don't know the answer.
They don't keep track of applicants who abandon the online application because they find the application process so off-putting — but they should!
It is important to know where your process could improve.
The very people who abandon your careers site before completing a job application could be your best new hires if your form and process were more reasonable.
We talk incessantly about Customer Experience and User Experience, but the Candidate Experience is wretched in far too many organizations.
Why would we treat customers like gold, but trample job-seekers underfoot?
Who takes care of those customers, after all?
Here are five of the most common ways employers drive talented job-seekers away.
Obnoxious job ads
Burdensome and insulting application forms
Terse, unfriendly and robotic communications
Unnecessary tests and requirements
Harsh interviewing practices
The first way employers drive away applicants is through their job ads, which are often long lists of Essential Requirements and not a word about why a talented person would want the job.
Job ads are advertisements, but too many HR and Recruiting folks forget that.
They write a job ad as a tool to weed out undesirable job-seekers, and even talk to their readers in the third person: "The Selected Candidate will possess the following skills..."
No marketer worth their salt ever addressed their target audience in the third person, as though to imply "You there, reading this ad — you couldn't possibly be the candidate we seek!"
The second way employers drive talent away is by making their online application forms as arduous and insulting as possible.
It is insulting to ask a job-seeker to hand over their references and their entire salary history in the process of applying for a job.
Their salary history is irrelevant to your hiring decision, as long as their salary requirement is within your range.
References are none of your business right now. If you and a particular applicant continue your conversation long enough to start talking about working together, you can ask for references then.
Why so many employers communicate with applicants in their recruiting pipeline using the worst Zombie Business Voice is beyond me.
We can compose friendly email messages that sound like human beings composed them, rather than computers.
What's the downside to treating job applicants with respect? There isn't one and smart companies have been doing it for years.
Vendors get rich selling pre-employment tests, questionnaires and quizzes to further complicate and slow down the recruiting processes, but every unnecessary step drives more talented people away from your company.
If you can't find the time to talk to a job-seeker on the phone before tossing to-do items at them, even when you like their qualifications, why should they invest a minute (much less an hour or more) taking tests for you?
The last recruiting process that drives talented people away is the interview process.
When interviews are treated purely as vetting activities and interviewees are subjected to scripted questions rather than being invited to chat the way people do, the most marketable candidates will never make it onto your payroll.
They will drop out of sight, instead — and go to work for a company that values them more than you do!