In a 4th floor walkup a job seeker sits at home, alone, afraid, worried that no one will give him a chance; make him feel wanted and needed. He needs a job and he needs it now. He’ll settle for any job, so long as he can pay next months rent and buy a can of food for his cat Freda.
Across town you’re working another late shift feeling used, abandoned, sick and tired of having to cover one too many shifts on our own. You know you need to hire more people, but where do you find someone, anyone who will be on time, honest, and loyal? You’ve been down this rocky road before and it doesn’t end well, only in heartache. But, now you’ve reached the end of your rope. You’re desperate. You need an employee, any employee. You know the risks, yet you fall. You know your heart will be broken, but you can’t resist the pull to go home before 6:00; just once this week.
If you think about it, there are probably hundreds of unrequited job seekers and jobs within a 50-mile radius of you out there hoping to make a job love match. Reality tells us that in today’s job market with low unemployment and increasingly specialized skills, a good match is hard to find. So, how, as the employer, can you overcome this challenge?
The first step to employee/employer bliss is to identify the most important qualities you need in an employee. These can be interpersonal skills such as friendly, outgoing, a good listener, and patient. It can be solid experience in the job tasks, such as 3 years using SAP, certified forklift operator, and demonstrable skill in selling insurance. Other qualities to focus on may be ability to learn, mechanical aptitude, and tolerance for weather extremes. Regardless of what they are, it is necessary to identify the characteristics of the employee you hope to attract.
The second step is to create job postings that target the qualities you want in the applicants. Most job ads highlight tasks or technical/functional skill requirements of the position, such as Proficiency with MS-Office, 2 years exp as a cashier, or previous manufacturing. This immediately weeds out anyone who may want to enter that type of career, be very well suited to it, but cannot demonstrate the experience in it. What it also implies is that the employer is not very interested in developing the skills and talents of an otherwise qualified employee. In the work, worker, workplace continuum, this approach focuses on the work, leaving the other factors almost unconsidered.
The third step in the process is to use the resume or application to match your applicants’ characteristics to your requirements. Read “between the lines” to learn as much as you can about the applicant. Don’t be afraid to face the realities and look for “red flags”, such as high turnover or long gaps. If you are unsure what something means, ask for clarity. If you have a bad feeling, move on. As a general rule, the more matches to your requirements you find, the more versatile the candidate and the better fit to the role.
The fourth step is the telephone, webinar, and/or in-person interview. It is important to reach an understanding of just how the candidate’s personality and work ethic fits your company’s culture and the rigors of the job. Ask questions to gauge their sincerity, encourage them to ask questions so they know the job need to fit their needs, as well. In the end, the hire ONLY someone who is a good fit for you. The more you settle, the greater the chance you’re headed for a breakup in the future. Be selective early and spare the heartache later.
I contend that placing the high regard for the worker qualities that closely fit the work and the workplace opens the door to attracting high quality people who may be more committed to you and your company because it seems like entering a relationship rather than a job.
Please leave a comment or contact us to discuss how you can become a great Hiring Matchmaker for your business.
A small grocery store opened in my neighborhood a few months ago. We go in several times a week to pick up odds and ends and look for bargains on the high-quality meat they cut right in-house. It’s close, convenient and not busy or pretentious. Over time, I’ve gotten to know the general manager and part owner who is there a lot. When I teased him once about spending so much time in the store, he stopped and gave a look of a man with something ready to burst out of him, but trying to keep it bottled up.
I paused as if to let him know it was ok to share. He did. . .
It seems he was there a lot because he is having so much trouble keeping employees. He explained, “I hire them, train them, give them hours, but if they have something better to do, they just don’t show up.” I asked how that could be. . . how can people just go AWOL from their employment. He said I wouldn’t believe how common it is for his workers to just quit without notice and after only a few days or weeks on the job.
Since then, I’ve made it my mission to ask around and get perspectives of other employers of these types of workers and apparently, it is a rampant problem facing industries from manufacturing, retail, agriculture, hospitality, food service, and even healthcare. But, is there a solution?
So far, I’ve only seen the frustration and resignation to this trend. If a solution exists, it may be the next great discovery of our time.
I’m interested in real-world stories from employers who have experienced this dilemma. What are you doing about it? Have you found a reasonable solution? Are you thinking of changing the way you structure your business to adapt?
Please leave your comments below. If you don’t mind, I may reach out to you to learn more. Thanks!
David Koster is the owner and principle consultant of Team Learning Services. He has 30 years experience in the education and learning industry.