LinkedIn and other social media have turned the hiring process into a Disneyworld of broken dreams. Job seekers would like to just throw some fairy dust over their keyboards as they hit enter, applying for the countless job ads they find out there today. And similarly, corporate Talent Acquisition Managers enter their magic keywords into LinkedIn search bars, reaching out to the whole wide world hoping to find their one true Prince or Princess.
If it's so easy and magical, why is it that finding the right talent is so distressing? Survey after survey finds hiring challenges to be the most difficult factor in a company reaching its goals.
Large corporations strive to be innovative, but choke on their own barriers. Hiring policies, salary bands, approval processes and even EEO standards, which should help diversify the workforce act to slow things down to a stumbling pace where the best applicant for the job is often never even seen.
This happens because as terrific as the internet is at enabling us to reach out voluminously, it is still a machine. And hiring is a personal thing. Evaluating a person's creativity, future potential, sincerity, congeniality -- these are things that can't be measured by data analytics. They won't show up on keyword searches.
Even as far as skills and experience goes, many times the right mixture of skills isn't found because the HR recruiter doesn't really understand the nuances of the job. They look for keywords and if the person explains what they do in different terms, even if it's the exact same thing, they are rejected. For example, an internal recruiter might have 30 roles to fill in all different fields, so can't possibly understand in depth the job description for all of them. The job description may call for a Media Relations Manager and they could easily reject someone whose title is Senior Public Information Officer. The job description may ask for "established relationships with the media" and a resume may say: "consistent placements in Tier 1 press." The Talent Acquisition Manager really can't be blamed for not knowing it's the same thing.
So after three or four months of frustration, hiring a specialist recruiter is finally approved. The HR recruiter asks me "Do you have any PR Managers?" Like I have the perfect person in my back pocket. Over 25 years I've developed a great network of PR people, sometimes they're looking and sometimes they're not. Some work for consumer companies and some for manufacturing, technology, sports or financial companies. Some have staffs and some don't. Some want to work from home, etc etc -- 9 million stores in each naked city. Usually when I start a search, the hiring manager is already frustrated, overworked and hopeless, the HR Recruiter is defeated, squashed and unappreciated.
The sad story continues even after I find the right person for the job. The company takes so long the candidate accepts some other job that they've been pursuing for several weeks. Or the offer is not good enough and the candidate doesn't accept. Or what really hurts, they accept a counter offer from their current company that realizes what a drag it would be to have to find and hire someone new.