Why The Best People Aren't Applying For Your Jobs

Issue 23

Bryony Gibson, Managing Director of Bryony Gibson Consulting, shares her thoughts on what could be stopping top talent from coming to work with you.

In PwC’s latest survey of global CEO’s, as well as being the most likely to grow their workforce, UK business leaders were the most worried about finding the skills they need to drive growth.

Rising from second place to top spot in 2017’s ranking of business threats, the UK’s apprehension points to a significant lack of the skills CEOs believe their staff need in order to flourish in the future.

Adaptability, problem-solving, leadership and collaboration were the most highly prized skills for new employees; but it’s these softer, more people-orientated talents that are often the hardest to recruit.

Described as the ‘skills gap’ – the difference between expertise employers want and the skills available from workers looking for a job – this is something that has been hampering business growth for several years.

In truth, great people are difficult to find in any competitive industry, as the very best people vanish from the job market as quickly as they appear. So are these skills really in short supply, or do companies simply not know how to attract the right people to their vacancies?

Advertising your job

The perfect people are usually working in jobs they enjoy so when advertising a vacancy it’s your responsibility to excite them about the opportunity.

All too often adverts have a lack of clarity and that means anyone with a number of options simply won’t apply. Common mistakes are being unclear on the job title, not offering enough information about the day-to-day role, or failing to explain why you’re such a great company to work for.

While it’s not always about the money, not specifying a salary is also very off-putting. If you have a figure in mind write it down, as it will save time for everyone concerned in the long-run.

Jargon filled job posts are my pet hate. Keep things simple and never use any gender biased language, as this will immediately switch people off.

The recruitment process

I’ve never understood why so many people insist on making it difficult for busy people to apply for a new job.

Think carefully about who you are trying to reach before you plan your recruitment strategy. Ask yourself if an application deadline is necessary? Do you definitely need an application form completing at the first stage?

Recruitment is two-way process, so if you’re clear about who you’re looking for, you don’t have to fear making the application process flexible and simple, because shortlisting should always be comparatively easy.

Attractiveness of the role

There’s nothing worse than going through a lengthy recruitment process where you find your dream candidate, only for them to turn your job offer down.

If this is happening regularly, try stepping backwards and asking yourself some honest questions: What is your competition doing? Do you have a clear employer brand? Are there blockages and changes needed in your recruitment process?

If your organisation is ambitious and has a desire to be the best, then you’re looking for someone who not only brings expertise and performs at the very highest level, but who also matches your organisation’s core values; so make sure they’re clearly defined and communicated.

As Jim Collins famously said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant”. Competition for the best people is going to continue to increase in the coming years and factors like office location, job security and salary will always play a big part, but these can be addressed through flexible working conditions, building a strong reputation as an honest and fair employer and monitoring industry salary levels.

If your ‘skills gap’ is slowing progress, then avoiding some of these mistakes could be the most important thing you ever do.

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