Most companies are trying to hire talent based on flawed assumptions. Worse, they’re making excuses that perpetuate their errors.
Over the past several years, I’ve been asking hiring managers, business and HR leaders and recruiters to describe their biggest hiring challenges. I hear a whole litany of woes: not enough good candidates, candidates accepting counter-offers, salaries that aren’t competitive, hiring manager who aren’t engaged, incompetent recruiters, and qualified hires who nevertheless don’t fit the culture.
Then there’s that word that should be four letters but isn’t: “turnover.” The list goes on and on.
While these are all valid and legitimate concerns, most solutions offered are just temporary fixes. The root cause of all of these types of problems is that that the company is using the wrong strategy. From what I’ve seen there are two fundamental hiring strategies. The default–and improper–strategy is based on the assumption that there is a surplus of very talented people just waiting at the company’s doorstep. This assumption leads to a lot of tactical steps that cause the hiring problems noted above. Under this surplus assumption, processes are then designed to weed out the weak with the expectation that a few top people will remain to be hired.
This surplus talent strategy begins by defining and advertising jobs that emphasize a laundry of “must have” requirements. Recruiters are then assigned to select the best of these people who apply and who also fit a narrow compensation range. Worse, these people have to pass these filters before they even learn about the job. This dumb idea is comparable to agreeing to a price for a product before the product is revealed. Of course, if there isn’t a surplus of talented people to fill these jobs and endure the demeaning process, the process won’t work.