We are currently in the depths of the most challenging hiring market in a generation. Nationwide unemployment stands at a dismal 3.8%, and for the position categories that are most valuable to businesses, the unemployment rate is closer to zero. For high-quality employers, demand is robust for their products and services, but labor constraints are limiting their ability to serve their customers and grow. Human resource (HR) departments are scrambling to post job openings everywhere and get the word out, but the outcome is spotty with gushes and spurts of poor-quality candidates that must be sifted through immediately to find any possible nuggets of gold.
This environment would seem ideal for workers, surrounded by starving employers drooling for their interest and applications. The reality is far from it, which actually reveals a fascinating disconnect. Recently, I was speaking with a highly skilled diesel mechanic in search of a new opportunity. He had been conducting his job search exclusively through Indeed for the past several months but was unable to find a position that suited him. He shared that page after page on Indeed was full of jobs with poor-quality employers, unwilling to share pay rate information in their job post and then unwilling to offer him a wage that matched his experience. Over and over, he went in for an interview, hit it off with the hiring manager and service team, and then was offered a $16/hour position – when he deserved $20 plus per hour based on his years of experience. His deep frustration as a high-demand, skilled tradesmen was enormously surprising.
The truth is that we have entered an era when the channels for finding both employees and employers are so limited that everyone is essentially marketing job openings in the exact same place, whether you are a great employer that recognizes the value of your people or you are a rubbish employer that isn’t worth a second thought. Technology has created new and easier ways to reach candidates or find companies, but the result of massive participation in these technologies is that everyone is lost in the mix. Interestingly, companies like ZipRecruiter make it so easy to apply to positions that employers are flooded with unqualified candidates who don’t even finish reading the job post. Similarly, candidates are confined on their mobile devices within user-interfaces full of generic job listings and too little information to know if an employer is worth consideration. Just like the trend of high schoolers now applying to 25 colleges, candidates and employers are operating in a labor environment defined by high volume and poor fit.
As a contrarian staffing and recruiting industry entrepreneur, I have listened closely to these frustrations in my home staffing and recruiting markets for the past half-decade-plus from both employers and candidates, and, in response, I generally explain this phenomenon as “labor market noise.” With so much noise in the labor market on all sides it is essentially impossible for high-quality employers and candidates to find each other.
What is the solution to this crisis? The only solution is to create niche talent networks defined specifically by higher-standards of employers and talent. Instead of using Indeed or ZipRecruiter, which allows every company and human being to participate, or traditional staffing companies, which engage any warm body, our company, Xemplar Workforce Solutions, is developing staffing and recruiting hiring networks accessible only to top employers and top professionals within our markets.
How does it work? Our recruiting teams apply screening criteria that emphasize relevant experience and past job tenure, recognizing that “job-hopping” is a behavior that generally repeats. For companies, our recruiters only engage employers that fit our 4-point criteria: 1) they offer a high-quality product or service in the market, 2) they take care of their employees in the form of appropriate pay and benefits, 3) they know where they are headed in terms of their strategy and growth planning, and 4) they have the sophistication to be able to court high-quality candidates. The result is a virtuous network of employers and employees, where each party can find each other efficiently with more certainty and often lower cost than online job posting or junk-staffing services. Additionally, employers and candidates achieve higher satisfaction and, in most cases, we have been able to reduce turnover within companies by providing better quality and better matched new hires.
The world we live in and the labor market we hire in has changed drastically in the past several decades. Companies are more complex in terms of the skills and capabilities they need and their cultures are more unique in terms of the employees who fit them. The days of the generic employee that can be plugged into any job function are long gone or relegated to a few low-skill businesses. It is time for more sophisticated tools to solve today’s hiring challenges.
Xemplar is a premier staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and delivering a much-needed alternative and solution to traditional staffing services. Currently, Xemplar serves high-quality employers in manufacturing, transportation, engineering, equipment, energy, trades services, distribution, and industrial services. Xemplar recruiters place employees across a wide range of position types including machinists, welders, fabricators, production, quality, engineers, electricians, mechanics, clerical, professionals and executives. To learn more about Xemplar, call us at 844-XEMPLAR or visit www.xemplar.com.