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Why Employers and Job Seekers Aren’t Connecting

There seems to be a lot of buzz about “shortage of qualified workers” from companies around the county.  Has anyone really taken a good look at why this is?  In my roaming this week, the topic came up in every conversation.  Perhaps that was because it was on my agenda more than the other person’s.  But we had some interesting discussions.

One theory is that there’s a breakdown in communication.

The companies/employers are concerned about a skills match AND a cultural fit, but how do they communicate their department or company culture in a way a job seeker can understand?

All mission statements are not created equal.  Not all companies live by their mission.  It looks nice on the wall and the company website, but does it represent the “culture”?  I am talking behaviors, where are those listed?  We work late, we work autonomously, we socialize a lot during the workday, we are driven by hands-on management.

If they are looking for a “big picture” kind of person, what behaviors are they looking for? How will they know them when they hear them? Where does that go on the resume?  How would the job seeker know this if it isn’t described in the job posting?

Job seekers are generally not very good at representing themselves in their best light.  Humble, frightened, intimidated, depressed, and other emotional issues are part of the reason.

The written and verbal communication of their skills and talents are often not as strong as they could be, so it isn’t the most qualified candidate who gets the job, but the one who is better at talking about their abilities who gets the job.

Job seekers often times come across “desperate” without meaning to.  This can be result of lack of focus or clarity in what they are looking for and/or what they are really great at doing.

Inexperience in the search process is another reason for disconnect.  Without meaning to, job seekers can come across rude, abrupt, aggressive, passive or something else other than they intend.  There are certain “rules of engagement” employers expect to see and some of those are different today.

Obviously, I am generalizing.  There are exceptions to these rules on both sides.  But can we agree that the hiring system is broken?  Can we at least agree we have to do more to get people back to work?  An interview is like a test.  Not all people do well at tests.  Sometimes we can learn to be better “test-takers” other times the tests are eliminated.

Hiring employers, you owe it to yourselves and the community to be more transparent.

  • Who are you really?
  • What are the recognizable behaviors you will be hiring for?
  • What are the real requirements of the job, not your wish-list? Can you prioritize them please, so we all know.

Job seekers, you also owe it to yourselves to be more sure of what YOU are looking for and where you’ll be a good fit

  • Do your homework, learn about the companies you would be a fit in.
  • Be confident of your skills and what you can do and who you are.
  • You won’t be a fit for all companies and jobs, don’t get discouraged.
  • Large is out, small is in.  Learn how your skills translate into a smaller organization.
  • Tell STAR or accomplishment stories during the interview process.
  • Learn the new rules of  job search. Read Michael Hess’s article on mistakes he sees job seekers make, “It’s As If These Applicants Don’t Even Want A Job

It seems to me that this is a topic that needs more discussion.  How can we get qualified job seekers in front of hiring companies with out the stress so that they really get to know each other and see the possibilities?

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