Supply Chain Illustrated

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The Great Labor Shortage. Are we the problem?

Search, Find, Lose, Repeat. It is Time to Rethink Recruiting!

In many conversations recently, the lack of candidates to fill supply chain jobs is the top concern of my colleagues. In one case, a job was posted and absolutely no one applied. Zero. In other cases, it’s one or two applicants. This is astounding. I’m told, “We’re doing everything we can, and still not finding candidates!”

Wait, really? You’re doing everything you can? “Like what,” I asked.

“Well, you know, we’re posting on all the job boards. We’re reaching out to our friends on social media platforms. Contacting colleagues that we know and asking for their help. Everything,” came the reply.

“Is any of that new? Or are you just having more people do the same things as before?”

Sound familiar?

Let’s take a step back. What is recruiting? For years, it’s been a focus on writing job descriptions and then posting somewhere and expecting that there is a magic pot of people just waiting to line up and work for your company.

It’s time for a change. Recruiting means you are actively “selling” your company to the prospective candidate. It’s about your management style, your company culture, the perks your company offers. It’s about the location of your company. It’s about what your company makes, the impact your company has and the vision your company shares.

It’s about perspective. When you write a job description, think about whether you would be interested in pursuing that position. Or maybe more accurately, would you be happy if your daughter or son wanted to apply for that job. Most job descriptions are a grocery list of experience needed, daily stuff you’ll need to do, detailed lists of actions you’ll need to perform and perhaps areas for which you’ll be held accountable. I’ve been there, done that. But now, as I write this, I realize how wrong this is and always has been.

Because we aren’t searching for experience, we’re searching for capabilities. We aren’t looking for previous job titles, we’re searching for potential. And this is the kicker: We’re looking for “fit” with our culture. We’re looking for personalities, team players, attitudes, tenacity, verbal communication skills, and a few other things that, frankly, cannot be put on a resume.

So, we need an overhaul. The resume is outdated as a recruiting screen. The job description is desperately seeking a make-over. The expectation that “people will come” is a wish and a hope that despite all the things we’ve done wrong, everything will work out fine.

First is perspective. As the company seeking employees, you are not holding all the cards. You must entice people to come work for you or for your company. You must actively convince people to come live in your community, or to travel to your location. The fact that you might be willing to pay a good salary just puts you in the same box as every other company. Differentiate yourself.

Second is information flow. The resume is a checkbox activity. You can rearrange the format, but it really was developed as a one-size-fits-all way to tell the story of your life. One-size-fits-all has never been more poorly used. We developed a work-around called networking, where we meet interesting people, collect their contact info and then seek them out as potential new employees. Let’s redefine the candidate screening process.

Third is timeframe. Why do we wait until we have a position open before we even start thinking about candidates? We should be on the hunt all the time. 30 years ago, a company leader told me, “When you find a competent individual, you hire them.” His point was, it’s not easy to find talented individuals, so when you find one, you create the position to keep them. Let’s make recruiting a continuous, year-round search for talent.

ASCM Twin Cities is proposing one direction of the solution. Career Connection is a new way to recruit. Think of a career fair specifically personalized for your company, showing open positions, but also highlighting your company message to job seekers.

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