Are You Chasing The Wrong Kind Of Hire?

For employers to succeed in talent acquisition it’s all about the passive talent, or so HR has been led to believe. Does that mean you should avoid active job seekers unless there's no alternative? Not necessarily, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal which suggests employers may be chasing the wrong kind of hire.

The article discusses a survey carried out by global job board Indeed which suggests that the pool of active candidates is much larger than employers believe.

The statistics suggest that:-

  • 65% of employees look for alternative employment within the first three months of starting a new job.
  • Nearly two thirds of professionals look at job listings at least once a month.
  • 44% subscribe to job alerts.
  • 71% in or considering entering the workforce are actively looking for a new job.

Passive or active – are the lines blurred?  

Passive candidates have traditionally been considered the more attractive candidates as they possess more sought after skills and are regarded as harder to recruit. Indeed’s survey suggests that attitudes are changing. 

At the same time, job seeking habits are changing too. All professionals carry a smartphone around with them so it’s easy for even ‘passive’ candidates to submit a casual registration of interest to a company. While they may not be actively looking for a job they are open to exploring opportunities and will subscribe to job alerts.

Perhaps the lines between passive and active candidates are not so distinct. Our recent article Can HR Prevent Your Talent Exodus? also highlights the complex issues facing UK businesses, namely disengaged employees, stagnant productivity and rising pay levels. In a complex environment candidate definitions are not so straightforward.

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Regardless of whether or not a candidate is ‘passive’ or ‘active, employers remain concerned about the lack of qualified applicants for their jobs with some sectors affected more than others. According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) vacancies in STEM occupations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are almost twice as likely to be unfilled due to a lack of skills. 

Expanding the parameters of talent acquisition

Perhaps it’s not so much that companies are chasing the wrong kind of hire but they need to expand their hiring parameters. Here are three areas where traditional hiring solutions may benefit from a broader approach to hiring:-


By 2020 millennials will have overtaken baby boomers in the workforce. Constantly connected, freely sharing personal information online and preferring the instant nature of sites like Snapchat to LinkedIn, HR must adapt to the needs of this workforce while aligning their talent search with business needs. It is a delicate balancing act, given the fact that millennials think nothing of moving jobs if their current employer doesn’t meet their personal aspirations. Providing opportunities for career progression ranked highest on PwC’s Millennials Survey. Without that, turnover levels will continue to rise and employees will remain indifferent to their jobs. 

Skills and experience over qualifications

Take inspiration from the example of PwC who no longer use ‘A’ level grades when screening graduate recruits. A growing numbers of businesses are prioritising skills, work experience and personal attributes over qualifications.  Notably, 16% of those surveyed suggested that the personal statement was the most important element of a CV, representing a shift in hiring attitudes. Efficiency and resilience were the skills highest ranked by employers. The challenge here is how HR identifies these key attributes during the hiring process.

Don’t dismiss older workers

Research from the University of Newcastle suggests the UK is failing the ambitions of its older workforce but it’s not all bad news for older workers. Over one million company directors are now over the age of 65 but the skills and experience of 'baby boomers' and Generation X are often overlooked in the race to secure the services of younger professionals.

Suggestions for improving the status quo include:-

  • Provide more careers guidance for older workers, focusing on  transferable skills which will benefit talent starved employers.
  • Concentrate on sectors that will benefit from the experience of older workers, for example, SMEs which struggle to attract the skills their businesses need.
  • Older workers often have caring responsibilities for ageing parents as well as grandchildren. Taking advantage of flexible working will enable businesses to source in-demand skills and experience.

As 2015 draws to a close we will undoubtedly see a growing number of surveys confirming the skills shortage with advice on how to attract high achievers to your employer brand.

With a degree of flexibility, HR can stay ahead in the talent race.  

Find the right kind of hire for your business with cloud based recruiting software that manages your entire recruitment process, allowing you to focus on creative hiring solutions your business needs. 

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You might also like to read:-

Soft Skills : Trending Worldwide In Talent Acquisition

Talent Acquisition : Why Slow Hiring Is Bad For Business

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