The number of job openings in the employment market has now exceeded pre-recessionary levels at nearly 5 million open positions but the hiring rate has not yet come close to that of ten years ago.
So why is it so hard to recruit and hire ideal candidates? Here are some of the reasons:
It’s a talent drive market.
Most all cities have returned to their pre-recession unemployment levels. Some cities, like Columbus, Ohio, have virtually reached full employment at 3.8%. Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate is at 4%, which is nearly the lowest rate since 2008.
Some analysts view the current unemployment rate with some skepticism. As a measurement of employment, critics say that the unemployment rate does not take into account people who have given up on finding employment or people who are working part-time and want full-time work. But, the unemployment rate, as it is defined, is little influenced by these factors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been measuring the unemployment rate consistently since 1940. The trend is down significantly. Talent is controlling the market. No one disagrees with that. Adjust your recruiting strategy accordingly.
We are hiring extremely slowly.
The average time to hire sales professionals is over 40 days. The number of days is not as significant as the fact that it is at the highest level it has ever been. We are interviewing and assessing our candidates forever.
I agree that you need to qualify candidates with multiple interviews and assessments before hiring. However, if you needlessly stretch out the hiring timeline, you are going to be in trouble.
Top candidates have little patience for companies who cannot make a timely decision or have long periods of no contact. Compress the timeline. Top candidates now have several alternatives. Ideal candidates will walk.
If you have multiple steps in your hiring process, make sure your candidate (and your recruiter) understands the process. Stay in touch.
We tend to overlook Boomers.
Boomers want to work. Many will be postponing retirement until their seventies or may never retire in the conventional manner. Unemployed or underemployed boomers are a bargain. They most likely will have a 10 to 15 year employment runway. Boomers are experienced, have a terrific work ethic and will typically reenter the workforce at a lower salary than when they left.
There is no statistical evidence that tells us that overqualified boomers, when reemployed, switch jobs as soon as a higher paying job comes along. Looking for a job when you are employed (or unemployed) is hard. Once employed…boomers stick. The average employment tenure for Boomers is seven years.
Filling sales positions are very hard.
Each year, ManpowerGroup publishes a listing of the top ten hardest jobs to fill in the US. For the past several years. The second most difficult job to fill in the US are sales representatives.
Why are sales positions so difficult to fill? Here are some of the reasons:
- Younger workers feel that commissioned-based compensation is risky and therefore not as attractive as other positions. Working is sales is perceived to be risky and cut-throat.
- Aging sales representatives are retiring and companies are struggling to replace them with equally qualified people.
- Sales jobs now require more technical knowledge and analytical skills than ever before.
- And as the Wall Street Journal puts it, “Sales is hard.”
So, how do I recruit my Ideal Candidate?
In light of the difficulties in finding top candidates, how do I find my ideal candidate? The process starts with developing an accurate description of the “Ideal Candidate.” In the case of sales representatives, here is where we begin:
- Where does the candidate live?
- How long has the candidate covered the territory?
- How long has the candidate been in his current position?
- Is the candidate’s current industry a match for the position requirements?
- Where is the candidate in the tenure of his career?
- Does the candidate’s education or and/or certifications match the position requirements?
- What are the candidate’s sales accomplishments?
- What is the candidate’s potential to be successful in his new role?
What about compensation? You will notice that we have not considered compensation when recruiting the ideal candidate. Compensation is not determined by the job description. Compensation is determined by the market.
Where do I find my Ideal Candidate?
Recruiting has become much more complicated. In a talent driven market, recruiters need to seek out ideal candidates…they are not necessarily looking for you. Here are several recruiting avenues to follow:
– Probably, not on job boards. It’s just too easy to apply for positions on job boards. Everyone applies to everything. Less than 5% of active candidates find their job on job boards. Passive candidates are not looking here.
– Definitely, networking in the community. Over seventy percent of candidates find their next position through networking. Are you networking with ideal candidates every week?
– Definitely, with recruiting agencies. We are pros. We recruit every day. We know a lot of recruiting avenues that most companies will not take the time to learn. We talk to talented people every day.
– Definitely, on LinkedIn. This is the best database for both active and passive candidates, but you need to know how to perform advanced search or you will waste a lot of time.
– Possibly at job fairs. Seems to still be effective for entry-level hourly positions but otherwise…ugh.
Finding ideal candidates for your company is a daily or weekly effort. Understand and define your ideal candidate. Develop a strategy of identifying and reaching out to potential candidates before you need them. Cultivate relationships. Expand your use of social media.
Ken Lazar, CEO
Ability Professional Network, LLC
Experts in Recruiting Sales Professionals