Intro: John Cullens, President and Founder of ApartmentCareers.com, thought this was a good question for property management hiring professionals.
By Peter Weddle, Executive Director IAEWS
Beyond.com recently conducted a survey of 4,000 job seekers and HR professionals and found that 75 percent of the HR folks who responded felt that job seekers were unqualified. I'm not surprised. Employers have changed the definition of "qualified" and told no one about it. In fact, I'd bet that, for a significant number of recruiters, the change has been unconscious.
In most case, companies today are no longer competing against cheap labor. They're competing against smart labor – against other companies with workers who have state-of-the-art educational backgrounds and skills. So, in order to survive, let alone prosper in such an environment, they've had to reset their definition of a "qualified applicant." They're no longer willing to hire someone who can do a job; they're looking for the person who can and will excel at it.
Change is always a challenge, but what's most troubling about this situation is that recruiters aren't communicating the change to job seekers. Their stated requirements and responsibilities are the same that appeared in the position description for their opening when it was last posted in 2008 or 2003 or 1997. The definition of qualified has changed between their ears and between the ears of the hiring managers for whom they work, but not in their job postings.
If you have any doubt about that, log onto any blog or discussion forum that caters to job seekers. You'll find post-after-post with a message that goes something like this: "I was an exact match for the specified requirements and responsibilities of an opening, and I didn't even get an invitation to interview for it." In other words, what employers are publicly saying they want and what they actually want in their new hires are now two different things.
What Does That Mean for Job Boards?
If 75 percent of recruiters think the candidates they're seeing are unqualified, that's likely to mean that 75 percent of the recruiters posting their jobs are going away disappointed. Now, I know there are numerous other surveys that report job boards remain the #1 source of external new hires – and I believe that's true – but it's hard to imagine the industry staying strong if three quarters of our customers are unhappy with the talent we provide.
So, let's discuss what – if anything – is to be done.
First, is the 75 percent finding an anomaly or is it a good approximation of the recruiter community's perception of today's job seeker population?
Second if the finding is accurate, what can job boards do about it?
- Can they attract a different and better qualified cohort of the workforce to their sites?
- Can they teach job seekers how to write resumes that will better express their ability to excel on-the-job?
- Can they teach recruiters to write job postings that accurately describe the kind of talent they're seeking?
- Or is there something else they can and should do?