The shortage of skilled workers has caught up with us in all areas. While it originally only affected technical industries, it has now become difficult for companies in all sectors to find the right employees.
In fact, there are not enough skilled workers on the market. The number of computer scientist positions we are asked to fill is steadily increasing. At the same time, there is still no school in Vienna that offers computer science right from the start. The training paths are not yet sufficient to bring the employees needed in the future onto the labor market.
Problems are partly homemade
However, the problems are not only to be found in the labor market, often it is internal processes of the companies that make it difficult to fill positions. For example, in many organizations, executives are still not involved in recruiting. The HR department alone is still responsible for approaching and pre-selecting candidates.
In my daily work, I see that the coordination between the HR department and the respective managers can be significantly improved. We often experience how candidates drop out again – due to unclear internal processes in the company.
Ultimately, even the glossy-style employer branding commissioned by the marketing department does little to match the actual working culture in the company. The larger the gap between the polished employer branding and the actual situation, the more difficult it is to actually fill positions and retain employees.
When recruiting doesn’t run at eye level
Recently, we were looking for a professional for a technology company. I was responsible for recruiting. In order to find three suitable people and win them over for an interview, we have to make a lot more effort in today’s skilled labor market than we did ten years ago – that’s no secret. No suitable candidates had responded to the advertisements, so we relied on direct approaches with the help of active sourcing. Active sourcing has become an indispensable tool for us to identify and address specialists who are not on the labor market.
I remember the first interview with the manager, who was still interviewing in the old style. The first question was “Why did you apply to us?” or “Why should we give you a chance?”
Here was the first upset in the conversation. The candidates had not applied, they were already employed and had only been persuaded to attend an interview at our request. A reversal of roles has long since taken place here. But many managers are not involved in recruiting and have not yet recognized this change.
But there are also positive examples, such as this experience I recently had while successfully recruiting for an IT company:
The interview is conducted by the head of the department in which should be filled. In an energetic speech, he described his career path with real enthusiasm, from his beginnings in the company to his challenges and successes, but also where he failed.
In doing so, he not only told his own authentic story, but at the same time conveyed the company’s working culture and his own management style. One of the candidates was immediately inspired and agreed. I have seen time and time again that managers who help shape recruiting contribute significantly to the success of filling a position.
3 strategies for successful recruiting
1. recruiting is a management task
From the culture of start-ups, we know the principle that executives themselves are responsible for recruiting. Start-ups need to staff faster than established companies. There, the HR department is in a supporting role, and the manager is in the lead.
In young IT companies, managers are therefore also measured by their recruiting performance; after all, meeting sales targets depends on successfully recruiting new employees.
Authentic and sustainable employer branding means that all managers and also the employees:inside represent the company to the outside world and thus also pay into the account of the company brand in the long term. In the future, only such companies will be able to attract candidates and inspire them to work for the company.
The network of managers is becoming increasingly important in this context. Today, a dialog between managers and candidates at eye level is crucial for getting talent on board.
2. recruiting is part of the corporate strategy
In order to successfully fill positions, recruiting must be placed high up as part of the corporate strategy. A consistent HR strategy with a recruiting strategy identifies which positions need to be filled in the company in the future.
Who are we looking for? What qualifications, what level of seniority? And finally, recruiting does not end with staffing; the strategy also includes reviewing salary levels, onboarding new employees, and training and development.
Companies that are successful in recruiting and staffing in the long term have therefore positioned their recruiting strategically. Recruiting is part of the company’s strategic decisions in these organizations.
3. Hiring for attitude, not for skills
I spoke earlier about there not being enough skilled workers on the market. Companies need to be prepared to train employees, not just look for existing skills. We have to base our quota on potential and not purely on qualifications. The qualifications we are looking for today are often no longer, or not yet, on the labor market.
“Hire for attitude” means that we should increasingly look for candidates who bring the potential and fit the corporate culture, and are trained in the required skills within the company.
The shortage of skilled workers has caught up with us everywhere. However, if positions cannot be filled, this is not only due to the situation on the labor market, but often also to more internal processes. In the future, companies will…
• Actively involve managers in recruiting,
• Understand recruiting as the corporate strategy;
• search for candidates with potential and take over the training itself.
Sarah Weber is an HR expert with over 15 years of recruiting and employer branding experience in the technology sector. A native of the Rhineland, she is the mother of a son and a daughter, and is currently training for her second half-marathon.