More Under Skilled Job Applicants Coming Your Way

The last thing that employers who are seeking skilled workers needs is job hunting advice like this:

4 Steps to Getting Hired When You Aren’t Completely Qualified

That is the headline of a recent Fast Company article. The subtitle continues:

Don’t meet all the requirements for the next move in your career? No matter!

Candidate Sourcing Resu-mess,Applicant ProcessingPosting a job and receiving applications from enough qualified candidates is driving managers crazy. In a recent survey conducted by PeopleMatter , 89 percent of the companies surveyed are having a difficult time recruiting enough qualified workers.  Seventy percent do not find it easy to identify the best candidates quickly. The problem is compounded by high turnover rates and costs (70 percent).

With jobs requiring more skills, often specialized, advice to fake it until you make it sounds like nails screeching on a blackboard to the frustrated hiring manager.

The article then opens with these pearls of wisdom:

… if you’re in the market for a career move, you don’t have to limit your search to positions you totally qualify for.

WOW!  (That advice might even warrant a WTF!)

The truth is the finding skilled workers is getting harder.  There are simply more skilled jobs than there are people who can do the work.  The problem is exacerbated when companies “upcredential,” the process of requiring college degrees for jobs currently performed by high school grads. And as long as we discussing things employers don’ t want to hear – companies are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding enough skilled workers.

As Boomers retire and technological disruptions mount, skill gaps will widen and shortages will mount. Finding qualified workers will become more difficult and the time to hire will increase. Receiving more unqualified applicants without a plan and process to screen out high-risk and poorly qualified applicants is like dumping more hay on the stack, burying the prize deeper. Advice like that suggested in this article only creates more work and requires more resources to sift through all the noise to find that one-of-a-kind diamond employee.

But to be fair, the advice offered in the article is not totally off the wall. There are good reasons for managers to look outside traditional credentials and experience when hiring.  When focused on competencies like innovative capacity, customer service, managing people, planning and organizing – these skills are transferable from one job to another, from one industry to another.  For sure, some jobs require technical skills and/or a level of proficiency.  But many positions don’t.  And even when they do, technical and administrative skills can be training and developed.  If the candidate has the potential, abilities, and motivation, then hiring a candidate who doesn’t fit the traditional mold makes sense.

But that requires a high functioning screening and selection process. And most companies don’t have the systems, the technologies, or the processes in place to quickly screen out poor fits and identify high potentials accurately.  In many organizations, screening and selection is still a people-intensive fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants crap shoot.

So even when a company thinks they have figured out how to manage the flow of candidates, someone comes a long and throws a wrench into the works – like suggesting that candidates reach for the stars even if they don’t have the qualifications.


Ira S Wolfe