Many organizations feel like they are trying to find a needle in a growing haystack when it comes to recruiting talent. Just read the headlines and you’ll likely get a daily dose about how difficult it is for companies to find the right people. Despite the high awareness of the impact that a growing skill gap has on business, many organizations are just working harder instead of getting smarter.
Consequently there is another growing skill gap that is standing like an elephant in the room that few people acknowledge: the preparedness gap between a candidate’s job seeking ability and a company’s ability to source and hire enough qualified talent.
Jobseekers seem to have figured it out. They got better at finding the right job in the right company than organizations did at recruiting talent.
Here is one example of how job search is changing. While doing research for my new book When the SHIFT Hits Your Plan, I discovered this start-up company called LearnUp. Here is how their platform works.
Job seekers go to its website and find an online platform with a mini course they can use to learn about the actual requirements and skills needed for a job before they apply. It offers training modules on how to prepare for an interview, as well as the specific skills needed for different open positions, including how to build a customer relationship, how to sell clothing, and how to solve a customer problem… The trainings are set up to take just one to two hours, but that is enough for job candidates to learn about the company, gain skills needed for the role, and become qualified to apply. For the companies it also identifies those who have the persistence to learn the basics and those who don’t.
Let’s examine the LearnUp model a bit further.
For years I’ve suggested that candidates were often more prepared for an interview than the hiring manager. Do a simple Google search for “interview questions” and you’ll get over 37 million results in less than half a second. Not only does such a search include questions but answers. Add websites like Glassdoor to the mix and a candidate can know what questions will be asked and what answers a specific manager wants well before they show up for the interview.
LearnUp takes job screening and interview preparation to a new level. Before a candidate applies, they receive training on the skills needed and how to interview. They “study” for about two hours and are then qualified to apply! It doesn’t mean they can really do the job but at least they got an interview. That sounds like a lopsided victory for job seekers.
To be fair to companies like AT&T, Old Navy, and Fresh Markets using this tool, they have also done their homework through competency modeling and people analytics to determine the skills, abilities, experience, and traits required to do a job. They then worked with LearnUp to design training modules specific to their jobs and their cultures. Candidates who don’t have the persistence or ability often drop out saving both them and the company a lot of time.
Compare that to the subjective criteria many recruiters and managers use to source, screen and hire candidates as well as the cursory training many managers get on how to conduct an effective interview and candidate assessment.
But that’s not all LearnUp does.
Once a [jobseeker] completes the course, LearnUp actually sets up a job interview for them with the company of their choice. “LearnUp is linked to a specific job opening with a real open interview slot,” explains Alexis Ringwald, founder and CEO of LearnUp. “Job seekers who are about to apply online to a job at one of our partners can access LearnUp by clicking a button on an employer’s career site that says ‘prepare before you apply.’” LearnUp does not screen candidates out— rather, it tries to train them and coach them for a particular job opening. As they learn more about the job through LearnUp, candidates choose to go forward with the application or opt out by clicking a button that says, “I don’t want this job.”
The system then goes on to provide coaching, encouragement, interview reminders, and advice.
All I can say is WOW! The process of recruiting talent transformed from an employer-driven task to a collaborative partnership. Within the context of a platform like LearnUp, candidates might even be in the driver seat.
Now I’m not suggesting that LearnUp has cracked the code for all problems linked to acquiring and recruiting talent. But it is clear that with a limited pool of talent plus limited time and resources to fill open positions that many organizations are finally stepping up their game. They are exploring innovative ways in unchartered territory to source, screen, and select the right employee. That means the cream of the crop is being skimmed off the top before many organizations get a chance.
No wonder it is so hard for the average company to recruit talent. Average is over. Isn’t it time to do something different? Contact me today about our Talent Intelligence Architect coaching program.
(The LearnUp information is an excerpt from Thomas L. Friedman’s newest book Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.