When It’s Raining Job Candidates

Before the pandemic struck, employers were struggling to find people to fill open positions. But the pandemic has changed that in many respects. There were almost seven million jobs available in October (latest figures available), but in November (latest figures available) nearly 20 million people were getting some sort of unemployment benefits.

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What this leads to is more people applying for openings, and companies faced with more candidates to screen. Moreover, many people are simply sending in applications for anything that looks remotely like something they might be qualified for. This causes a lot of headaches for recruiters and hiring managers and results in hiring processes taking longer than they should.

So, in the midst of this glut that is clogging the hiring pipeline, what can companies do to improve the process and improve their hires? The answer is to provide clarity and openness – about the requirements for the job, the duties, the pay, the application, and the hiring process itself.

  1. Job Requirements

When posting job ads, most companies frame job requirements in terms of education and experience, which actually may have little to do with the actual skills needed for the work. Moreover, requirements are often expressed in abstract terms whose meanings may be clear to the hiring manager, but no one else.

Rather, the job requirements should focus on the skills, knowledge and abilities the person actually needs to do the work and how these skills will be measured.

  1. Job Duties

Too often this is a general description filled with language that sounds more at home in a courtroom than a job ad. Companies need to show what the job is really like. To do this, they should include things such as photos, videos or a podcast to describe it. Candidates need to see all aspects of the job, both the good and not so good parts.

  1. Salary

There is no reason to keep salary information hidden on the assumption it will strengthen the company’s negotiating position. This is not a useful approach. Nor is discounting candidates who ask about salary early in the process.

Again, companies need to be open about salary, including a pay range in the job posting.

  1. Application

Too often the application is long and detailed, prompting many qualified candidates to simply look elsewhere. Sometimes companies ask candidates to upload a resume into an applicant tracking system and submit an application, which is a recipe for candidate frustration.

Applications should be as easy as possible to complete. You need to consider what information you really need at this initial stage of the process. Do you really need a Social Security number and references at this point? The simpler the application, the more likely the candidate is to complete it.

  1. The Hiring Process

The hiring process at many companies is often rather mysterious. Not many understand how it works, why it is set up the way it is, or how long it should take.

Companies need to be transparent about the hiring process. In fact, some recruiters advocate putting it online, offering regular email updates as to where things stand. Moreover, hiring managers need to be accountable for evaluating candidates according to established criteria. They should not be allowed to kick the can down the road, to hold candidates in limbo. They need to review resumes and applications with an eye toward skills and not simply education and experience.

Changing these things will make the whole process less of a numbers gambit, but rather an effort focused on finding someone who can do the job and add value to the company.

Helpmates can help you sort through “too many” job applicants so that you interview just the top candidates. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more.

Follow These Steps to Create a Great Apprentice Program

Companies are constantly complaining that they cannot find enough qualified people to fill all of their openings, saying that job candidates just don’t have the skills that are needed.

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A survey earlier this year revealed that the problem is worse than ever – talent shortages at a ten-year high, with two-thirds of companies surveyed saying they were having trouble filling positions.

Workers also are frustrated. Only about one-third of college students believe their institutions are giving them the education and skills they need to prepare them for the job market and a good career. More students are complaining that a college degree isn’t worth the high cost.

This crisis is causing some companies to take action to solve it. In an effort to bring workers’ skills more in line with the needs of employers, some companies are establishing apprenticeship programs.

When most people hear the word apprenticeship, they think of an educational program associated with the trades.

But companies are now also using apprenticeships for professional jobs so that they can shape people into the kind of workers they need. Twenty-first century apprenticeships are work-based training programs used in a variety of jobs, including cybersecurity, healthcare, data analytics, engineering, hospitality management, and manufacturing.

Companies that offer apprenticeship programs report higher productivity, innovation and retention among their workers.

How Apprenticeships Work

One salient feature of this new kind of apprenticeship is that it is highly targeted toward specific individuals and specific jobs. These apprenticeships are customized to fit the particular needs of a company. A worker is paid while they get on-the-job training. As the worker advances in skill level, their pay increases proportionally.

While apprenticeships are tailored to specific needs, there are some general guidelines that organizational experts recommend to ensure the programs are as effective as possible. They are the following:

  1. Put together a team to develop the apprenticeship program and get it off the ground. Team members should include a cross-section of company employees, including people who provide services to customers, mid-level management and leadership.
  2. If looking for external support, identify any educational institutions, such as community colleges or universities, or other nonprofit organizations or state apprenticeship organizations that can help run the program.
  3. Have coaches in place to work with those in the program.
  4. Develop clear, measurable goals for the program, as well as determining exactly what skills and core competencies each apprentice needs to master, along with a way to measure these skills.
  5. Create a curriculum that is tailored to the core competencies and skills.
  6. Establish training schedules and wage levels.
  7. Put a process in place for evaluating the program and making changes as needed.

Industry Recognized Programs

If you want your apprentice program to qualify for national recognition within your industry, you can register it with the U. S. Department of Labor. There are three general criteria that must first be met in order to register – identifying a specific occupation that the program is designed for, developing a training plan and listing a training provider for the classroom element of the program.

When you register, you will have access to federal resources and technical assistance, qualify for state tax credits and the program also will offer a nationally recognized credential for apprentices.

It’s not too early to start finding newly-minted members of the Class of 2021 for your job opportunities. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

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