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LinkedIn's Most Ironic Blog of 2018 - Recruiters despair in a tight labor market​
By David Harder on December, 26, 2018

LinkedIn’s Most Ironic Blog of 2018 – “Recruiters despair in a tight labor market”​

It is LinkedIn’s most ironic mass blog of the year:

“Recruiters despair in a tight labor market.”


The last time we had a war for talent was in 2006. During that period, employers continued to follow a formula that had worked for years. During a booming economy, we treated candidates and employees nicely. When we had a recession, we treated employees and candidates alike as expendable. The patterns were all based on short-term economics. You see, the Industrial Revolution established the mediocre standard of basing most of our work decisions around themes of survival and predictability. In down times, everyone was reminded that with one wrong move, their survival and predictability was over.


For most of us, 2008 was a watershed year. As we struggled to stay afloat or find work, we were also distracted as accelerating technology introduced unrecognizable change to the world of work. Research and interviews for my latest book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press), identified a variety of crucial needs if an organization is to build an awake, engaged, and productive workforce. But, the biggest challenge of all is in building a culture and organizations where individuals are adept in changing themselves.


What I am about to say might seem harsh, but I feel a bit entitled to say it. I began my professional life in the staffing industry. Huge portions of recruiters spend their entire careers in a state of frenzy. They are so fixated on the next call that personal strategy takes a back seat in order to meet quotas. In trying to compete with a LinkedIn dominated world, they work in even a greater sense of frenzy. Who’s going to win that competition?


While so many coped with the recession, accelerating change transformed the world of work with a vengeance. In truth, those of us who change are finding work and opportunities unlike anything in the past. It does take curiosity and courage.


Here are a few of the trends:


Software and technology are eliminating task work. The problem with task work is that it usually produces a trance. Technology offers us freedom but most task workers didn’t want freedom, they wanted predictability and survival. They wanted and needed to meet their quotas in order to do that.


Awakened talent is just that. They observe, feel, and remember most everything. Many were treated with disdain by recruiters during the recession. In interview after interview, we found employers who treated candidates so badly that it was a bit jaw-dropping. Just an e-mail or a courtesy call would have changed the talent pool’s perception. But, many recruiters were simply too busy making it to their next call. The recruiter who only focuses on the next call does not have a bright future. Why? They have bought into a notion that their primary value is to make that next call.


The Transparency Revolution has introduced candidates that know all about you the employer. In many cases, they know more than the recruiter who reaches out to them. There are no shortcuts to success. There is no longer a shortcut in promising candidates a great place to work and than giving them something else. Savvy talent knows the truth. So, build a great place to work.


If only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged, depending on recruiters to fix the problem is one big insane idea. Having their work go up in smoke with untrained hiring managers is crazy. We find that employer brand/hiring/development/enlightened leadership develop engaged workers.


CEOs of category-leading organizations understand that an employer brand is as important as a consumer brand. They realize that talent, customers, and shareholders all have to be treated with equality. Any other models are not sustainable. Instead of building turf, they encourage relationships. They don’t lower the standards, they raise them.


What makes LinkedIn’s “Recruiters Despair” blog so ironic is that since the last talent war, LinkedIn has gathered almost all of the world’s professional talent under one digital roof. The impact extends to the nation’s largest executive search firms all but eliminating midlevel recruiters.


Unemployment isn’t a big problem in our country, it is underemployment. Upwards of half of our country’s workers characterize themselves as underemployed, taking on 2-3 jobs to keep a roof over their head, holding onto obsolete jobs with terror, and hoping things change. That is the crux of the problem. Instead of engaging in self-change, far too many of us are pursuing comfort rather than action.


Just like all task workers, it is time recruitment professionals prepare for the work coming towards us. The new work includes creativity, accountability, storytelling, empathy, compassion, risk-taking, connectivity, active learning, interest, meaning, mission, and purpose. These are also the very characteristics that make work worthwhile and pleasurable.


In today’s blog, one recruiter complained of losing recruitment fees because 3 different placements did not show up for work at all.


Well, guess what? They found something better. Perhaps it is time for you to stand-up, walk-out and find what is better for you! The transformation of work is at hand! I engage in its epicenter every single day. We have been in the repeated presence of thousands of people as they do it.


Shortly after launching Inspired Work in 1990, a huge bank, based in Los Angeles, became our first organizational client. One of their HR executives walked into a public program. She was in charge of laying off thousands of workers. During those two days, her life changed so quickly that she sent thousands of employees through our program. This was at the beginning of a big crack forming in the “job for life” promise. So, their career changes were rather startling and in many cases, glamorous.


After a year, I was finally granted a meeting with the chief human resources officer.


She looked at me and said, “I’m hearing of these programs and the impact it is having on people leaving our bank. What do you think is our biggest problem?”


I replied, “Your biggest problem is that your creative and adaptive workers have already left. When the business strategies failed there was no call to action. Many were not told the truth about mistakes. So, the creative adaptive workers dusted off their resume’s, contacted their network and told them, ‘get me out of here, this isn’t fun anymore.’ Many of the people left behind have not built the skills of creativity and adaptability. So, they are holding on for dear life, hoping that your colleagues don’t turn around the corner into their offices.”


This would be a valuable time for “recruiters in despair” to set aside any notions of helplessness. It would be a good idea to become aware of any cynicism, contempt, aimlessness, resignation or frenzy that could keep them from taking action on behalf of their own careers. Get help to change. Most of us fail because of isolation. Recruiters possess quite a bit of good skills. They can sell, communicate and probably have some experience in developing strategy.


Why not put those abilities into an industry or profession that is growing rather than shrinking?


This is the time to step into your future.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)


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