I received the article The Talent-Job Mismatch, by Kristen B. Frasch, published on Monday, January 14, 2013.
The article struck me in several ways. I have been in HR for many years and I see an erosion of the recruitment process from several perspectives:
* The impersonal recruitments all using third party job boards where applicants submit information and never hear anything except some form response that the application has been received, and then maybe, three months later a letter that the person does not match what the employer needed. This type of operation is completely void of any interaction between the applicant and the potential employer. So, how could an employer ever comment on the quality of applicant. Certainly the applicant had no chance to answer questions, elaborate on the resume/application and impress anyone with their "soft skills".
* There is such a proliferation of "on line" schools that many applicants have never had connections to others in an academic setting; they simply write papers, answer questions on line, and click and scroll their way through coursework that still increases their student debt, but provides them with little or no development of "soft skills". Some of the schools are not even accredited by regional accreditation associations, so when the resume/application hits the employer, HR staff quickly do credentialing of the individual and cast aside the application, but rarely tell the applicant the real reason.
* Sometimes students have maneuvered through an "on line" degree so fast they can barely list five courses they took in a discussion format, if they even get to the interview. This lack of connectional relationship to a school, alliance with professors or other students, leaves the applicant with a distinct void that is part of the development of "soft skills".
* Then there are the interviews that go down the old road of "tell us a time when you failed", or "what are your strengths and weaknesses", and these questions fall on deaf ears to the newer graduates because they do not have the luxury of years of experience to put into perspective those types of assessments. The new applicant is use to the "ipad app" type connection with instant answers and it is difficult to "google" your way through an interview that is looking for more insight into problems that may be encountered in the workplace, like how to get along with co-workers, report to work on time, expect to work extra hours, etc. But, those types of "soft skills" are hard to quantify on an application and even harder to verify with reference checks.
* We seem to be back to "what you see is what you get," and if you do not see, because you have not bothered to actually evaluate candidates, but rather depend on some matrix assessment of "magic words" off the application board, it is no wonder employers are having problems finding quality hires.
* Finally some interviewers are only looking for the "soft skill" match to their own personality, rather than the potential of the applicant or what is even needed in the job, assuming they really know the qualities that make an applicant a real success.
* I believe there are hidden "gems" in a lot of people, but it takes a lot of work to find those skills/ potentials, and we HR people have to be good stewards of our experiences and skills to find and develop those attributes we value and know will help new staff become excellent additions to our organizations.
Sorry to go on so long, the article just connected with a few things I see frequently.
Jim Lowery, MPA, IPMA-CP, CLRP
of Human Resources
Cole County Residential Services, Inc.
Jefferson City, Mo.