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In 2010 American workers were hurting. There isn’t a way to sugarcoat the jobs situation in that time period.  According to the BLS, (https://US Dept. of Labor) the national unemployment rate was 9.5% and people were taking any professional role they could to keep their head above water.  The despair and fear many people felt at that time, including me, was incredible. You just never knew what tomorrow would bring.

As the economy improved and people got back to work, and the unemployment rate began to fall, the popular refrain was that there was still a significant number of “under” employed people just waiting to get their careers back on track.  The underemployed were the people who took, took part-time positions, or roles outside of their career path just for the purpose of keeping a roof over their heads, dinner on the table, and gas in the car.  For a while, I actually think that was a true statement. But today, we are in a different time.

Vast quantities of underemployed candidates is now a myth

For business leaders, it is time to stop thinking we have a mountain of underemployed people sitting on the sidelines.  I cannot stress this enough, the talent market is tight.  Last week when the job numbers were released it showed the national unemployment rate at 3.7%. The lowest it has been since 1969. Based on what I am seeing in my office, that is a true number. I know there are underemployed people in the workforce today, there are always exceptions to the rule, but there aren’t many today.

Why is this important? Every day we are still hearing from clients that they want to see more resumes, or interview more candidates, or sit for a couple of days and think about which candidate to pick.  I hate to break the news, but those are all bad options if you have a candidate you like. This isn’t 2010 when there was a mountain of candidates in which to choose from.  Recruiters today are needing to find the passive candidates and convince them to get uncomfortable and consider a new role.  The candidates who do that don’t have the time or patience to wait for you to search more resumes or interview more people.

If you find a candidate you like for a job, hire them quickly

So when I hear from clients that they want to see other resumes, I cringe. We then need to determine if this is a manager who is trying to be nice or is this a person who truly doesn’t understand the market today? More often than not, it’s the latter answer. They want options to choose from.  One of the hardest aspects of recruiting right now is getting the executive to hear your message. We try to expand their tunnel vision into what the job market is and not what they think it is.

Recently, I had a potential client reach out and ask if we could help fill a position they were struggling to fill. Of course, I am always interested in new business so I told them I would absolutely be interested, what seems to be the problem? When I heard…”we have been looking for the right person for this role for two years…” I knew I was in trouble.  Recruiters are not miracle workers.  Like those clients that want to see more resumes, we still see businesses that are unwilling to see the job market as it is today. I can’t change the market, if a good quality candidate is in your office, you will need to decide quickly what you want to do.

Make a choice: Do you train or do you wait for perfection

To find great people today, you have options. You either need time, or you need to be able to train. Regardless of which path you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages, but I don’t believe there is a wrong answer. But you do need to see the reality of the job market today so you can make the best decision for your business.  Use your recruiter as a resource to help you with that decision. Treat us like an outside consultant and not a vendor.  Do we want to earn a fee, absolutely! But we also want to build a reputation for understanding the market and building trust with our clients.  My message today is if you don’t move on a candidate quickly, someone else will. That’s just today’s reality.

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