People are saying there’s a talent shortage in our industry. Well, I disagree.
Whilst it is true that of the 250,000 event profs who were made redundant, 10% (25,000) will not be returning, we don’t have a talent shortage, or even a people shortage; what we do have is perceived skills shortage perpetrated by employers asking for the moon on a stick.
Sounds likes semantics, but it’s a huge difference.
Recruitment is a strategy, it is part of a business plan, but no one sees it that way. Companies treat it as a secondary thought that interferes with their (more important) day job. When recruitment does come to the top of the agenda its often a rushed, urgent matter so the process becomes very hard, and in urgency lies mistakes. Which all equates to you not finding the right person for your role.
There can be a massive discrepancy between what a business wants (from a candidate) and what they actually need. The ‘needs’ are what the role encompasses, what the business requires, and the basic fundamental skills, experience and personality needed by the candidate to do the role and stay in the business. The ‘wants’ are the ideals; which are often completely unrealistic as they’re the perfect scenario and trust me, that doesn’t exist for all parties. The difference between a role’s ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ can be demonstrated by the salary bracket; at the bottom you have your ‘needs’ and at the top end is the ‘wants.’
I’m seeing many companies being totally unrealistic in their job adverts. I’ve seen agencies advertise for a role which (pre-2020) would have been three different jobs, each one with different responsibilities and very different skill sets. But now cash strapped agencies are rolling these three jobs into one role and expecting one person to be able to everything they want, but without the equivalent three salaries. They will advertise, but then (obviously) not get candidates with the combined skills that they want and then cry there is a skill’s shortage.
Employers need to be realistic about what they are looking for. There was a reason why traditionally these three roles were different jobs; they may have been suited to different people, with different career paths and different quantities of say creativity or organisational skills. And can I just say for the record that it’s pretty impossible to find someone with five years’ experience of virtual or hybrid events considering it only kicked off in earnest in 2020, yet I’m seeing agency after agency ask for this level of experience.
There is a reason why one of my companies’ strapline includes the words ‘the world has changed’. We’re in a whole different world now, with job seekers looking for flexible working and better benefits; the emotional intelligence side of a role is really important to people now as well, although personally I think it always has been, just now people are more confident to raise their opinions The world has changed and so the way companies recruit has to adapt and evolve to keep up. If an employer is using the same old recruitment strategy, they shouldn’t be surprised when quality candidates don’t flood in.
There are some amazing people out there looking for work. For example, we have around 150 active people signed up on The Hub.Jobs – from virtual and events assistants to creative and operations directors. So I believe we have the right people, they just need the right opportunity.
Employers need to reframe their offer. Rather than place a job advert stating that they are looking for candidates with x, y and z skills, or simply a link to a job description (a huge no-no) they have to instead promote what they can offer the candidate. There’s a lot of choice out there so an employer has to stand out amongst the noise. The job seekers who were made redundant are angry; most of them feel they were mistreated. We all appreciate that businesses had to make redundancies last year, but many of them went about it the wrong way and didn’t support their teams and the redundant staff when making these decisions.
I’ve said this before: there is a massive difference between a job description and a job advert. If your advert is simply a job description posted online with a ‘we are recruiting’ post, then you are heading for a fall. You are taking a very half-hearted approach to recruitment and so you should not be surprised with the results. If an employer can’t be bothered to do it properly, they can hardly expect candidates to be flocking to them in droves.
My advice to employers is to not think about attracting the right people, but instead focus everything on attracting the right PERSON. Write the advert as if you are speaking to the one person that you want to attract. Who is that person? Where are they in their career? What will they gain from the role? What makes it ideal for them?
Here’s one last tip: to reduce the number of applicants but increase the quality of candidates, put the salary bracket on your job advert. If you do that, you suddenly you will get the right candidates applying for the right role.
Go on, try it, and see just how much better and relevant your candidates become.