Talent Shortage or Recruitment Skills Shortage?

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What does your company value more? The potential employee or the recruiting process? All organizations should ask themselves that question? Is there a talent shortage in Canada and the USA? Well, based on the following North America headlines one would definitely think so.

If these headlines are accurate, employers should be raising the alarms and screaming at governments, educational institutions, and HR departments to do something — anything!

However, according to Liz Ryan, CEO/founder of Human Workplace, and author of Reinvention Roadmap, the headlines are all wrong. Her opinion is that there is no talent shortage. Rather, it’s organizations that lack effective recruitment skills.

Click here to watch a short video on the five mistakes organizations make when recruiting.

Could the recruiting process itself be the problem, rather than a lack of suitable employees? Most HR departments pride themselves on their sophisticated recruiting systems. They have often created complex processes, which may include online applications, impersonal advertising, tedious screening tests, and uninspired interviews. HR carries out these screening activities for two reasons: to be duly diligent, and because they believe good systems will hire the best candidates. But, could these HR processes in fact be barriers to finding and hiring the best candidate? Perhaps in some cases the reason the best candidate wasn’t found is because he or she chose not to apply.

HR needs to start treating potential employees like customers, marketing to them, and treating them with respect. Companies need to be convey to prospective employees the message that, “we value you, not our recruiting processes.”


Discussion Questions:

  1. Think about the last time you applied for a job and you went for an interview. How was the process? What did you like about the process? What did you dislike about it?
  2. If you were an HR consultant called in to assess the company’s recruitment process, what recommendations would you make?

Who is Checking Whom?

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.


This idiom is often used to explain how equitable treatment can be applied in a given situation. Sometimes, these old phrases help to remind us of common human behaviours or expectations in the midst of increasing social and technological change.

At this point in the evolution of how social media is used, it should be no surprise to anybody that individual online profiles are subject to public scrutiny. This is particularly true in the recruitment function of Human Resources. Most employers who are actively engaged in the process of recruitment will spend some time reviewing candidate online profiles looking for multiple elements that may or may not determine an individual’s potential suitability and organizational fit.

The number of employers involved in social media searches continues to increase, as noted in a recently published survey. In addition, the survey indicates that employers are more likely to eliminate a potential candidate if they (the employer) are unable to find an online profile at all.

Click here to read about the social media survey results.

While the rates and the percentages of recruiters checking on candidate profiles through social media channels is on the rise, so too are the rates of individual job-seekers who are checking on those who are checking on them.

Click here to read how job seekers prepare for interviews including social media searches.

Job-seeking candidates have the same access to social media platforms as employers. Most candidates know that part of the preparation for a job interview includes online research through a corporate or organizational website or other online resources. As professional recruiters, we do expect a motivated candidate to come to the screening and selection process having done their homework, which would include research on the company profile and other business elements.

What we as recruiters may not fully appreciate is that job-seekers are increasingly going beyond the corporate profile, and are following through on our individual social media profiles. A job-seeker might gain significant insight as to whether or not a company would represent a good fit for them by paying attention to a potential employer’s comments and posts on social media.

It seems that a little bit of social media digging will indeed go a long way for the recruiting goose as well as the job-seeking gander.


Discussion Questions:

How would you update your current employer’s social media profile in order to attract a diversity of candidates?

As an HR professional, what would a prospective candidate see and read about you through your online profile as a private individual?

What sites do you expect candidates to research before coming in for an interview?

As a candidate, how much time to you spend researching potential employers, including checking out their individual profiles online?


Probationary Periods Just Got Muddy

Uncertain stressed woman during her job interview

Whose probationary period is it, anyway?

The Cambridge online dictionary definition of “Muddy the Waters” is “To make a situation confused and less easy to understand or deal with.”

Well, this is what is happening in Canadian employment law, especially in regards to employment probationary periods. An employer in British Columbia has just been ordered to pay 3 months’ pay in lieu of notice to an employee who was terminated after working for just two months, and he was on a standard probationary period.

What gives? Isn’t the point of an employment probationary period to test or trial a person’s character or conduct, which has been an accepted practice since the early 1500s? Well maybe not anymore in Canada; probationary periods just got very muddy!

Click here to read the latest legal precedent in probationary periods.

In this case, it seems the Interior Health Authority who was the employer failed to meet the test of sufficient feedback to the employee on probation. The employer only met with the employee once about his poor performance, which in fact was the termination meeting. The employer’s conduct did not give the employee any opportunity to improve his performance prior to being terminated, even though the employee was on probation.

Just because the employee is on a probationary period this does not give the employer carte blanche to terminate the employment relationship. All actions in the workplace must be reasonable: the rule or natural justice and progressive action are still required even with a probationary employee. HR Departments must ensure their probationary period contracts will be defendable in court, by ensuring proper HR practices are implemented during the probationary period.

Discussion Questions

  1. Research and identify three different employment probationary period clauses, once you have reviewed them, create your own probationary clause.
  2. After reading the attached case, develop a probationary review program which would avoid paying unnecessary termination payouts.

The Giggers: Part 1

Young designer presenting a flow chart to colleagues during a meeting

The New Gig Economy

We have the Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers, the Millennials and now we might just have a new term which all generations of workplace employees may find themselves in.

It is the rise of the “Giggers.”  What is a Gigger, you ask? Well, it is someone who works in the Gig Economy. What is a Gig economy? According to the online Cambridge Dictionary, the Gig Economy is defined as: “A way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work each paid separately, rather than working for an employer.

Click here to read the online Cambridge Dictionary.

According to Faith Popcorn, who is a futurist, and her Fast Company article, the new “Gig Economy” is on the rise.

Click here to read a more detailed outlook for future employment trends.

These trends will have a major impact on HR departments, including:

  • On demand hiring
  • Temporary assignments for senior executive positions
  • New virtual reality collaboration software
  • Professional networking opportunities will be expanded

These recruitment and hiring trends are here to stay and will continue to expand in 2017. Is HR ready to handle the Gig?

Discussion Questions

  1. The Fast Company article outlines four new trends of the Gig economy. Pick one and create a presentation on how your HR department could develop and address new HR processes to help implement the trend.

How to Make Your Recruitment Mark!

Businessman in suit with two hands in position to protect the word "BRAND"

Marketing skills for HR Professionals

Branding, value proposition, internal marketing plans; these words do not commonly roll off the tongues of HR professionals. This is the kind of language one hears in a first year marketing class not in the HR department. According to HRM Canada and the Harvard Business Review (HBR) HR professionals better listen and read up on the importance of employee branding in recruitment success.

HRM Canada provides a short video clip on the benefits of employment branding.

Click here to watch the video clip. 

According to HRM Canada employment branding gives your company:

  • A competitive advantage
  • A recruitment marketing plan
  • An employee value proposition

Employment Branding has the goal of becoming a magnet to the potential employee. Isn’t branding just fancy jargon for recruitment? The research is saying no.

Where is the HR Department for all of this activity? Well, the research is showing it is not leading the charge. According to HBR 60% of CEO’s state that developing an employee value proposition belongs to C-suite, not HR. Also, since social media is now becoming a strong influence over recruitment, organization’s marketing departments are taking more and more responsibility for employee branding.

Click here to read an article on employment branding.

HR Departments have been fighting the image of being a transactional department and are striving to become a strategic business partner. Employee branding and recruitment are fundamental activities and HR should be front and centre leading these activities. Perhaps it is time for HR Departments to step up and dust of those first year marketing textbooks.

Discussion Questions

  1. Research what the core elements of an employment branding program are.
  2. In a large organization, who do you think should be responsible for employee branding? How do you support your opinion?
  3. Research a company that is a leader in employee branding. What did they do to get that kind of recognition?