An international survey of more than 500 HR executives by global talent management firm Bernard Hodes (now part of Findly) has found that the quality or reputation of products and services, the corporate culture and the work environment are a business's most important attributes when it comes to bringing talent on board.
Ethical reputation also scored highly. But benefits and compensation were, perhaps surprisingly, toward the bottom of the list.
What does it tell us? That job seekers have a keen idea about the kind of atmosphere in which they want to spend their work life and are savvy and discerning in their search. Discerning to the point that companies are getting professional help to create a "brand" for recruiting. I think that's a worthwhile endeavor. But consultants and their client companies have to pay more attention to what's actually happening: "The War for Talent" is really "the system-to-make-it-as-difficult-as-possible-to-ever-get-in-the-door."
Is Anyone Else Experiencing This?
Our daughter graduated from a well-known university. High GPA, Dean's list, two semesters of study abroad in two different countries, fluent in a second language and quite conversational in a third; leadership experiences during college, worked at a real job for a government agency in her junior and senior years and had additional work experience with a professional firm. Most of all she was motivated to work and clear about where she wanted to be.
Here's how the job search actually went:
1. All resumes had to be submitted online (not unusual or surprising). She understood the whole "keyword" deal in order to get through internal search machines.
a. More often than not, there was no response indicating that the document was actually received.
b. Many websites seemed to be designed by IT people for IT people. They were difficult for even the web-savvy to navigate.
c. Frequently--very frequently--three quarters of the way through the process all of the information would disappear. On numerous occasions she had to enter the information multiple times before the site remained "up" long enough to complete the application.
2. Seldom did she ever receive any acknowledgment from a real human-being that the resume had been received. I understand that huge corporations receive many applications. If there is a "war for talent" and "company culture and reputation" are really important, then spending dollars on public relations is wasted capital if no one is actually talking to the talent.
3. Career Fairs. My favorite. She figured that if the online application system wasn't yielding results, then some face-to-face contact could move things along. So she registered for the Career Fair and showed up with the requested twenty resumes. Please feel free to use the following dialog if you are a stand-up comedian and need some job-related material:
Daughter: HI, I'm interested in talking with you about___________.
Recruiter: HI, my name is_____________________.
(Casual conversation, brochure distributed by Recruiter)
Daughter: I think this (points to brochure) might be an area where I'd like to contribute. Here is a copy of my resume.
Recruiter: Go on our website and fill out an application.
Daughter: Uh, I thought this was a place to talk about jobs and exchange information.
Recruiter: We don't take resumes. Go on our website and fill in an application.
Daughter's evil thought: (What are they paying you for if you don't handle resumes. I already knew there was a website. Maybe I should get a Recruiting job with your company so I wouldn't actually have to do Recruiting and could travel and turn in expense reports for meals and hotels.)
Her target companies were well-known and in the Fortune 500 with some in the Fortune 50. Many tout their Talent Management initiatives. Experience tells me that the internal presentations about Talent Management may be more impressive than the actual execution.
Happy Ending: She started working at a global firm on a temporary assignment. She liked the company a lot. They liked her work a lot and hire her as a full-time professional there.
Question: If companies are waging a "War for Talent," then wouldn't it be useful to remember that wars are won by the people on the front lines doing their jobs--not in the staff headquarters or the branding office?