The War for Talent is Bullshit


TLNT reports that two out of three workers are actively looking for a new job. This is on top of the number of unemployed people who are currently looking for work.

If you are a recruiter or HR professional in any area — I don’t care how specialized — and you can’t find a candidate to fill a job, you are doing it wrong. Go find another job.

“You don’t get it. There’s a war for talent out there, Laurie. I cannot find candidates who have [experience, education, savvy]. I can’t find candidates who possess the right kind of cultural fit.”

Uhm, no. Bullshit.

There are plenty of reasons why jobs go unfilled but much of it has nothing to do with a lack of qualified candidates. In some cases, job descriptions are poorly written. In other cases, hiring managers are either poorly trained or racist/sexist/ageist/biased against the disabled (even in a subconscious way) and won’t accept diverse candidates. And everyone knows that companies want cheap labor. Robot monkeys who are paid with electronic bananas would be preferable over human beings who need health insurance.

And what are a majority of HR professionals and corporate/third-party recruiters doing to get Americans back to work? Not much. Instead of encouraging clients to hire a candidate who meets 60-80% of the qualifications — or taking a stand, being accountable, and refusing to work on future requisitions if a company can’t make a decision and hire someone — Human Capital professionals are attending conferences and bemoaning the state of the workforce. They complain about a war for talent. And they think that the solution to filling vacancies in their organization is to hop on Facebook and institute some kind of ’employer branding campaign’.

Don’t even get me started about employer branding. You want to hire someone great? Get on the Twitters and do this. Announce —

  • We’re hiring.
  • We pay competitively and we offer benefits.
  • We treat our employees with respect and we have a track record of doing the right thing.
  • Unethical, lazy, or stupid behavior isn’t tolerated from anyone — and if you’re hired, we will hold you accountable.
  • Here’s how you apply for a job.

War. For. Talent. My Ass. It’s not that hard. I know. I’ve done it.

The war for talent is overstated by HR teams and recruiting professionals who lack the required skills, resources, and backbone to hire talented people. The next time you hear a Human Capital professional talking about a war for talent, tell ’em your story. Tell ’em how you are a good human being, you have great skills, and how you just want to work at a decent company and make a contribution.

And then ask for a job. Right then and there.

If we don’t start holding someone accountable for getting Americans back to work, we’ll never get out of this mess. I am holding Human Resources and recruiting professionals accountable.  How about you?

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