Pressure to find capable employees for professional positions is always a challenge for employers.
It can be a problem when there is a scarcity of applicants for positions, such as the year or so prior to the economic downturn of late 2001 when the staffing industry was able to fill more positions than it had people.
Many firms then were willing to accept people for professional positions who lacked the full range of desired qualifications. Other firms were willing to hire inexperienced and younger people, planning to train these employees and allow them to grow into their positions.
On the other hand, an overabundance of job pool talent can be overwhelming to companies looking to hire. According to a December survey by Sherwood Ross and Associates, a public relations consulting firm specializing in the staffing industry, there is a glut today of highly qualified applicants looking for jobs. Employers have a much improved labor pool from which to select, says Ross.
Some in the current professional applicant pool are people who have been downsized from the tourism and airline industries. Others, according to the survey, are people who have taken this opportunity to reassess their lives and careers and are opting to share jobs, switch careers, relocate or get new or additional training. Employers are using this opportunity to build up the talent they need, and they are looking at staffing services to provide carefully screened and evaluated people. In demand are individuals who have genuine team skills and leadership abilities in addition to hard job skills. Those who can demonstrate collaborative learning and a depth of experiential background are of keen interest.
Employers are also interested in people who understand cultural differences and who may have had experience in a global environment.
A good staffing firm will use a variety of sources to recruit professional talent for its clients. Web-based recruiting sites are a good resource and available to anyone. However, because they can be difficult to navigate, employers and applicants often rely on a staffing firm to do the legwork. According to a report from Creative Good on e-recruiting strategies in the war for talent, 74 percent of job seekers surveyed experienced some degree of failure in applying for a job online; and of those, 40 percent failed completely. Carl Lopes, director of employment at the national office-supply retail chain Staples, concurs that Internet recruiting is not for the inexperienced. He said that although Internet recruiting has grown to be the No. 1 or 2 tool, it is also incredibly people-intensive.
"In addition to recruiters, we have developed a staff of five researchers who use the Internet and mine home pages to pull people's names out," he said. …