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Almost daily it seems, there is a new article on talent shortages. However, it is important to see how this ‘talent shortage’ conclusion is reached to understand how real it might be. Seemingly, it is often reached by various surveys of ‘hiring managers’ (HM), or human resources (HR) and their view of time to hire/difficulty to hire. However, how much visibility of the candidate market does a typical HM have? How close are they to the Talent Acquisition (TA) strategy of their company these days?

There are many factors that can restrict the visibility of the talent market for the HM. Some are;

·      HM may have little or no involvement in TA strategy or up to date knowledge of candidate market in general.

·      Who is advising the HM on the candidate market? How ‘qualified’ are they. Any bias?

·      Lack of knowledge of talent market may have HM using aged requirements with too many boxes to tick for the ‘ideal’ candidate e.g. skill set, type of experience, brand of experience, age, gender etc.??’…...many potentially excellent candidates will remain hidden.

·      How strong is the approach to the potential candidates? Is a candidate assumed to be ‘not interested’ if they haven’t replied to an email/InMail campaign within a certain period? Is the hiring manager only presented with the best of the ‘low hanging fruit’ of talent that responded to an email/InMail/Ad/phone campaign from 1 or 2 sources?

·      The TA/HR colleagues may be too busy - TA requisition load (job load) can often be very high, often 25-30 roles (I have heard of 60-70 and more) at any one time. Difficult to optimize the TA strategy/process for each role while juggling such a requisition load. In addition, TA may not be a specialist in the depart/function of each open position they manage (i.e. may be generalists across many divisions).

·      Is there the time/budget to really get to know the highly sought after ‘passive’ candidates and understand deeply what it may take to attract them away from their current ‘comfortable’ position?

·      The decision maker may not be the 1st person to view the CV’s and conduct 1st interviews. Do they know who (or why) has been screened out?

·      Brand Perception bias/other bias – the feeling that a candidate with ‘premium’ brand experience (or education) may perform better than one without, leading to a focus on a narrow supply of candidates. Other bias may include candidates previously made redundant (As in this note by Ruby Lee: ).

·      The supply of talent from external sources may be restricted;

·      TA/HR may not be a high profile, strategic function in the company with the power to control process, & advise on the strategic growth in the business – In APAC “Only a little over half (53 per cent) of Asia-Pacific C-suite leaders said their HR department is involved in the development of the business strategy in order to understand the critical talent needs of the company. -

·      Too much administration in TA/HR. TA professionals spending too much time administering the TA process rather than delivering on strategy.