The Disconnect in Employee Qualifications

We’ve written extensively on the challenges employers are facing in filling open positions. Whether one attributes those challenges to the Great Resignation, COVID stimulus money, or a skills gap, the fact is that many companies are struggling to find workers they feel can perform the essential functions of their open positions. They just can’t seem to find enough people ready, willing, and able to do the job.

Job Seekers Say ‘What Talent Shortage?’

Interestingly, many applicants see the situation quite differently. They are ready and willing to work, and they disagree with employers about the extent to which they’re able to perform that work.

According to the 2022 “State of Online Recruiting” Report by iHire, 68.0% of employers say they receive too few applicants for posted job openings, and 64.5% said the applicants they do receive are unqualified. Furthermore, 82.0% of employers anticipate the talent shortage continuing throughout the upcoming year. At the same time, 38.5% of job applicants believe employers have unrealistic or overly specific requirements for jobs.

Perhaps even more annoying, 44.8% report being frustrated about being ghosted by an employer (i.e., not getting a response back from the employer after applying).

Opening the Lines of Communication

This disconnect suggests that employers are so disappointed with the perceived lack of qualifications of some applicants that they’re not even bothering to respond to applications. This raises an interesting question: Is there really a dearth of qualified applicants, or are employers being too picky?

Employers often require a certain number of years of experience or certain college majors that may not really be essential for the job. Additionally, many employers may expect new hires to start with all of the requisite skills needed to excel at the job without considering the crucial role employer-provided training can play when transforming workers with great potential into the workers the company needs.

The challenges employers face with recruitment are real. However, many may benefit from a bit more flexibility and creativity. Rather than holding firm to an aspirational wish list for their ideal employee, employers should consider what skills, education, and experience are truly essential for the role and to what extent their own training efforts may address perceived skills gaps.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.