For the past few months I have been discussing the considerable impact that talented employees can have on the execution of your business strategies. I’ve encouraged you to consider the performance differential between your top performers, in any job, and your average performers. If you’ve gone through this exercise you realize that if you’re able to attract and hire the right “A” players, their performance differential can be major. I’ve also attempted to get you thinking about the suitability characteristics of “A” players along with the eligibility requirements that should be taken into consideration with your screening process

In my future columns I plan to discuss a wide range of behavioral competencies (each competency is made up of numerous traits) that will impact performance whether we are recruiting / hiring for sales, marketing, middle management, production, logistics, data management, administrative, creative services, accounting and/or leaders/executives.         

However for today’s column I want to focus on the impact that technology is having on attracting, screening, assessing, interviewing and hiring the employees that will enable you to execute your business plans and achieve your business goals and objectives. As we are all experiencing, technology is dramatically changing the way we conduct business, how we engage our prospects and clients, how we brand and market our businesses, how we produce our products and yes, how we hire the talented employees we require.

Technologies including the internet, email, text messaging, mobile communications, data management and digital production applications are changing the way we communicate internally and externally. On the one hand, the need to recruit technology savvy employees that can assist in leveraging these technologies has become a priority while the challenges we face in working with and managing a multi-generational workforce requires that we focus on differences in what these distinctive generations look for in their jobs. As baby boomers retire and are replaced by Gen X’s and Gen Y’s  (see article in PIA’s Forecast Part 1 – Trends and Tactics 2013) we face even greater challenges. Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day and as they retire we continue to experience a huge knowledge gap. And for the record, 26% of the US population falls into the baby boomers category. We are undoubtedly faced with having fewer qualified, skilled workers, with more critical jobs left vacant.

The definition of a "perfect storm" is “an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically.” And what we have here in regards to building a qualified, competent workforce for 2013 and beyond is a “perfect storm.”  Some of the more obvious challenges include:

  • Technology is driving the need for a new and more skilled workforce.
  • The quality of a hire is more critical than ever – we cannot afford bad hires.
  • The retention of quality employees must be a top priority.
  • Screening and assessing candidates must become more efficient and effective.
  • 76% of organizations surveyed are either using or planning to use social networking for recruiting (Aberdeen Research study).
  • Companies are having difficulty executing new strategies due to a lack of human capital.
  • The need to recruit and hire innovators has become a significant challenge.

In a recent study conducted by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) it was reported that 74% of respondents acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of jobs go unfilled because employers cannot identify candidates that have the required knowledge and skills (eligibility) for a position. The study also indicated that it has become more challenging to find sales professionals and managers that can address and apply all of the new technologies within their positions and that creative problem solving (suitability competence) has become more critical.

Before I describe how technology can play a role in addressing these challenges, let me first request that you consider how you have attracted, screened, assessed, recruited, hired and on-boarded employees in the past. In my experience most small to midsize businesses do not have a systematic approach to this process. They recruit only when they have a job to fill and their ability to find the best candidates is limited; their review of applications and resumes is subjective at best. They do not follow a systematic approach to assessing the eligibility and suitability that would enable them to select the very best candidates and overall, their interviewing skill is not impressive. What I’ve described here only adds to the perfect storm; not enough skilled, qualified workers; poorly designed recruiting processes; and a need for a workforce with a new range of skills and behavioral competencies. So how can technology help?

To begin, we need to acknowledge that we must re-evaluate strategies for searching for talent. We must build a talent pipeline – enabling us to find the right people that fit the job and our organizational culture. We must expand and widen our candidate searches to reach a more diverse group of applicants while at the same time minimizing “resume overload.” Have you ever had to review hundreds of resumes to fill just one job? That’s not much fun; and certainly not efficient or effective.

With the growth in social media, data management,  applicant tracking systems, recruiting software, on-line assessment tools and integrated marketing/branding applications, your ability to apply a wide range of technologies to dramatically improve your ability to build your team of highly qualified and behaviorally competent workers. Some of these technology applications include:

  • Cross media marketing that can help build a powerful and attractive brand.  Strong brands drive quality talent to an organization.
  • Social media that attracts and engages a wider range of quality candidates.
  • Referrals (still the most effective source of hiring) can be leveraged by employees using social media as a referral tool.
  • On-line eligibility and suitability assessments can screen and rank candidates efficiently and effectively resulting in the screening and short listing prior to interviewing.
  • Cross-referencing software provides assessment validity, customized interview questions and personalized new hire development plans.
  • Video interviewing, whether live or recorded, can reduce costs and travel time as well as improve overall interview effectiveness.
  • Greater automation and a more systematic approach to talent acquisition can provide greater standardization, efficiency and effectiveness.

Combining technology and talent acquisition is rapidly changing the recruiting landscape. You can begin this journey by reading The Peak Focus – Optimized Talent Acquisition and Development – Eight Critical Steps To Building Your Team   

If you would like more information about designing your talent acquisition system, contact Jerry Scher at [email protected] or 404-931-9291.

For information about the Harrison Assessment -

Stay tuned to this continual series – as we continue to focus the challenges of building an effective team.