This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 6, 2005

Candidate Uprising Waiting to Happen

Many employers are not paying attention. Their lack of sensitivity is about to cause some serious damage to their corporate recruiting.

During the late 1990s, employers faced the two-headed dragon of a shortage of qualified workers and a seller's market in labor. With numerous jobs available, talented people could---and did---pick the opportunities they wanted with the companies that offered the best package. That package always included how employees were treated.

Recruiters, gradually becoming more sensitive to employment market conditions, began courting desirable candidates. In fact, to assure their good reputation in this highly competitive environment, human resource professionals maintained a high level of communication with their applicants. Some of those workers would be hired; others would not be, but would tell other candidates of their experiences. As prospective employees shared their experiences---good and bad---with their fellow job seekers, employers became aware of the influence of word-of-mouth. If a company earned a bad reputation because of poor treatment of applicants, the top talent would not even bother to apply.

Over the past four or five years, employers have tended to ignore the common-sense courtesies of interpersonal relations. This misbehavior has become prevalent with employees as well as with applicants. Conditions have changed, but employers have yet to make appropriate adjustments.

The two-headed dragon is back. We face critical shortages of many skills, creating a scarcity in certain occupations that is already more critical that what was seen a decade ago. As we have shifted back to a seller's market, employee turnover has begun again. Executives continue to report that "finding and keeping valued workers" is one of the top three concerns that keeps them awake at night.

Job seekers are talking about how they are being treated. Incredibly, few employers have the courtesy to respond to prospective employees---acknowledging their resumes, thanking them for taking their time for an interview, or letting them know if the job is no longer available. Discourteous employers will soon discover that their competitors are capturing the most desirable workers, just by showing some consideration. Manners make a difference in today's marketplace.

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