Hiring. It just may be the most important thing your company does. Particularly when you begin to calculate all the money and effort it takes to fix a bad hire. Just a few years ago, it all seemed so easy. Create a job description, post an ad and sit back and wait for qualified volunteers to line up outside your office door. That's not the case these days. With a jobless rate hovering around the historic low of 4.5 percent, the talent crunch is on big time. It is becoming harder and harder to find any candidates, let alone qualified ones. A study by the Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Business found that nearly half (46 percent) of companies it surveyed said they found few or no qualified applicants for job openings in May.
How can it be this difficult to find someone who is ready, willing and able to take your company's good money (and benefits) in exchange for invaluable professional experience? It's a simple matter of supply and demand. When just about everyone who wants a job has one, there isn't a lot of talent left for the rest of us.
I was having this hiring discussion recently with a few colleagues. One was interviewing a woman for a sales job when her cell phone rang. "Do you mind if I get this?" she asked. He was speechless, but figured maybe the woman was expecting an urgent call... perhaps a loved one was in surgery at that very moment. A few seconds later it became obvious that the woman was discussing topics less than earth shattering. After noticing his annoyance, she said to the caller, "Um, I gotta go." He wholeheartedly agreed.
Another said she got a grand total of four resumes for an administrative assistant opening. The same job, advertised the same way turned up more than 20 qualified resumes just 18 months ago. Where are all of them now? Actually, they may be closer than you think.
Our cover story this month is about 1-800-FLOWERS.com, a company that's cultivating employees for job openings through a program called GROW (get it?), which stands for Gaining Rewarding Opportunities at Work. Thanks to the program, the national retailer of 2,500 employees fills 75 percent of its job openings above entry level with current employees. To achieve this, it uses a pretty simple rule of thumb: The best person for a job is not just one who has done it well in the past, but one who likes doing it. You can read all about this not-so-garden-variety succession plan on Page 16.
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