Why can’t you hire top talent? It might be some of these barriers turning people off 

2021 was the year of the Great Resignation, and as the pandemic wanes, the trend remains in 2022. U.S. workers, looking for higher pay and more flexibility from employers, continue to seize on high labor demand fueled by the post-pandemic hiring recovery.

With fierce competition for talent and many job candidates having more leverage than perhaps ever before, the onus is on companies to meet their heightened expectations. But reaching that higher bar means businesses first must remove barriers that are preventing them from landing the best people for their jobs, said Kathleen Quinn Votaw, the author of “DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work.”

“There are only so many great people out there and every company is competing to win and keep them – we all know that,” said Quinn Votaw, CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. “But if the candidates you want most aren’t choosing you, or if your turnover rates are anything but low, what you may not know is that you could be unwittingly setting up barriers that turn people off. Look deep into your culture and practices and change anything that’s separating you from the talent you need to grow.”

Quinn Votaw sees five common barriers companies create that prevent them from attracting top job candidates, and she offers solutions for each.

The compensation structure is misaligned with the market. Quinn Votaw said it’s important that companies looking for talent search the market to see how closely the compensation the business plans to offer matches what candidates are getting.

“If you can’t realistically pay more, look for a more junior person you can train to close the gap over time, offer strong professional development programs, and highlight the things that make your organization special – your culture, growth opportunities, perks and incentives,” she said.

The scope of job responsibilities is misaligned with the market. Companies sometimes describe a particular position differently than how it’s typically defined in the market.

“For example, sales people are generally extroverts and don’t like the administrative work associated with the process,” Quinn Votaw said. “If you emphasize the administrative side of the job in your job description, candidates may perceive working with you as boring and too internal-facing. Solutions could be adding an administrative person to assist sales people or designing the job description to better fit what people want.”

Unrealistic job requirements. “You don’t want to make your job requirements so tight that you overlook or turn off talented people who lack certain details in experience but may fill the role superbly,” Quinn Votaw said.

She suggests hiring leaders be open to equivalent qualifications and remote working, use assessments to add rigor to hiring decisions, and develop an ongoing pipeline of strong candidates.

Not understanding the market: passive vs. competitive. There are two sides of the job market companies are dealing with: the candidate and business competitor. Quinn Votaw said it’s important to realize that each has both an active and passive aspect to it.

“Job seekers may be out there looking or simply open to change; competitors may have open positions or are building a pipeline,” she said. “You need a compelling, what’s-in-it-for-me candidate strategy. Ask yourself questions like, ‘Who’s applying to jobs? Are they accepting offers, and why or why not? How can I make my company more attractive?’ ”

Ineffective recruiting process. “Red flags are too many decision-makers in the process, not getting or using critical feedback, and taking so long to decide that candidates lose interest,” Quinn Votaw said.“Do a gap analysis to understand your recruiting issues up front. You need a process that identifies highly qualified people who fit into your culture and communicates throughout with your candidates.”

“Retain while you recruit,” Quinn Votaw said. “You want to find and keep the best people, and people want to work for the best company. Don’t let easily-resolved barriers prevent you or the people you want from meeting those goals.”

About Kathleen Quinn Votaw
Kathleen Quinn Votaw (www.talentrust.com) is the CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm. She is the author of “DARE to CARE IN THE WORKPLACE: A Guide to the New Way We Work.” Regarded as a key disruptor in her industry, Quinn Votaw has helped thousands of companies across multiple industries develop purpose-based, inclusive communities that inspire employees to come to work. Her company has been recognized in the Inc. 5000. Kathleen also speaks nationally on recruitment, culture and leading with empathy in the workplace.