Monthly Archives: August 2014

Too blind to find the skilled

Entrepreneurs and HR managers don’t get tired of lamenting: We lack professionals. Is that really true? Or do they just not realize the potential of young applicants or their own employees?

How many times have we heard bosses complaining: “Help … we can’t find qualified young people anymore! No one suitable applies! And those who do are school dropouts with lousy report cards and cover letters full of form and spelling errors! They are all bunglers but want to earn much money! Well trained people that fit in our company? None at all. And what about the soft skills? The social behavior? No signs of respect! The know each others just as Facebook buddies!” Like that the bosses go on moaning … it’s Groundhog Day. The only thing different in that film was the singing of “I got you babe”. They’ve got none.

Studies and surveys seem to underpin the whining about the desperate shortage of skilled workers and support it with hard facts. The German Personnel Manager Federation, whose members should know, made a survey revealing that by the year 2020, about 2.4 million well-educated workers will be missing. If that came true, many companies would have to close down or move abroad. We would be facing an economical crisis due to poor education and demographic change.

However, a recently published study by the management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand made me wonder. It was on internal recruitment in companies (http://www.press1.de/ibot/db/press1.Leonce_1406552993.html). The result: 79 percent of all German bosses see utmost importance in the internal recruitment. Amazingly, around three quarters of the respondents actually recruited internal workers for just a minimum of the advertised positions. Does the rest ignore that promotions and training opportunities are the best way to make employees stay with the company? Around 60 percent of all entrepreneurs or managers are afraid to lose their best people sooner or later. And for about a third of all vacancies unsuitable candidates were hired because the qualified could simply not be found.

Apparently the companies and HR managers lack not only the qualified but also the mechanisms how to recognize talented and capable people within their own staff. And when hiring new employees, too many fail as well. In selecting applications and in the interviews bosses have proceeded as usual for decades. They are only interested in notes, job skills and references. The more similar the candidate appears to the supervisor, the more his chances grow.

But you only need to take a look at the working biographies of many employees to know: Certain skills, foreign languages or computer programs were often learned or trained after the employment or on the job. In how many fields has a 10 year long active worker become an expert because of his dealing with different clients? I myself was once just a copywriter for brochures or ads. Later I have become author of customer magazines and then also of professional journal’s articles in sectors such as the exhibition and the franchise industry. Anyone can be incorporated into new topics.

What really matters is passion and dedication to the job. And, of course, satisfaction at the workplace. Look at the example of an employee with a simple apprentice training. If he feels comfortable in his surroundings, he works motivated and certainly more efficient than a highly qualified but unhappy Master graduate. Those who develop a feeling for these factors and grade people on this criterion will recognize the true talents. What does someone with good sales skills need a good school certificate for? Why should a technically gifted person have a a perfect CV? I hope the shortage of skilled will finally break old thought patterns.

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