The Power of Supply and Demand within Recruitment

July 26, 2016 Neil Morrison

Our approach to organizational human capital should be no different than any other part of our supply chain. It isn’t simply about process or efficiency, but about understanding current and future availability -- supply and demand. It requires us adapting our approach to not only take advantage of the prevailing conditions, but to look toward building credible plans for the future.

That’s one of the reasons I dislike the concept of a “War for Talent”: If you find yourself in that place, you’ve probably not been thinking far enough ahead. Understanding the future strategy of our business and knowing the skills and capabilities we are going to require is all part of a good talent acquisition professional’s responsibilities.

That means we need to be as focused on the future as we are on the present — which can be hard when we have hundreds of open positions coming out of our ears! It is also difficult when businesses are going through transformation and we just can’t predict future requirements. Who could have predicted 10 years ago the sorts of digital skills we all require now?

But think, if it is hard for us to predict, how much harder is it for education establishments to provide? Someone going to college or university is going to be making decisions about their future five or six years before they are in the labour market. The courses they take are going to be designed over even longer periods of time.

That’s why I’m not alone in thinking the traditional labour market supply chain is broken.

We live in a global economy and employees are increasingly globally mobile – and able to go where the best opportunities are. In some ways, that makes the current debates in the U.K. and U.S. about freedom of movement and immigration all the more important. When we are thinking about attracting the skills and abilities we require, we need to be thinking about the global supply chain – not just our local markets.

It is also why I see many more organizations realizing that they need to develop specific skills and capabilities internally, rather than acquire them on the open market. The connection between talent acquisition and talent development is only going to get stronger. We need to understand the parts we can build, and the parts we need to buy.

That also means our approach to talent changes. We start looking at qualities such as potential, ability to learn, flexibility and agility more, and we start looking less at the resume and skills of an individual. Anyone who has looked at recruiting people based on potential alone will tell you that it is a lot harder and more time consuming than sifting through resumes – but a lot more rewarding and successful at the end.

Managing the tension between the organizational demand for skills and the market supply will always be a challenge for a for a recruiter or hiring manager, with every industry and every country having specific needs and different obstacles. But what we all have in common is the increasing complexity, the increasing variety — and the fact that being able to navigate through this is at the very heart of our roles.


Want to better predict the future when comes to hiring great people? View a sample report from CareerBuilder's Supply & Demand portal.

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