I know, this workforce is crazier than crypto and nuttier than a Snickers Bar. It is harder to figure out than an NFT or SPAC.
We all want to just take the Facebook goggles off to get out of this labor force metaverse. And I take no prisoners here. This article is designed to move your motor cortex. The intent is to be a conversation starter — and ender. So, for your learning experience, or entertainment, here are favorite conspiracy theories from employers, repeated to me more times than I have fingers and toes:
“Joe, people won’t work because the government pays them too much to stay home.”
Reality: Ironically, the last week that the U.S. government $600-a-week supplemented unemployment was on Labor Day week, 2021. Unless you think laid-off workers in your area have all turned into social media influencers making $50,000 or more, or can live long-term on $383 a week unemployment (average of all states), stats show Americans are mostly back to work. Forty percent of Americans can’t handle a $400 emergency, never mind not working.
“Joe, there are so many workers still not working that could.”
Reality: The U.S. is almost up to the amount of people working than before the pandemic. Where stats show that Americans are still not back to work is women of lower income with children. The pandemic closed 25% of daycare centers. So, unless your open positions are low-wage, mostly female-occupied positions, you are not duly affected.
“Joe, no one is applying for jobs.”
Reality: There are 8.6 million people considered out of work or employed but searching for a job in the U.S., but there are nearly 10 million job openings. That is a lot of jobs, but way fewer candidates. Unless your opportunity is more attractive than a high school prom queen, no one will pay any attention.
“Joe, even with fewer people looking, I should at least get some applicants.”
Reality: Repeat from above, if your job opportunity is not stellar, candidates will pass your opportunity right on by like a Bugatti Vernon on the Autobahn would pass a Hugo.
“Joe, my job ad and opportunity pays well, has good benefits and I am still not getting applicants, so that tells me no one wants to work.”
Reality: “The Great Resignation” has now turned into “The Great Re-Shuffle.” But if your job is not a lot better than the one they have, why would they want to go through the water boarding your company is going to put them through to apply?
“Joe, with the responses I do get, I set up an interview and they don’t even show. That’s their bad!”
Reality: We have talked about how few opportunities you get with open positions. That simply means you have to nanny state them once they make contact, otherwise they will simply ghost you. We recommend employers immediately invite the candidate to meet for chicken wings and their favorite beverage on the first meet. Don’t laugh, nowadays most McDonald’s franchises advertise “Free Meal with Application.” One of my smart clients described it best: “Recruiting is a courtship, not speed dating.”
“Joe, I never had to a pay sign-on bonus. Candidates will think I’m desperate, like I’m offering a bucket full of humiliation.”
Reality: Just a few years ago, Porsche used to build only pavement-pounding coupes. Now the majority of the Stuttgart company builds are SUVs. Rip Van Winkle will tell you time changes everything. I have employers running $50,000 sign-on bonuses to lure in at least a conversation with prospects. That doesn’t mean you have to stretch your budget to $50k, but starting at $1,000 sign-on these days, gets skimmed over.
“Joe, throwing out a $50,000 sign-on just means the candidate will grab it, and be gone!”
Reality: Wouldn’t an email or text headlining a $50k sign-on be enough to get you to at least read more? Of course! Now you have the candidate’s attention and after they make contact with you, you can explain that a portion of that sign-on starts after a certain amount of time employed with your company and the balance is spread over a length of time. Remember, you can use this for any amount. For example, after the first week of employment, $500. After 30 days, $500 more and so on until the full $50k is paid. Why is this important? This is a strategy employers need to use for retention to keep from losing that hard-to-find unicorn.
“Joe, I see an excellent resume with full contact information, I emailed the candidate and no response. Guess they are not interested.”
Reality: How many “spam risk” calls do you get a day? How many texts do you get from the “most important message” guy? Emails, shoot I delete 50+ a day, some from Russia with Love even with a spam filter. My point is, if you don’t keep floating to the top with phone/text/email to a potential candidate, how are they going to know you are not some African Prince needing to send you gold? You have to follow through with what we call 3X3. 1- Call, 2-Text, 3-Email the candidate and do it at least three times before you give up.
“Joe, I am getting plenty of views of my ad but no applicants. That must mean they are not serious about working.”
Reality: Because of “The Great Re-Shuffle,” it simply means that your job opportunity is not competitive in today’s market. For a recipe of success, concentrate on these items in your ads/emails/texts to candidates: highest possible sign-on, four-day or flex work-week schedules, a career growth path, highlight benefits.
“Joe, my H.R. department says there is just no one out there looking.”
Reality: I know I am going to make some H.R. professionals hotter than two hamsters in a sock in the summer, but here goes. So many H.R. managers have multi-tasks in their wheelhouse, and they are not on the front line facing furious, impatient customers like so many of you who are reading this. Plus, most H.R. departments want candidates to fill out endless forms online so their resumes fall into buckets. Those days are over like cassettes tapes and VCRs. Candidates these days are not circus animals so don’t make them jump through hoops!
“Joe, Covid is over so I shouldn’t waste much time or text in my ads or emails on it.”
Reality: Post-Covid candidates are interviewing you as much as you are them. Proactively demonstrating how you’ve adjusted to post-Covid hiring is essential if you want to convert that top applicant into your newest hire.
“Joe, these candidates seem likely to jump from my job as much as the one they left just for a few more Benjamins.”
Reality: Studies show the most common reason that staff threw in the towel or started looking elsewhere is because of their management or boss. Make sure your ads tout tip-top management and supervisors who are empathetic.
“Joe, the resumes I see from some job boards don’t have contact information, so I can’t perform a 3X3 (phone/email/text three times).”
Reality: There are sources that do have actual auto/truck/tire/collision experienced resumes with full contact information. Check with your employment vendors for this invaluable asset.
So, let’s wind this up. It’s a numbers game, baby. Many of your attempts to contact candidates will be ignored. Some days you will feel like you might as well gas up the dinghy and go fishing with Fredo from The Godfather Part II. Other days you will get responses. But one thing is certain, the more candidates you attempt to contact, the better chance you will get candidates to respond. I know it is out of your comfort zone to pursue them but you must start proactively contacting candidates.