A Sampling of ‘Supply’ Side Myths

By Amelia Chan, CHRP

This piece supplements Skills Shortages: A Paradox Resolved (In Principle). Read the full article now.

The “supply” of qualified, motivated and suitable candidates will always be constrained by the requirements of the job and the ability of the employer to seek them out.  Let’s examine some popular misconceptions of the candidate pool.

1.  There are no jobs out there.  This popular doomspeak is not true.  Even in periods of high unemployment, there are always new businesses or existing organizations seeking to hire.  It may be more accurate to say there are no suitable jobs for a particular individual or fewer vacancies for an industry/area. The challenge for job seekers is to be more creative and persistent in their job search.  Job openings often remain unfilled because an employer’s needs may have changed during the recruitment period; candidates aren’t following up to find out this information.

2.  There is an endless supply of candidates, especially during challenging economic times, so it should be ‘easy’ to find someone with such choice. While it is true that there are more candidates looking for work in tough economic times due to layoffs and financial cut-backs, this does not always benefit employer’s seeking specfic skillsets.   Nor does the percent of qualified and suitable finalists selected for interviews necessarily increase proportionally. Even if there are more qualified people in the pool, suitability and cultural fit cannot be overlooked. There may be larger numbers of responses to a posting, but again, this is not an assurance of fit; if anything, it takes more time and effort by the recruiter to shift through the mountains of people who are applying.

3.  When unemployment is high, employers can scale back their offerings to take advantage of ‘desperate’ times.  Sloppy practices and unprofessional behaviour is not acceptable at any time.  Employers who are unethical and treat candidates and employees with little respect risk their businesses and reputations. There truly is no such thing as a lapse in integrity.  Memories may be short but there is a huge difference between tightening belts and milking a situation. Operating your business in this manner affects the longer term culture, trust and viability of the company.  When the economy recovers, these bad employer practices won’t be forgotten.

Amelia Chan, CHRP is the principal of Higher Options (www.hr-options.com), a boutique consulting firm providing support to small and medium-sized businesses specializing in HR management, operational excellence and immigration services.

(PeopleTalk: Spring 2012)

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