As economists and industry pundits contemplate whether the talent shortage we are currently experiencing is “transitory” (i.e., a blip) or “persistent” (i.e., the new normal), their conclusion is immaterial to those on the front lines of talent acquisition where the struggle is real, and it’s intensifying.
The most recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics job openings survey shows that private-sector job openings are at an all-time high. This simply validates what we’re all seeing for ourselves — the gap between open roles and qualified workers is widening. The BLS data shows that open technical positions doubled in the past year. Between a massive spike in digital transformation initiatives, job hopping and a wave of baby boomer retirements since Covid-19 first hit, there’s unprecedented hiring demand across a broad set of technical roles.
Glider AI customers tell us about the impacts of this dynamic every day. Just recently, one of our staffing agency customers noted that over the past year, the number of open requisitions they received from their clients has tripled. As you can imagine, there wasn’t a commensurate increase in recruiter headcount to meet this demand. In nearly every conversation, executives are expressing variations of the same theme:
“We need to find and screen more candidates faster, with as much automation as possible, ensure a positive candidate experience, without compromising candidate quality.”
Glider AI commissioned Staffing Industry Analysts to design a survey for both the buyers and suppliers of talent to validate what’s going on out there. [The results will be published in a custom research report by year-end.] The response data collected and aggregated by SIA reflects what we’re hearing anecdotally. Nearly 70% of respondents are exploring technology to streamline the hiring process by introducing automated, rigorous and consistent candidate screening and validation solutions. Only 40% have such solutions in place today. The leaders in this space are nearly three times as confident that they can predict technical candidate quality than the laggards.
In the absence of these tools, most companies rely on recruiters to complete the first round of technical screening. Even the most astute recruiters aren’t a substitute for hands-on, real-world skills screening that not only weeds out the unqualified, but also provides objective candidate rankings to quickly identify the most qualified based on skills proficiency, not résumé keyword matches. There’s a game-changing improvement opportunity awaiting 60% of the survey respondents to do more — better and faster — in a highly scalable way. By putting the right tools in the hands of recruiters and hiring managers, positions will fill faster and with improved quality outcomes.
Another unfortunate dynamic resulting from the gap between talent supply and demand is the emergence of a cohort of marginally proficient, and in some cases completely unqualified, candidates throwing their hats into the ring for technical positions. To compensate for their skills gap, and in the absence of reliable proctoring controls to eliminate cheating, some candidates are finding increasingly creative ways to sneak through the screening process. This ranges from leveraging web searches for answers, to getting help while taking the test, to using proxies to take a test on their behalf.
Over the past year, Glider AI saw a 92% increase in attempted candidate fraud during the assessment process, flagged by automated online proctoring. Without these automated testing solutions and proctoring controls in place, in addition to being asked to be technical experts in a mercurial world of rapidly evolving technology, recruiters are also being asked to be fraud investigators.
So how can companies screen more candidates, with faster fill times, and improved placement outcomes? To borrow phraseology from Jason Ezratty, co-founder, chief data scientist and chairman of Brightfield, you don’t need to replace recruiters, you need to arm them with Iron Person suits. To be more explicit, give recruiters and engagement managers screening automation and decision-support technology to make them stronger and faster, to enable consistently better and more predictable outcomes. Here are three specific examples:
- Automate candidate curation. Use technology to reach thousands of candidates simultaneously, and use AI-driven Q&A automation to validate interest, availability and aptitude, drastically reducing recruiter effort while improving the quality of your curated talent pool.
- Focus on demonstrable skill proficiency, not subjective work. Rather than have recruiters ask candidates to explain how and where they’ve applied the relevant skills listed on their résumé, give recruiters atomic level visibility into exactly how proficient candidates are across each relevant skill.
- Help candidates help themselves. Improve the candidate experience by enabling the most qualified resources to stand out from the crowd, prove their capabilities and differentiate themselves from the marginally qualified. Yes, an assessment takes time to complete, but Glider AI data shows that it speeds time to start by as much as 89% by reducing or eliminating the multi-round technical interview process after they’re submitted. Additionally, candidates can take one test to open the doors at multiple companies. This is a win-win-win for recruiters, hiring managers and candidates.
Clearly there is a need for more comprehensive and systemic approaches to expanding and upskilling today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce to better meet demand. Employers need to truly embrace, not just tolerate, flexible work arrangements and remote work policies to broaden their reach. Our customers and partners are doing creative and impactful things here, such as establishing their own recruit-train-deploy programs, and focusing on niche and historically excluded areas of the workforce. Even longer-term, employers need to collaborate with educators to access and mold talent while they’re still in school, to ensure the future workforce is fully prepared for real-world and future-proof work scenarios.
These are all critical, long-term solutions to bridge the skills gap. Until that gap is considerably smaller, leading organizations can create an immediate competitive advantage by enabling their talent acquisition superheroes with the technologies they need to find the most qualified talent possible.
For more information on Glider AI’s talent screening and interview platform, contact Ben Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.