Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix & Cheboygan Counties.

Why your organization has a talent shortage

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance  •  231-582-6482  •

Buck Love,  Business Retention & Growth

As part of our core work involves retention visit meetings with company owners and key management teams, we hear daily the difficulty in recruiting and attracting needed employees. Add to that the growing number of “graying workforce” with the years of knowledge and experience in need of replacing and the task of filling all the open positions becomes daunting. Dr. John Sullivan explains in very blunt terms why the culprit is the company’s own recruiting process and not some external factor.

Dr. Sullivan identifies the common strategic flaws that will dramatically hurt your recruiting process. The most impactful are listed first.

The Top 8 Reasons Why Your Organization Has a Talent Shortage:

  • You Recruit Using Your Gut Rather Than Data – If you examine the top recruiting organizations like Google, Sodexo, and the U.S. Army, you’ll find that their recruiting approaches are quite scientific and driven by data. In direct contrast, the odds are that your organization’s approaches are based on past practice, intuition and gut feelings.
  • You haven’t quantified the cost of weak recruiting – Expect nothing but headwinds until you dollarize the cost of losing a top candidate, slow hiring, excessive position vacancies, a weak employer brand, and a toxic hire.
  • You don’t boast or brag in order to differentiate your company – Recruiting top talent is an intense competition between firms. The winners are those that proactively and aggressively brag about the factors that make their company a great place to work.
  • You don’t even know the attraction factors that excite top talent – If you examine your job postings, your careers website, and your recruitment marketing, you will find that in almost all firms they emphasize “paycheck job” factors. If you want to attract the best, you need to instead reveal the specific factors that top candidates care about. This requires constantly gathering data on the “attraction factors” that are specific to top candidates.
  • Your sourcing approach is designed for active jobseekers – Estimates are that up to 90 percent of all sourcing channels (including job boards and career fairs) are focused on attracting active job seekers. But most people must be found and convinced that they need a new job.
  • Slow hiring is weak hiring – Top candidates are off the market between 10 and 30 days. That means that if you meet or exceed the average time-to-fill of 42 days, your top applicants will likely have received and accepted a competitor’s offer long before yours is delivered.
  • Your application process is painful – The major differentiator between the weak and powerful application processes is that the best firms design and test their process to ensure that an application takes no more than five minutes to complete on their mobile phone.
  • Not having a proactive retention approach causes unnecessary turnover – The impact of effective recruiting at most firms is immediately offset by a firm’s laissez-faire retention efforts. Research shows that between 50 and 75 percent of all turnover is preventable. So, your firm’s turnover rate may be twice as high as it would be if you dropped your automatic assumption that every employee is loyal. Instead what is needed is a proactive and personalized retention approach. That requires periodic “stay interviews” which remind key employees how important they are to the team while also identifying and reinforcing the reasons why they stay.


For those employers who take the time to critically evaluate their recruiting and hiring process, use data-driven analysis to “quantify” the costs of slow hiring, losing a top prospect, excessive turnover or a “toxic hire” and learn to promote (brag) about why their company is a great place to work, you will see a significant improvement in your hiring efforts. For a more detailed discussion see Dr. John Sullivan’s article here:

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