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Blog Advanced Insights

Don’t Lower Your Standards to Negotiate the Skills Gap


Today’s post is a guest post by Mike McKerns, SPHR, HR Insights Editor-in-Chief. This piece originally appeared in Advanced Resources HR Insights Magazine.

In my column in the previous issue of HR Insights, I offered suggestions for new ways to bridge the skills gap.  If you read that, you may have already begun planning for how to address the issues that have challenged your recruiting efforts over the past several years. (And if you haven’t read it, you can read it here or access back issues by subscribing here!) Estimates about the size of the gap vary widely, but most experts agree that it will only widen in the near future. The time to act is now.

As the gap continues to grow, keep pushing forward in your efforts to eliminate it. You may have to try a few different things before landing on a solution that works for your organization. Reevaluating the requirements for a particular position is one option to consider. For example, you may find that what you’ve been treating as “must haves” for a candidate are really just “nice to haves,” and that adjusting your expectations—without compromising your values—will help you find the talent you need.  

But no matter how frustrated you get—and how desperate you are to fill your open positions—don’t lower your standards and hire candidates who aren’t qualified! That course of action might provide a short-term solution, but it will very quickly damage your company’s reputation and overall financial health. Instead of taking actions that lead to the decline of your organization, figure out ways to improve it. Do what you can to make your company the preferred employer in your market. Then you’ll have top-notch candidates knocking at your door—and the skills gap will disappear.Skills are only one part of the equation.

Download "Hire Better: A Guide to Interviewing for Culture Fit."

To gain an edge in the competition for an ever-shrinking pool of candidates, start by raising the bar on the perks and benefits that your organization offers. Take a close look at your company culture, too, and identify ways in which it can be improved to appeal to your target candidates. Salary is one thing, but many employees value the nonmonetary aspects of their compensation just as much or even more. (For example, think about how much buzz you’ve heard about “work-life balance” in recent years.)

Don’t stop there! Rather than join the masses of people who are wringing their hands in anxiety over the skills gap, think outside the box to figure out what you can do at your organization to mitigate it. Once you start exploring new ways to bridge the skills gap, you’ll see possibilities everywhere.   

Mike McKerns, SPHR, is the editor in chief of HR Insights and cofounder of Mamu Media LLC. He can be reached at editor@mamumediallc.com. 

Topics: Staffing & Recruiting, Human Resources

Posted by Advanced Resources on April 7, 2017