Skills Gap or Fixed Mindsets

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What’s hurting recruiting more?

As a person who has been in the recruiting space for almost two decades, and spends each and every day uncovering the gems that drive organizational growth, it became clear that change was necessary for evolution. In fact, if my organization (APA Solutions) hadn’t changed since our foremothers created us in 1965, we’d be gone girls, gone.

The courageous women who opened the doors for us to become a full-fledged human capital consulting firm were truly role models ahead of their time, driving the thought process for us to become an agile company. So, allow me to quote Cher from one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, and say to employers with a verbal slap to “Snap out of it”. As much as employers recognize what’s going on with the talent pool, we have very little collected data suggesting that companies are really living the beautifully penned vision and mission statements that proudly display throughout offices across America. We see instead that they are stuck in this fixed mindset loop where a classified ad has been replaced by a job board, with a sprinkle of social media thrown in for flavoring. Remember, our brain doesn’t exactly love change, so it’s up to us to make it happen.

Business is evolving at a rapid pace and so is the workforce because there are now endless ways in which to garner an income. So, the question becomes which mindset are you experiencing at work and is that the root of what’s going, or has the skill shortage excuse become our default response? Here’s a preliminary test to see:

Fixed mindset: You don’t have a talent brand. Unfortunately, I fear you do. It’s plastered everywhere, and your company probably isn’t controlling it which leaves it in the all too often destructive hands of others to determine how great it is to work at your place (OR NOT).
Growth mindset: Developing, monitoring and living your human capital strategy in all mediums is incredibly important.

Fixed mindset: Qualifications need to be so specific because I must have a plug and play candidate largely because hiring managers are, you guessed it, stuck in the old ways of doing business loop. This tends to be incredibly prevalent in traditional arenas like legal, insurance, etc.
Growth mindset: Focus on the potential of people and fill in the skills. Instead of harping on what they don’t have, look towards potential and training.

Fixed mindset: Job posts begins with three paragraphs of company rhetoric with no unique selling proposition.
Growth mindset: Recognizing regardless of the generation, good people have career choices and they want to know what’s in it for them. Write ads that connect with the people!  

Fixed mindset: Emphasize the importance of “so-called” soft skills, yet you don’t have a work environment that supports an open-minded philosophy to begin with.
Growth mindset: Artificial intelligence will be able to facilitate tasks not strategies. Focus on developing the skills in employees that matter now and into the future, and cultivate mindsets that support creative, critical thinking. Is your company truly ready for that?

Fixed mindset: Onboarding (surfboarding). Expecting the people who go through a mortgage like process to get hired and figure out their job, the culture, the politics, etc.
Growth mindset: Give people the tools to be successful. Create a hybrid training program that includes technology in a way the brain prefers to be taught.

Fixed mindset: Time lag! We’re a good company so of course the candidates will wait however long it takes for me to fit hiring into my schedule. It could be a week, month or months, but they’ll be there.
Growth mindset: Candidates are consistently disenchanted with companies that take forever to decide. Treat the hiring process like you would one of your cherished customers and compete. I know what you’re thinking, “compete Jean? We are a GREAT company and there’s no need for us to compete.” My friend, that fixed mindset has been the business differentiator between the haves and have nots for years now. Once a person has a negative impression of a company, they rarely go back as they gain experience. Just how many people are lost that way??

Now, I have to remind myself that this is a blog and not a non-fiction book, even though I have many more examples to include. Allow me to end with this:

Fixed mindset: APA Solutions is a traditional employment agency (true in the 60’s and 70’s).
Growth mindset: We now take a math and science approach to every facet of the human capital life cycle, delivering on-demand training, development and recruiting practices for the growth minded organizations out there. See for yourself.

Jean Filipiak
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Managing Partner, Human Capital Strategist and facilitator

An certified brain-based recruiter and behavioral specialist, Jean utilizes advanced profiling and matching skills to guide companies and people toward success. When not advising a client, working to fill placements, or counseling a candidate on workplace behaviors, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo and enjoys spending time with her family.

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