unemployment is your problemWe’ve all watched unemployment numbers stagger back and forth, each time they dip a little lower, making us believe that this truly is the bottom of the market. Fortunately, the last few months have been a bit of a bright spot, leaving recruiters to wonder if there might be a new war for talent coming around the bend.

While no one can tell the future, it’s important to note that recruiters, HR manager, hiring managers and even in house employee ambassadors all have an important role to play in the war AGAINST unemployment. Whether any of us want to face the facts or not, we all have a role to play in reducing unemployment.

Recruiters: According to a survey by Top Echelon, nearly 50% of recruiters think it should illegal to deny employment to so-called “active candidates” the nice name for unemployed jobseekers. If this is a pervasive feeling throughout the industry, then what are recruiters to do about it? After all, it’s not exactly easy to force a hiring manager or an executive to consider a candidate they’ve already mentally ruled out. Recruiters can do their part by educating their hiring managers, playing up skills and experience over current employment status and by encouraging promising candidates to pursue contract work or volunteer projects.

It can certainly be more difficult not just to find the ‘next big thing’ in an overflowing candidate pool, and even more daunting to convince hiring companies that the candidate is worthy of a close look, the recruiter said. In one recent example, she said she presented the unemployed candidate’s credentials, education, experience and skills informally to pique their interest.

HR Professionals: Working in Human Resources can be a difficult and sometimes unforgiving job, but for many, it’s a calling. If you occupy a job with Human Resources in the title, the (albeit decreasing) unemployment numbers should worry you. Countless studies have come out over culture vs skills fit, several key business leaders have vouched for surprising and unsuspected workforce development choices. Blogger and Starr Conspiracy strategist Laurie Ruettimann says:

Business leaders and HR professionals fail this country — and the global economy — when they would rather leave a job open than hire an unemployed person to fill that role. Can’t find a perfect fit? Take a risk. Fill the job, anyway. Then train someone. And look to our younger generations and our veterans to end the war for talent.

Hiring Managers: Hiring isn’t easy. As budget strings ease up and job openings start to get approve, it’s easy to ask for the moon. Carving out a laser focused and very specific list of traits, values and skills you want your perfect future employee to have is the easiest way to start but not always the best. While overworked team members may all have their needs and wants to add to the JD, try your best to assess the team as it is now and not recycle the same old checklist from three years ago. Keep cultural fit in mind and don’t stress too much about a 70-80% fit. Letting your recruiting team trust their gut and working with a new placement can not only stretch your team in new ways but it can create stronger work product overall.

Candidate: If you’re the one looking for a new job, consider this:

To a good headhunter, substance always matters more than sizzle. And to communicate your substance, you need more than a resume, or a bunch of keywords, or a good pitch. You need to be part of a circle of friends — people who do the work you want to do — that imbues you with a fine reputation. Far from selling anything, you have to earn your way in by making a substantial contribution. Headhunters will find you among people who know, trust and respect you. Not splattered on a wall for the world to pick at.

While social and brand-building are substantial and important skills, keeping your eye on a solid network of people who can help you is of utmost importance. Unemployment, despite current numbers, doesn’t have to be a long-term problem. Think about what the recruiter, hiring manager and HR pro want to hear and see, and then take a critical eye to your own resume.

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