Is HR to blame for recruitment's 'worst ever crisis'? |

A new study by the World Federation of Advertisers has found that 85% of agencies are facing “high” talent scarcity, amounting to the “worst crisis ever”. 

It’s the same story in other sectors, with global hiring reaching record levels in recent months. Demand for recruiters exceeded even that for software engineers. The Great Resignation is an anomaly partly caused by the freeze on job mobility during the pandemic, but it also points to a widespread failure on the part of HR to engage employees. 

Reframing ‘The Great Resignation’ 

If people are resigning at an unprecedented rate, they must also be moving to other positions. Unprecedented attrition begs the question: why is HR dropping the ball on employee engagement? Some sources attribute peak churn rates to a profound shift in employee expectations, linked with hybrid working policies, burnout or changing personal priorities.

Engagement and recruitment crises are two sides of the same coin, yet organisations often treat them as independent processes. This disconnect within HR is fuelling the attrition problem, since a lack of development opportunities is the primary cause of employee churn. To address this and mitigate the skill shortage, HR must create pathways and mechanisms for rapid upskilling.

Instead of growing talent and diversifying the talent pool, recruiters are shooting themselves in the foot by seeking out chimerical ‘purple squirrel’  (ideal) candidates. With a possible downturn on the cards, identifying talent that is capable of drive your business forward, assuming more responsibility and dealing effectively with change and uncertainty will be critical.

Aptitude to the rescue

According to research, the top predictor of candidates’ success in a new role is cognitive ability or ‘aptitude’. Experience, or the contents of an applicant’s CV are a comparatively unreliable predictor of in-role performance (Schmidt, 2016). To unlock a wider talent pool of top performing talent, hiring managers should switch their focus to assessing candidates’ fluid intelligence to ascertain their level of aptitude for learning ‘on the job’, and their potential for ongoing development.

During an acute skills shortage, hiring managers need to know which candidates have the potential to onboard successfully, learn the required skills quickly, and steer their organisations to greater heights. Aptitude assessments focus on a range of cognitive skills, are quick to complete, and provide a wealth of rich information on candidates in a remote hiring environment. Thomas’ assessment offers hiring managers insight into individuals’ ability to reason, detect errors and process numbers, words and visual information.

Naturally, some of these skills will be vital in certain job functions, while others may be less essential. So, knowing which skills are the most important to the position will help you create a job profile to recruit against, increasing the efficiency of your recruitment process. Recruiters should look for a high score in the areas required by the role, unless it requires repetitive or methodical work, in which case a lower score is likely to be preferable, as it is indicative of someone who will stick at such tasks for longer without becoming disengaged.

Assessing candidates against a role profile that includes aptitude can both substantiate and accelerate hiring decisions, leading to improved recruitment outcomes. You can learn more about assessing Aptitude here and gain more insight into what’s not working for recruitment by downloading the full Spotlight on Recruitment research report.