How Obama Will Fix the Economy And Re-Invent Recruiting

Ask anyone in the Obama administration about the country’s present unemployment situation and you will probably get the standard talking point answers. 

It goes something like this:  We inherited a very bad economy, and in the first term the stimulus was very helpful in reducing the unemployment rate.  But we still have a long way to go, because there are millions of people still trying unsuccessfully to find a job.  And another problem we have to deal with is the four million jobs that remain unfilled. 

The reason why most unemployed cannot find jobs as more jobs remain unfilled is because a skill gap exists in the labor market-employers simply cannot find enough qualified applicants to fill their jobs.  So, in the second term, my administration will focus on education and technology training to get unemployed applicants the skills they will need to fill those jobs and remain employable.

This is how Obama needs to frame the message to inject confidence in the workforce and as a result will organically stimulate the economy.

Mr. Employer, your business is a lot like a professional sports team.  The team that invests in recruiting the best talent will win more business.  To employ the best talent, starts with an aggressive recruitment strategy because the global war for talent is real and we need to remain competitive.

This skill-gap problem exists because our present recruitment model is broken; our best talents are not actively participating in our recruitment process.  The reason they are not participating is because they are not applying for jobs.  And the reason they are not applying for jobs is because they have jobs.

Ask anyone in the recruitment Industry and they will tell you that the recruitment space is saturated with vendors selling recruitment solutions to employers.  But when you cut through all the noise, they are all selling the same solution to everyone.  What they are all selling is another easier, faster and cheaper way for you to find the type of resumes that you are looking for.

I understand that the recruitment vendors have placed a bigger problem between you and your problem.  And I understand that your problem as an employer is that you are leaving money on the table the longer a job remains unfilled, because you cannot find enough qualified applicants to fill your jobs. I also understand that these recruitment solutions are adequate for the individuals that are actively looking for jobs, but they do not go far enough to recruit the ones that are not actively looking for a job. 

What is interesting is that headhunting has been the most effective method for recruiting the best talent-the ones that are not actively looking.  But today, employers seldom use headhunters.  They say it is because the headhunter fees are way too expensive and they do not have the budget.  And why should anyone pay fees to headhunters when there are many cheaper ways to find good resumes?

Mr. Employer I understand your situation and I feel your pain.  But let me say this; you play a very important role in our economic recovery.  Without your participation, our job market will be equivalent to a swimming pool that lacks proper filtration.  If it doesn’t have a pump and a filtering device, the water will become stagnated and contaminated with algae.  Our economy has become stagnated just like the swimming pool, our best talents are not moving and they will not move because a job was advertised.  You need to put headhunters into the hunt and back on your team. 

That is why my administration is rolling out a cost effective recruitment method that will allow employers to use headhunters to effectively recruit the best talent- ones that are not actively looking.  And at the same time, it would motivate and incentivize the best headhunters to dazzle you with their creativity and as a result, generate more revenue for themselves.

Very shortly we will roll-out this new recruitment model and make no mistake; this recruiting model will re-invent recruiting.  It will bring personal touch back into recruiting.  It will bring real relationships back into recruiting.  It will put recruiting back into the hands of professionals-the ones that recruit for a living.

Will you stand with me?


Views: 572

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 13, 2014 at 1:59pm

@ Ken: Does it REALLY surprise you that the government would rather listen to well-established but out-of touch corporate heads instead of listen to ordinary recruiters WHO ACTUALLY FILL JOBS when the corporate heads themselves would much rather be fed a line of impractical but calming BS from a bunch of self-titled “Recruiting Thought Leaders’ who are usually DECADES away from really recruiting? Also, government seems to move quite quickly when rich lobbyists and political contributors come calling. Funny how that works.


I think there’s more than a skills-gap problem. I think there’s a strong sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to hire anything besides exactly what they want. For example: how many folks over 35 do you see in the as ordinary employees of startups?


Also, I keep hearing that more and more regular FT jobs are just going to disappear- due to automation- transport, retail, some other things, too.

While new jobs WILL be created, there will likely be an increasing mismatch between what goes away and what comes in. As an example: we’re seeing a some high-paid, high-skilled jobs being created, a load of low-paid jobs being created, and not too many in the middle-class sweet spot.


@ Everybody: We may be coming to a time (if we aren’t already there) where there simply won’t be enough jobs out there for all the people who are ready able, and willing to work. WHAT DO WE DO, THEN?


Comment by Ken Forrester on February 13, 2014 at 2:15pm

Amy here is the link:

Stephen: you are right.  Can you take a look at the link as well and let me know if you have any ideas we can send to Obama.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on February 13, 2014 at 8:47pm

First, ++++million% agree w/ 100% of what @Amy said. In CA our EDD is so far beyond incompetent they should be sued for malpractice by every tax paying citizen of the state. 

Second, I find it impossible to believe that the "BEST" talent are the best merely because they've managed to remain employed. That sentiment plays a huge role in why unemployment remains so high.

Is there anyone here that can truthfully say you've never encountered a clueless coworker, bumbling boss or egomaniac executive that leads by terrorizing their troops? They all have jobs but are these the best members of the talent pool?

Of course there are many talented people who are currently employed. There are also millions of incredible people struggling through under- and unemployment due to no fault of their own and not due to any direct correlation to their willingness and ability to add value to the corporate world.

Many employed people probably would consider making a change if the unemployment rate wasn't so high. Until that gets stabilized there is simply too much risk for them to leave their reasonably secure situation to jump into the unknown. To me THAT is where we have a gap. 

Finally, here's an example of gov't provided training that I recently heard about - person got laid off (long-time mid- career administrative type worker); went through usual unemployment process; eventually funneled through state provided retraining for medical coding / billing at the cost of $12,000 (funded by state); person ending up applying for jobs in that category with minimal luck - the old no experience, no job situation - finally found company willing to hire for part-time medical coding / billing at barely above minimum wage; ended up taking full time job at a retail store paying a bit less than medical billing wage, but retail job provided more work and benefits. So, that $12k training produced how much ROI for that person or society?

Not clear how headhunters will fix any of this... 

Comment by Ken Forrester on February 13, 2014 at 9:31pm

KB, when a top talent is recruited from one job, it usually takes three or four younger talent with growth potential to replace such talent.  That's four jobs created. Example: 

The Los Angeles Clippers have acquired guard Chris Paul in a trade with the league-ownedNew Orleans Hornets.The Clippers will send guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets for Paul. 

You're right, headhunters alone won't fix the skill-gap, but as Amy said, they can start wooing some of the hard to move talent, which will create opportunities for many more..  Talent on the move will create momentum, which will intensify the war for talent among employers, which will increase the demand for the services of  headhunters, which will create a need for employers to train new workers, and trained workers will fill jobs and narrow the skill-gap.  Right now, the best talent are not motivated to move, because no one is whispering in their ears. 

Comment by Robert Dromgoole on February 14, 2014 at 2:52pm

Companies are using headhunters.   If there's actual urgency around a job to be filled, companies will choose to fill it.   KFY (Korn Ferry) earned $896-million in the last 12 months and that's just one firm.   If your firm can't get a client to pay you, it's because you've failed as a sales professional or they're getting it done through someone else.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 14, 2014 at 5:17pm

@ Ken:

While I'm a strong fan of "employee churn" (it creates work for us) robbing Peter to place at Paul doesn't create any net new jobs. Furthermore, if Peter  was making $80k , Peter's boss is quite likely to try and replace Peter with someone making $60k- we have high paying jobs being replaced by lower paying ones.

@ Robert:

Companies are using 3PRs and while they may be high-level/important ones, but not many hires are coming  through them at major employers 3.1% or about 1/32( I'm also willing to  guess that a large number of these hires were made by lower-end recruiters dialing for dollars and getting candidates off job boards or RPOs and then selling them for 15-20%, because the client often didn't know that other resources  would be much more cost effective, like hiring board-scrapers or sourcers to provide them the candidates directly at a fraction of the cost. I'd be VERY curious as to what percentage of overall hires were made by high-level executive recruiters?




Comment by Ken Forrester on February 15, 2014 at 11:51am

Keith thanks for sharing that source of hire link.  They say that numbers don’t lie, so based on the numbers, I say that you have a valid point.  The number of jobs filled by agencies is way too small to move the needle to impact meaningful change in recruiting.  

However there was one response from employers that caught my attention:

Q: How will your plans for 2013 change based on your SOH analysis from this year?

A: Considerably.

Number of times respondents mentioned “More”: Analytics[8], Social Media[8], Mobile[6],

Branding & Marketing[6], Referrals[5], Sourcing[5], Centralization[4], Process Improvements[4],

CRM[3], College[3], Linkedin[3], Niche job boards[2], Globalization Integration[2], SEO[1] video

interviewing[1] More internal sources[1], Pre-hire Assessments[1] RPO [1]

 Number of times respondents mentioned “Less”: Job Boards[5], Agencies[2]

So Keith, the one question I would like your honest opinion is “why do you think agencies are ranked so low on the source of hire list and why do employers imply that they will use less agencies in the future?

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 16, 2014 at 10:55am

What is the meaningful change in recruiting we're trying to achieve here? While I'll admit that the small number of jobs filled by agency recruiters might be concerning for - well - agency recruiters, I'm still not sure how this affects the job market overall or addresses skills gap, outsourcing, or any of the other issues people like to blame for a less than stellar job market.

Comment by Stephen Nehez, Jr. on February 16, 2014 at 3:20pm

Just curious... how many government employees does it take to teach people how to run a french fry machine, pick lettuce, screw a car together, or use an EBT card?

I'm sorry.  This entire topic and debate is beyond absurd.

You put Obama's name in the title.  You put a picture of him in the article.  If they don't remanufacture the history books of the future, his policies and platform have done nothing but torn this country apart, eliminated JOBS, inflated a astronomical country debt, and created an entire population of gov't hand-out takers for life. 

I like to work.  Imagine that.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on February 16, 2014 at 5:49pm

@Ken - I'm still grappling with your claim and example below: 

"when a top talent is recruited from one job, it usually takes three or four younger talent with growth potential to replace such talent.  That's four jobs created. Example: 

The Los Angeles Clippers have acquired guard Chris Paul in a trade with the league-ownedNew Orleans Hornets.The Clippers will send guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets for Paul." 

How exactly does CP3 or NBA drafts and trades correlate to this particular topic? Running a professional sports team or league doesn't seem analogous to running (or recruiting for) an organization in the corporate world. Individual businesses are not typically involved in negotiating movement of talent from their firm to a competitor's operation or making deals about future talent acquisition transactions in that manner. 

Also, I can't think of any cases where one person's departure created 3-4 new jobs. If anything, the opposite would be more likely - one person leaves and that workload gets distributed and absorbed by others already in the organization. Thus, no job gains and fewer people end up doing the same amount of work. It doesn't matter if this is top talent, bottom talent, young talent or old talent, it simply would not be feasible, cost effective or efficient to replace one job with 3-4 others. 

@Steve - no idea how many govt ees it would take to accomplish that, but it sounds expensive and idiotic and I hope we never find out. 

@Amy - ultimately whether jobs are filled by an internal process or external provider, it has no impact on the net number of jobs available or created at any given time. Shifting that responsibility from one party to another would have minimal, if any, bearing on broader employment market trends. Unless of course, the intent is to build a govt agency and require all businesses to use that as a recruiting service. Then, well it might have the ability to quadruple the number of resources needed to accomplish the same thing now being done through existing internal/external service providers. But, it would be at the expense of current internal/external providers being eliminated and/or converted to the govt system. Sounds like meaningless change to me!   


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