Employers face post-traumatic stress reactions in recruitment efforts, expert debunks war on talent

By Zion Rufus

The workforce landscape has undergone a significant transformation, influenced by diverse factors such as Nigeria’s “japa” syndrome, the global “great resignation,” and the paradigm shift in work attitudes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

For employers, these changes have been both unsettling and challenging, as they grapple with the fear of losing valuable talent to alternative opportunities and abrupt departures, leading to a post-traumatic stress reaction when it comes to recruitment efforts. 

The repercussions of these trends now shape employers’ mindsets and impact their hiring strategies, amplifying the hiring crisis that predates the pandemic as companies become more cautious and apprehensive about hiring decisions. 

In response, the recruitment industry has become inundated with various myths, which, although have deeply-rooted historical origins,  have been exacerbated by the current hiring crisis.

To help companies address some of these growing hiring concerns in an eye-opening perspective, Richard Triggs, a prominent executive recruiter and career coach with over two decades of experience, addressed some of the most common hiring myths.

In his Op-ed for the CEOWORLD, Triggs reflected on his early days in the recruitment industry when the term “War for Talent” was introduced, painting a picture of scarcity to manage employer expectations regarding the quality of candidates. 

Back then, recruiters used this narrative to condition employers to expect underwhelming results. However, Triggs passionately disagrees with this notion, stating that it is a mere excuse perpetuated by lazy and incompetent recruiters.

“…I clearly remember being introduced to this term of doom and gloom, “The War for Talent”, designed to spread fear amongst employers and to lower their expectations regarding the quality of candidates they would see on a presented shortlist. It’s not dissimilar to a real estate agent manipulating homeowners into accepting a lower price for their house, because “it’s a buyer’s market out there (i.e. tough)” so the owner should be grateful to receive an offer at all,” Triggs said.

Rather than blaming market conditions, he asserted that successful recruitment relies on hard work, smart strategies, and the ability to deliver outstanding shortlists. 

Triggs also highlighted the importance of taking quality briefs from hiring managers, writing compelling job advertisements, engaging with potential applicants, and actively headhunting for top talent.

He shared a telling example of an Engineering firm with 40 vacancies that remained unfilled due to the lack of proactive recruitment efforts by their HR managers. 

“Through asking some probing questions it became obvious that they were not bothering to take quality briefs from the hiring manager, they were writing very boring job advertisements, they were not making themselves available to speak to potential applicants, and if was often over three weeks between someone making an application being interviewed.  Plus they were doing zero headhunting,” Triggs had observed.

He emphasized that there is no “War for Talent” but rather a clear distinction between successful recruitment strategies and those leading to mediocrity.

“It’s absolutely no wonder at all that their results were so poor.  Yet they continue to remain employed and continue to offer the same BS excuse to their boss, “Sorry boss, it’s just that there’s a War for Talent”. Give me a freaking break,” he added. 

Triggs concluded by noting that various myths surround recruitment, leadership, and retention in the corporate world. He believes these myths need to be challenged and debunked to foster a more informed and effective approach to hiring and talent management.

Additionally, he humorously mentioned cliché memes frequently repeated in business books, citing quotes such as “Strategy Eats Culture for Breakfast” and “Start with Why” as examples. Although thought-provoking at the time, Triggs suggests that these quotes have become clichéd through endless regurgitation.

“There is no “War for Talent”, there never has been and if you are being duped into believing this then do so at your own peril.  There are simple, proven and consistently successful recruitment strategies; and on the other side of the coin, there are lazy and incompetent people who are wasting your time and money through being terrible at their jobs,” he stated.


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