Recruiting and personnel selection with blind spots: Skilled shortage homemade?


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The topic is not just the participation in the ARD report “The fairy tale about the lack of skilled workers” Skills shortage on Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® a perennial favorite. Because the apparent lack is often homemade.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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TV show about a shortage of skilled workers

I have been dealing with the subject of a shortage of skilled workers for many years. 2014 I was eg in an ARD report on the topic of shortage of skilled workers, which you can look at here, The show was about whether we actually have a nationwide shortage of skilled workers in Germany.

The result of the search for the program was at that time that the labor market statistics on the subject are partly calculated incorrectly - where in the example of the program was mainly about a shortage of skilled workers among engineers.

My keynote topic

Now I have the topic in the context of GEWINN Conference “Women in the IT Industry: New Ways in HR Management” picked up again in Hamburg.

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The joint project GEWINN (stands for gender. Knowledge. Computer science. Network), in which the Heilbronn University and the University of Siegen, among others, are involved, aims to make research on gender and computer science usable in practice to attract female young professionals in to support IT on its way to top positions. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Is there a shortage of skilled workers in Germany?

The shipment was preceded by a long-standing, very violent discussion, the 2011 with a contribution just to the topic, to which we have come together today: Especially women should study more mathematical, engineering, science, technical subjects, short STEM to compensate for the (alleged) shortage of skilled workers. Whereupon a young diploma lady reported and analogously wrote:

"It's all nonsense, stop propagating such STEM initiatives, so that only more young women will be lured into courses where you won't find any jobs afterwards."

The bias in personnel selection

Even today there are still STEM initiatives. At the end of 2017, the digital association BITKOM published a labor market survey and found that 55.000 IT positions were again unfilled. And I make my living advising employers on how they can convince STEM workers. Incidentally, I have most of the inquiries about this from the IT department.

In the following, I would like to explain some of the research results and experiences how these discrepancies come about, before we start the discussion. Because I realized through my work as a consultant:

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Company are your own fault!

Although companies are desperately looking for skilled workers, they are often responsible for their misery. Because HR departments often have blind spots and do not see what they can do to help them overcome their skills shortage.

For example, in addressing potential professionals. I'm thinking of a young developer I was talking to at an event recently - and when I told him what I'm doing, he scolded the stupid staffers who were bugging him at Xing all the time.

Applicant approach as a problem when recruiting

Not an isolated case. For the Recruiting Trends Study The University of Bamberg's Center for Human Resources Information Systems (CHRIS) surveyed top 1.000 companies and 300's largest IT companies in Germany. The results were compared with the results of the usage behavior and the assessments of 2.800 candidates.

The interviewing of applicants shows that addressing potential applicants is often anything but ideal. And IT professionals in particular are annoyed by human resources or headhunters then because they

  • received too many uninteresting requests
  • annoyed by inappropriate, standardized speeches
  • fear, current employer sees open profile

As a result:

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  • One of 4 does not apply
  • 2 by 10 avoid the channel in the future - I know that in the circle of acquaintances with Xing.
  • 16 percent delete corresponding messages unseen
  • and especially men blaspheme about spammers - I know that as I said in the circle of acquaintances.

Top executives are often overlooked

In addition: Often good workers are simply overlooked. People like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos would probably never have been hired, Steve Jobs has even been thrown out of his own company in the meantime, Mark Zuckerberg has left the university without a degree.

In Germany, titles and certificates are still very popular, because one thing does not seem to have arrived in this country so far: You do not need a diploma to be really good at what you do. This shows up very much with developers, because they teach themselves a lot.

Education stays behind development

The Developer Community Stackoverflow surveys 100.000 developers worldwide every year. 87 percent of the respondents recently stated that they had taught themselves a new programming language, a new framework or a new tool outside of their formal education - e.g. via an online course, as more than 48 percent said in the survey.

This is also important because employers desperately seek well-trained workers in specialist areas that are so new that there is no training at all. But as technology develops today, these changes can not represent a curriculum.

Alternative educational pathways equivalent to formal education

Possible solutions: Alternative education and programming experience should be considered equivalent to graduation or formal education. On the other hand, employers are also often unwilling to hire newcomers and invest in their training.

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Because, so the reasoning, then the finished trained workers are wooed by the competition and you have invested in vain.

What do applicants want?

It is important for companies to be more attuned to what applicants want. This overview, also from the Monster / CHRISS study, shows what applicants want:

  1. On 1 are good working conditions
  2. Ranked 2 salary and benefits in kind
  3. At 3 stands the corporate culture

And 68 percent of surveyed applicants want employers to do more for education and careers.

Recruiting IT professionals - do's and don'ts

A former customer of mine invested a year in the training of new employees - and had a turnover rate of less than one percent. Their secret recipe was that they also invest above average in the staff, so that simply had no reason to be wooed.

By contrast, another customer, a medium-sized company in the deepest Black Forest, by the way, world market leader in its industry: Despite comparatively high profile, there were difficulties to convince qualified people from the remote location.Among again they were also addressed to flexible working hours and home office, what the Problem had solved.

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Work-life balance and home office

But they wanted to introduce home office only reluctantly, for example, two days teleworking, otherwise they insisted on mandatory attendance.

In the US, it's still there: A cooperation partner of mine, the image database Shutterstock, lets its developers work worldwide. To network them and create an office workspace, all developers have a tablet standing next to the computer.

Important: Employers should realize how important a work-life balance is today. And that the digital office offers countless ways to simplify work organization. Keep that in mind when looking for suitable candidates, because these things are not only incredibly important to developers, but also to all other employees.


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Dress code in the digital board

A change in the corporate culture also affects other areas - eg the topic of dress code. A nice example of dress code was recently leaked by the press - just look at how much this story was discussed.

Here is a picture of the Digital Council of the Federal Government. What stands out is the man on the far right, this is IT entrepreneur Illja Maditsch, a doctor of virology, computer scientist and founder of the research network Research-Gate.

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Corporate culture and dress code

In a Facebook-I read the discussion: This is the only one in the Digital Council who really has something on the box. Now imagine if Mr. Maditsch had come to the interview in this elevator - he would probably have been sorted out by one or the other despite the shortage of skilled workers.

By the way, in an interview he was asked why he came to the Digital Council in this way. The pragmatic answer was: It was hot that day and he just runs around more often. Incidentally, I also have friends who are mathematicians and who like to take off their shoes in the office. Reason: You can think so better.

Great cultural differences between IT and staff

I have recently the former recruiting director of Deutsche Bahn interviewed on this topic, which tells how, for example, the shoes of applicants or the shorts of the trainee made for conversation.

Culturally, sometimes worlds meet - and clothing is only the tip of the iceberg.

Discrimination in recruiting

Because there are also much more serious aspects in this regard. Diversity is being talked about in companies everywhere, the reality is that 2018 is still being discriminated against.

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For example, there are always these experiments, in which the same applicant applies with exactly the same CV - only once with a German name and once with a name that indicates a migrant background.


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Gender Pay Gap also in IT

And the organization Terres des Femmes made a rather bold experiment in which it sent the same person for a job as a man and once as a woman with exactly the same CV - and showed that the annual salary can vary significantly according to gender.

These are all aspects that employers have to deal with increasingly when they complain about a shortage of skilled workers. And many do not do it.

Where applicants talk bad about employers

The CHRISS study also asked job applicants and employees: What happens if the employer does not live up to expectations.

  • A large part looks around for other jobs when expectations are disappointed or lose their motivation to work.
  • But: 43 percent of employees and 37 employees then even pass on their negative opinion about employers.
  • And where, of course, is bad talking about employers nowadays? On the internet, of course, and thus publicly. For example, 25 percent of applicants will make negative reviews on employer review portals.

But many employers do not want that to be true.

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Employer ratings: Does anyone read that?

At a lecture I on the Future staff in Stuttgart I was seriously asked by a recruiter: "Does anyone actually read such employer reviews".

Of course you can destroy your standing as an employer by simply ignoring bad reviews.

Employer Reviews: How important are you?

A survey carried out by eRecruiting provider softgarden 2016 in cooperation with the Personalmagazin shows that over 50 percent of applicants find such evaluations important or very important. 3.000 interviewed applicants who have applied for a new position through softgarden's eRecruitment system.

There are further studies, for example from the BITKOM, which show that employer reviews are on the rise. They are becoming more important. And to put your head in the sand here would be fatal.

But there are just such reactions that show me: The blind spots on the part of employers are just there. And we have to discuss that when we talk about skills shortages. In this sense, I am looking forward to an exciting discussion.

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  1. Jens Dierking

    Many applicants are very competent in their field of expertise. In the interview then unfortunately too nervous, with wet hands and blockages. They do not manage to sell well. That leaves no good impression in the conversation. So the job remains vacant.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Dierking,
      Thanks for your comment. There is really something to it, but trained staff should not be put off by such a thing.

      Regards

  2. Jens

    Very good contribution here, I actually belong to the ITlern, who believe that HR have no idea of ​​your job!

    • Simone Janson

      Thanks for your contribution. I have no idea I wouldn't say - but there are significant cultural differences!

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