Skills Mismatch Costs for Recruiters, Employers and Employees

Go for the best match between candidate skills and employers’ requirements

As a recruiter, you are in the privileged position of being the match-maker.

Steering your client towards making the correct decision will result in making an offer to the most suitable candidate for a position that fits their abilities.

The advantages of this perfect match are:

1. Reduced staff turnover

2. Positive staff morale and job satisfaction

3. Reduced recruitment & induction costs

4. A higher level of output from employees

A Harvard Business Review estimates that up to 80% of staff turnover can be blamed on poor hiring decisions.

The cost to business is more expensive recruitment and on-boarding costs, a dissatisfied workforce with poor morale and inefficiencies caused by high employee churn.

A survey by Robert Half Finance and Accounting

reported that 36% of the 1,400 executive respondents said the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, is a poor skills match. The second highest reason with 30% was unclear performance objectives.

“Companies can’t afford hiring mistakes, which are costly and can erode staff morale,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.

“Finding the right match requires time and attention, and it’s something even busy managers need to make time for,” Max Messmer said.

In the UK Employer Skills Survey 2015 the vast majority of employers (86%) reported their business had a fully proficient workforce while only 14% reported skills gaps. Staff with skills gaps equates to 5% of the UK workforce or 1.4 million staff.

But do employers even know who is happy and working to their potential?

Perhaps it’s a case that employers are in denial that they have made bad hiring decisions or they simply aren’t aware which employees are capable of providing more and which are struggling in their role?

Employers know that the cost to fix skills gaps doesn’t come cheap. So to admit there is a problem, could cost thousands in training.

But it’s not just under-skilled staff that is a problem, over-skilled staff are too.

Thirty per cent of employers surveyed reported they had at least one employee with skills or qualifications above those required for their current role.

However, respondents didn’t believe they were to blame for under-utilising staff. They reported that their staff aren’t interested in taking on a higher level role (26%) or their current working hours suited them better (15%). A further 11% of employers said there was a lack of jobs in the desired higher level role and 10% said their employees were gaining experience for a higher level role.

The report said that under-utilisation was a potential missed opportunity for these employers to increase productivity and performance.

Across the UK 2 million workers are under-utilised which has a detrimental impact on the economy as it can lead to skills loss and a waste of the resources that were used to acquire these skills.

Less Haste More Attention to Detail

As recruiters we like to think that skills mismatch is more likely to occur when an existing employee is moved into a role and not a bad decision in hiring a new recruit.

But it happens.

Often the rush to fill a position means there is not enough time given to advertising the position to gain the most number of applications.

A client may require a new recruit to start quickly or they are keen to secure a candidate before they are snapped up so a step in the usual recruitment process is condensed and candidates aren’t properly quizzed on their past experience and ability to do the role.

Good recruiters will remind the client that it’s important to check all aspects of candidates’ backgrounds. One positive attribute may not make for a well-rounded employee who is able to do the job properly. Everyone involved in the recruitment process should be mindful of all the skills required for the role.

Steps to Take for an Ideal Match

Here are a few steps you can take to help your clients make the best match between candidate skills and their requirements.

  • Ensure your client has carefully considered and ranked the skills, experience and qualifications they would like their new recruit to have
  • Make a note of the essential and desirable skills and refer to them regularly during discussions with your client.
  • Explain to your client the impact of a mismatched recruiting decision can have
  • Check on all candidates’ skill level at the interview stage
  • Consider playing a game or run a competition that tests candidates’ skill level – writing, coding, problem solving are just a few skills that can be tested
  • Qualify candidate skills claims at the reference check stage
  • Ask your client the reasons why the last few employees haven’t worked out

As an experienced match-maker you can ensure your client achieves the best recruitment outcome by keeping them focussed on skills matching. The ability to offer the most suitable candidate a position that fits their abilities takes time, their knowledge of the role and your recruitment experience and knowledge.

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