Employers lower criteria to find much-needed talent

Which requirements are considered less important in tight labour market?

Employers lower criteria to find much-needed talent

Amid the ongoing labour shortage, employers are softening their hiring criteria to get the workers they need.

Half (50 per cent) of employers say they have overlooked a candidate’s lack of soft skills while 45 per cent have overlooked a candidate’s years of experience, finds a survey by Express Employment Professionals.

Nearly two in five (37 per cent) hired workers who lack the required hard skills, while 26 per cent have disregarded a candidate’s ability to pass a background check and 20 per cent have overlooked the absence of educational degrees.

“We are seeing companies in a broad range of industry segments — including administrative, accounting, financial and even skilled trades — making adjustments to their requirements,” says Shane DeCoste, Express franchise owner in Halifax. “The focus is shifting to candidates who have an aptitude to learn skills.”

Companies employing more than 100 people (41 per cent) are far more likely to have scrapped hiring requirements compared with those who employ between 10 and 99 workers (26 per cent) and those that have fewer than 10 workers (12 per cent).The focus is shifting to candidates who have an aptitude to learn skills

‘Train for skill’

“Whenever possible, hire for attitude and train for skill,” says Hanif Hemani, an Express franchise owner in Saskatoon, Sask., especially if employers are going to overlook a candidate’s years of experience. But employers also need to do more, he adds.

“Yes, we are seeing more businesses offer training to get either current employees or new employees the skills required for open positions,” he said. “But it’s not just training – companies are looking at every possible area to identify competitive advantages and ways to attract and retain talent.”

With governments easing COVID-19 safety restrictions, Canadian employers are anticipating a prosperous hiring climate for the second quarter of this year, according to a recent report. And two-thirds (66 per cent) plan to hire extensively over the next 12 months, finds another.

Despite this trend, over half (51 per cent) of Canadian employers believe the tight labour market will end before next year, found Express’s survey of 510 Canadian hiring decision-makers conducted between Nov. 10 and Dec. 2, 2021.

Not a good idea?

Lowering standards just to be able to hire people is not a good idea, says Omer Molad, cofounder and CEO at Vervoe, an AI-powered skill-testing platform.

“Desperate for staff, some employers are softening their hiring criteria to make up the numbers they need to continue operating their businesses. But I don’t believe there are any market conditions under which employers should compromise their talent standards,” he says.

“You may think I’m naïve or out of touch. I get it. You need staff right now. But the decision to lower your standards will come back to bite you.”

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