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An Open Challenge to Recruiters, Employers and Job Seekers: Let's See How Really Serious You Are About Putting America Back to Work

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We've all seen it -- over and over again. The continual whine from employers who cannot find the skilled labor to fill their thousands of open jobs; The panels, discussion and forums (this Publication included), chaired by well known personalities and assisted by educators, politicians and business leaders claiming the employers needs do not coincide with the training and education that is being provided; The human resources professionals who object on a daily basis of incomplete and changing requirements for the exact same position; The constant complaining by the unemployed and under-employed protesting of unknowledgeable hiring authorities reviewing their skill sets for open positions they feel certain they are qualified to fill. This is what we see and hear on a daily basis. So how can we fix it? I have an idea.

I am openly challenging -- as of this moment -- every employment recruiter and every recruitment agency to dedicate ten percent of their time and ten percent of their search time on those "hard to fill" positions employers state they cannot find the people to fit the jobs. And I challenge them to do this -- for free. Yep, completely free (with a "catch" I'll detail later) at no cost to the employer or job seeker.

I am also challenging every single employer with a position or positions that have been open for more than three months, to provide that req to a dedicated in-house or outsourced recruiter that has accepted the challenge. Give those recruiters the exact job requirements, reasons why they are required and especially, why those reasons and qualifications are important to the success of job.

The most difficult challenge of all is for the job seeker. Stop applying for jobs in which you clearly do not possess the qualifications and skills required and accept that although you could be trained over a lengthy period of time to perform the tasks described, employers have no interest to invest in long term training. Employers want trained, experienced and industry educated employees from day one to "hit the ground running".

Or do they?

Let's put this concept to the test and this is how to do it.

Employer: If you have a hard to find job, create a requisition with the exact job requirements, reasons why they are required and why those reasons and qualifications are important to the job as I have described. What will you get out of it? Well, the most obvious is an opportunity to fill your opportunity and you'll learn if your hiring process is working as it should. But most importantly, you'll be a part of a real effort that affects the lives of many for the betterment of your company and our society.

Recruiter: Think you know how to recruit? Here's your chance to prove it. Contact your best clients or open the door to a new one with this offer: Tell them you are prepared to fill an order -- for free. Actually, almost free. Your efforts for a real search should be compensated. If the employer is game, they'll be up to the challenge because they realize they have much to benefit from your effort. You benefit as well because you've proved you know what it takes. However, your offer should include one caveat -- you find what they want and if they still don't hire? You get paid for it anyway. If the employer responds with a soft excuse such as "not a cultural fit", you still win. Good organizations stand on good reputations. You'll know where this one stands in any future dealings.

Job seeker: This is your chance to show yourself to the world and especially to those seeking your skill set or at least, really close to it. See a job posting you know you can do with requirements for your background? Take the time to make sure your résumé and cover letter says so. Don't ask the recruiter or hiring manager to decipher your code or to conclude what you insinuate. Be precise, be determined and especially, be respectful. Don't apply for a job you cannot possibly fulfill. We've all done that, yours truly included. In the same regard, jobs sometimes have hidden agendas and unwritten desires. No matter how exemplary is your experience, you will not be hired. Expect that.

America really does need to get back to work. Uncertainty has hit every corner of our country and affected every level of our population. As a society, our economy suffers every day that goes by and an open job goes unfilled. As an industrialized nation, we leave ourselves open to competition in a global market that becomes more competitive each day. And as a people whose foundation was built on freedom and caring for the good of all, can we really expect to progress, if that progress is open only to the few and not open to the many.

Accept the challenge. You have nothing to gain except -- everything.