Can’t Find Good People? Look in the Mirror

09/18/2017 12:23 am ET

Bosses complain about not being able to find good people to work for them. Positions remain open and dormant for months. Bosses are constantly overworked because they can’t find anyone to work with them. However, if you can’t find anyone to do the job, the first place to look is in the mirror. You may be turning off potential candidates and current members of your team with your attitude and your actions without realizing it. Here are five questions to ask yourself as you look in your leadership mirror. Are you:

1) Getting "stuck" by sticking to a script?

Networking maven Susan RoAne shared a story of someone who had an amazing work record, high likability, proven skills and experience, but lacked the required BA or BS degree for the job. This boss looked beyond the script, went to bat for her and now has the ideal employee. Susan adds, “The best employees may not have the ‘right’ required degree or pedigree but may have skill, experience, commitment and desire to do the job. The wise boss sees the value of credentials and street cred in potential employees.” Unrealistic job descriptions also make it easy for employers to hide and make excuses as to why they can’t find good people.

2) Badmouthing current employees?

It’s been said that potential candidates shouldn’t badmouth previous bosses and managers. However, it also works the other way around. Career Expert Mark Anthony Dyson adds, “Just as it is bad for employees to badmouth bosses, the same rule applies to bosses. People find out if you badmouth them and often it inserts an irremovable wedge between you and all employees.” It’s a major red flag for potential employees if they decide to join your team and a major reason why many don’t.

3) Expecting too much for too little?

We hear about the supposed “skills gap” but many employers can’t find the right people because they are unrealistic about what to expect from candidates, especially recent graduates. Arturo Gallo, content manager at Monster Canada says, “It’s one of those big myths surrounding this generation of recent grads and Millennials. It’s not the fact that they don’t want to work, it’s the fact that they don’t feel attracted to the job descriptions.” This statement is true for candidates of all ages and experiences. This is why positions remain open for months. Placing unrealistic demands in job descriptions makes it tough to attract the right candidates and hard to keep them when hired.

4) Communicating effectively?

According to a Glassdoor survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, 61% of employees say they’ve found aspects of a new job different from expectations set during the interview process. This immediately sets a bad precedent. If you come aboard your boss should be clear on his/her expectations about your work and your decision-making capabilities. If not, work may become a living hell. Employees also want feedback on their work. Your employees should not be mind readers. If you don’t let them know how they’re doing and where they stand, they may look for someone who will.

5) Not providing compliments?

Yes, you get paid to do a job and you’re supposed to do it well. Still, you’d like to hear a compliment once in a while. Dr. Travis Bradberry, coauthor of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, writes, “This doesn’t mean that managers need to praise people for showing up on time or working an eight-hour day — these things are the price of entry — but a boss who does not give praise to dedicated employees erodes their commitment to the job.” A lack of appreciation lowers morale and makes it harder to push through in tough times.

If you’re having trouble finding good people you’re probably guilty of at least one of these things. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2017, there was a record 6.2 million job openings reported. This means companies are having problems finding and keeping good people. Sometimes, the problem is a lack of qualified people. Sometimes, the problem is a faulty education system. Sometimes, employers are the problem. Either way, it is a challenge. Yet, while the job market is tight, candidates have options. Finding a good job is a major decision that requires due diligence. If the warning signs are there, your potential candidate may look elsewhere because things won’t get better when hired. Remember, if you can’t find good people, it’s not always them. Sometimes, it’s the (wo)man in the mirror.

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