By Andrew McLeod, CEO, Certn

The worker shortage has hit the UK hard, with employment vacancies soaring in recent months. And at least one report predicts the shortage could rise to a dearth of 2.6 million workers by 2030, driven by the pandemic, an aging population and Brexit. Healthcare, hospitality, education and transport have been among the hardest hit. It’s an irony that even though hotels struggled particularly hard over the last two years, now that travel is rebounding, they are having a hard time staffing up. Even though there are more open positions that ever, hiring seems to have stalled.   

Though there is a complex confluence of reasons for this conundrum, the fact that it exists highlights the need for increased trust between employers and prospective hires. The hiring process itself has a key role to play — and organizations need to rethink their approach.

The importance of trust

It’s often said that trust is a two-way street, and as it relates to candidates and employers, what we’re really talking about is an alignment of values. It’s more difficult than ever to find employees at all – let alone great ones. Making a bad hiring decision is time consuming and expensive from the employer’s perspective, but it’s also frustrating for new employees who discover a job isn’t a good fit. 

It’s important to recognize that both parties can suffer as the result of a bad match. In most cases, we think about hiring from the employer’s perspective – they need assurance in the hiring process that a potential employee will be a good match. However, you also need to examine the inverse experience — what a candidate thinks during the hiring process about how they’re treated and what they undergo.

Reputation is easily lost

In today’s digital environment, even one unsatisfactory interaction during the job hunt can have a magnified impact on the company’s reputation. People are paying increasingly more attention to how companies build trust. They’re looking more closely into how employees are treated and what processes are in place. Bad news travels fast, especially in today’s social media landscape. As an employer, you really don’t want someone getting on their soapbox and broadcasting negative things about your business – and you don’t want to give them a reason to. 

Both sides contribute to trust

Branding doesn’t stop with your logo. It’s about your company’s overall reputation, and that includes how it’s perceived by those who work for you. And that means branding needs to extend into the hiring process and building trust needs to be a foremost consideration. However, many companies overlook or are simply ignorant of this need. For example, although background checks or screening are important — especially for industries such as banking and healthcare — they don’t need to be bad or stressful experiences for the candidates. 

Today’s technology enables automation of the screening process, which yields faster results with less effort on the candidate’s and employer’s part – sometimes in real time. And solutions with an intuitive user interface make it easy to enter the necessary details. Going this extra mile of designing a positive experience lays a foundation of trust for candidates as they see that employers understand their time and effort are valuable, too. 

Though many employers are having a hard time filling their job roles, it’s also the case that despite the many openings, job seekers are having a hard time landing jobs. Employers need to be thinking about what they can do to improve the hiring process from beginning to end — especially in terms of communication and respecting people’s time — as well as what their role is in making candidates want to work for them. They can’t just go in with an assumption that a candidate would be lucky to get hired by them. That kind of mentality isn’t going to work in today’s economy and social climate. 

In a similar vein, candidates also have a responsibility here. They can help shape the two-way street of trust by spending more time researching and looking into the companies they want to work for in terms of their policies and actions. They can consider things like how these companies are thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and what kinds of services and structures do they have in place to support their employees.

The past couple of years have forced many employers to rethink their assumptions regarding work/life balance and the things that matter in a job beyond just compensation. It’s incumbent upon jobseekers to do their own legwork to determine values alignment before applying.

The key to building trust

It’s harder than ever to find the right job or the right employee. Multiple factors have led to the Great Resignation– burnout, lack of flexibility and feeling unappreciated are three of them. All can result when company leaders aren’t deeply tuned into their workers’ daily struggles. It’s difficult to feel seen if the employer doesn’t know or understand what’s happening on the ground, and that can quickly erode trust. 

For trust to truly be a two-way street, both candidates and prospective employers must accept their own responsibilities and consider each other’s viewpoints. Job seekers can help by doing more research into the companies where they apply with an eye toward company values. And employers can build an ethos of trust that begins with a background check process that’s easy and quick for candidates. Everyone benefits when trust is a two-way street.

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