The War for Talent and the Cost of Waiting to Hire the ‘Purple Unicorn’

Categories: News

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, JVS Career Services

A recent article in the Cincinnati Business Courier discussed the current unemployment rate of 3.7% might be great for job seekers, whether their job searches are “passive” or “active.” While some employers have been strategic by reacting to this tight labor market with better pay and benefits to attract and keep employees, others have continued with “business as usual” attitudes and old tactics to fill their open positions.

Hiring managers, many of whom operate as if it’s still 2009, expect to see 200 resumes from active job seekers for every position they post. They also believe they have the luxury to wait for their perfect candidate to show up among the applicants.

How many hiring managers consider or even know that the average cost of turnover (both voluntary and involuntary) is $15,000 per worker (assuming the median U.S. worker’s salary of $45,000)?

Want an even bigger number? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 40 million “quits” in 2018, which was up more than 3 million from 2017. That makes the annual economic impact of the voluntary turnover amount to $600 billion.

The average time to fill vacancies for certain classes of jobs is as high as 94 days, according to a recent Deloitte & Milken Institute and Economic Planning Institute report.

One must ask why employers, usually keen on making wise decisions for other key aspects of their business, contribute to these sorry yet preventable statistics. I can answer that with one simple phrase: The Quest for the “Purple Unicorn.”

Let’s consider some adverse impacts on those businesses that pour resources into the quest for the “purple unicorn”:

  • Potential candidates tend to ignore positions that have remained unfilled for 30+ days. What’s worse, some will resort to “ghosting” employers who do not fill positions fast enough.
  • The negative effect on current employees can be extreme. Who is doing the work while the position remains unfilled? What’s the impact on those who must shoulder extra work? Will they soon be creating additional vacancies?
  • Extended time taken to fill vacancies gives competitors the opportunity to hire the best
  • The stress and strain on a company’s talent acquisition staff, who must struggle to find all the candidates to fill all the vacancies, can lead to serious consequences—none of which are good.

A wiser business decision would be to outsource some critical talent acquisition efforts to a professional recruiter. Employers selecting this option can leverage the advantage of a recruiter’s experience and resources to acquire talent. Recruiters also have inside knowledge and a wide network to work with, which helps them quickly find qualified candidates—both passive and active ones.

Recruiters can work full time to fill an employer’s open position, which provides an employer’s overworked human resources staff with the time they need to become more fully engaged business partners. Plus, they are often successful in reducing that critical time-to-fill metric.

As a nonprofit, JVS Career Services can offer recruiting services at surprisingly affordable rates while providing an excellent quality of service.