All the best people are already working!

Really?!! Does this statement hold true?

I read a statement the other day in support of poaching employees from competitors and it stated uncategorically that:

“Since all the best people who want to work are already working, where then will you find the quality people you need to excel?” 

Those seemingly innocuous words got me thinking.

We know recruitment is fraught – discrimination of varying sorts abounds – age – young and old (both ends of the spectrum), gender, ethnicity.  Not to mention people who are seeking that elusive flexible role to fulfil family responsibilities.

In Australia our unemployment rate has hit its highest level for 12 years, with Victoria currently at 7%.   We know many people are underemployed and there has been casualisation of the workforce. 

Whole industries and regions have been impacted.  In recent times we’ve seen the demise of  many companies in Australia and whole regions adversely impacted including Elizabeth in SA and Geelong in Victoria. 

So many people have lost their jobs.   Is it really true to say that all the best people who want to work are in work?  And importantly, if you're a recruiter who holds that viewpoint what might you be missing?  Is there talent you've unwittingly missed because you've held that view?  

So what can you do?

  • Adopt an open mind when recruiting.
  • Consider the current economic landscape when you hear that someone is actively looking but not currently working.
  • Ensure that unconscious bias is not a feature of your recruitment process.
  • Ensure that applicants who may otherwise be suitable, are not overlooked (through automation or manually), just because they are not currently working.
  • Consider someone's overall experience when considering whether they are suitable for the role.

What's been your experience as an applicant or recruiter? 

I’d love to hear your views.


Elisé Burch

HR with a dash of Legal

Taking the sting out of employment headaches.