Transitions Coaching Blog

Thoughts. Reflections. Intentions.

It’s Time to Focus on Humans, not Headcount

By Lynne Blizzard, Recruitment & Career Coach  |  November 11, 2021

When it comes to work, the U.S. is facing a crisis.

It’s been referred to as “the great resignation.” It’s traced to a “demographic drought.” It’s predicted to be a “sansdemic.”

No matter the term you use, the root cause you speculate, or the outlook you see for the future, this phenomenon is real.

The post-pandemic labor market looks grim, with a severe shortage of talent to fill open roles. Millions of people have voluntarily left the workforce, and millions of jobs have gone unfilled. The triggers range from boomers approaching retirement to millennials shaping new work ideals to even more systemic challenges like falling fertility rates and declining economies. Combined, these trends have put labor force participation at its lowest levels in nearly 50 years[1], and there doesn’t seem to be an increase on the horizon.

All of this is creating panic among hiring leaders and recruiters alike, inadvertently driving behaviors focused on headcount instead of humans.

Artificial intelligence tools and virtual recruiting practices are on the rise, as organizations turn to technology to try and expand their candidate pool, streamline their processes, and increase their speed to hire. Limited budgets and an overall lack of resources in talent acquisition leave those tasked with hiring with the mindset that they simply need to get “butts in seats.”

Sadly, this is leaving a lot of candidates feeling downtrodden and frustrated with the hiring process. They lament the “black hole” their resumes fall into when they apply to promising roles and never hear back. They talk about how impersonal the process is and how difficult it can be to make a great impression and forge an authentic connection in an automated interview. As talented candidates withdraw from consideration, or worse yet, share the news around the bad experience they’ve had, the problem everyone’s working so hard to solve only becomes worse.

While digital-first recruitment practices have their benefits, there’s substantial risk in reducing the person-to-person interaction that has traditionally led to great hires.

You can’t underestimate the value of a human touch in deciphering skills and experience, gauging fit, and—most importantly—building relationships.

Our direct experience has revealed this reality, and in doing so, has shaped how we view recruitment and talent identification. We believe in filling open roles with humans, not headcount. We believe in finding great talent by making personal connections, listening, and getting to know the wants and needs of BOTH our clients and candidates.

“It only took a few minutes of conversation before I knew that Lynne was different
from other recruiters. After our initial conversation, Lynne and I continued
to communicate, and within days I was not only receiving exceptional support,
but I felt like I had made a lifelong friend.”

Working from this place, we become more than recruiters.

We do more than fill open roles; we become trusted partners. We serve as consultants to our organizational clients and coaches to our candidates because we know people are the key to businesses achieving sustainable success and candidates finding fulfilling careers. At the end of the day, we’ve learned that you simply can’t have one without the other.

If you’re a leader who’s struggling with a shortage of talent, you may want to visit our Transitions Coaching site and read the latest blog for some insights.


1. Source: The Demographic Drought, Emsi, May 4, 2021