The Competition for Talent

By Michael Klazema on 5/1/2019
The United States unemployment rate, as for March 2019, was tracking at 3.8 percent. For comparison’s sake, the unemployment rate at the peak of the recent “Great Recession” was 10.0 percent, in March 2009. While some experts are forecasting another economic downturn for the not-so-distant future, we are, for now at least, experiencing a booming economy and job market. The situation has created a scarcity of talent in many industries, driving organizations to consider new and innovative strategies to attract candidates to fill jobs. If your business is among those facing a challenge to source top-quality talent right now, it’s vital not to forget the importance of a crucial hiring step: talent background checks.

The current economic situation has created a wealth of opportunities for professionals, who are enjoying a job seeker’s market. There are currently high-demand positions or job types in virtually every field. Healthcare, in particular, is desperate for talent, with Registered Nurses, personal care aides, and home health aides all among the job market’s most in-demand workers. However, shortages also exist in technology (software developers are heavily in-demand), across the skilled trades (including truck drivers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and more), and beyond.

Because there are such shortages of talent in these and other job sectors, some employers might feel inclined to hire the people they can find, no questions asked. There is a line of thinking at the moment along the lines of “If we don’t hire this person quickly, someone else will.” While this competitive atmosphere is no illusion—employers really are racing to make the best job offers to top candidates—it shouldn’t be used as a reason to skip due diligence.

On the contrary, talent background checks need to remain a part of the hiring process—even for highly in-demand professionals. Consider heathcare. Nurses, personal care aides, and home health aides have positions of high responsibility and importance. Their actions directly impact the safety and wellbeing of their patients. These professionals also regularly have access to patient files, sensitive information, medications, and more. Thorough background checks—including criminal history searches, alias checks, drug testing, credit history checks, and verifications for education, employment history, and professional licensing—are an important means of protecting patients. Background checks can also shield the employer from negligent hiring claims and other forms of liability.

Talent background checks can also improve the chances of an employer getting the full “return-on-investment” of hiring a new employee. While there is no agreed-upon statistic for how much it costs to recruit, hire, and onboard a new employee, there is at least a consensus about it being an expensive proposition. Forbes, for instance, says the minimum cost of bringing in a new hire is six months of the position’s wage. For higher-level positions, the cost of a new appointment can be up to two years of the salary. These costs are made up of various expenses, including recruiting costs, lost productivity, training for the new employee, and payouts of obligations such as extra vacation time or sick leave for outgoing employees. By helping businesses avoid bad hires, talent background checks can help make sure that these expenses are at least going toward onboarding valuable, long-term employees.

At, we can help you put together a talent background check strategy that makes sense for your organization and the position or positions. Contact us today for help tailoring a solution to suit your business.
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