Fixing the talent shortage

Recently, I read a very interesting piece on whether it was time to look beyond the CV for talent acquisition. With my CV writing business owner head on, I’m not going to lie, this was a theory that was initially quite scary.

With my Recruitment business owner head on, I totally see the benefit.

And in any case, looking into this further, it’s clear we are not ready to emit CVs from the job searching process, they remain an insightful document, a snapshot into someone’s life and career choices but I agree. They should not be used solely to determine someone’s suitability for a role.

Only last year I was sat in a meeting with a potential new client and we talked about their business challenges. One of the main ones, as with everyone now it seems, was staffing and talent acquisition. We explored the possibility looking beyond the boundaries of hospitality for talent and whilst the initial idea appealed to them, the reality when it came down to decision time was that they were not ready to take that risk.

So, what can we do to fix the talent shortage? As I see it, there’s not one thing that will make a difference but a culmination of a few different things coupled with a consistent effort.

  1. Look beyond the CV

This is such a simple idea. As a recruiter, someone who gets involved at the beginning of the process, I can take the lead on this, but I then need back up from the organisation I’m working with to trust me. I’m guilty of it myself, if I’m under pressure from a client to deliver an outcome then you focus on the specifics of what are needed, sometimes for the sake of all others.

  1. More focus on attitude and personality

This leads on naturally from point 1. If we are to look beyond the CV, we need better metrics to measure someone’s attitude and aptitude. Similarly, we need people who can read these metrics for what they are and not just then run the risk of pigeonholing on this basis, instead of pigeonholing on the CV basis. That would equal no progress.

  1. More focused leadership

There’s a couple of points here. Leadership from the organisation to take the possible risk of taking on someone who’s not a paper fit and leadership within the teams to pick up the short-term slack with any transitions for new and fresh candidates.

  1. Less reporting on profit over people

I’ve spoken about this before, I’m a business owner. Profit is important, there’s no business without it. But not for the sake of destroying the confidence and energy of your teams. It only makes the firefighting element to any role even worse. Also, it seems that a lot of media coverage is based around whether companies make a loss or a profit, how about more reporting of other initiatives? Which leads me onto my next point nicely.

  1. Responsible Media

A lot is written about the negatives of this industry (Hours, pay, etc.) but more needs to be written about the good things that happen. They’re happening all the time. This is such an amazing industry. If we are to attract the right kind of people, then we need to shout about all the things that are great about it, loudly and consistently. This message must get out to the wider world, not just within the industry itself and filter all the way down to grass roots, and the parents of grass roots. We need a responsible media to be able to get this message out everywhere. I’m not suggesting stopping reporting the negatives, just more balance needed.

  1. Creativity in where we find talent

Beyond attracting fresh talent into the industry from universities etc, we need to be getting creative on other sources. There’s some great work being done in pockets with groups like prisoners, the armed forces, returning to work mothers and the homeless. But it doesn’t just have to be about particular groups. Look at what roles in your company that could manage with a sector transfer into it, perhaps not even just manage, but flourish.

  1. Better respect of individuality

There’s a saying I saw recently. “Be kind, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. I think is quite simply a humanity point. I believe, in business, if you are doing something just for the money, then your motivation is in the wrong place. The same is true in employment. Most people don’t place money as their main driver for doing their work. Longevity is based around a culture of respect

  1. Continuing Government Lobbying

UKHospitality are already doing superb work in keeping Hospitality on the Government agenda. They propose many fundamental changes that would no doubt help the industry and we should all get behind them.


There’s no one solution to this and there’s also no one person that would be able to do enough on their own. We’ve got to have a collaborative mindset towards the solutions. If enough people take the lead, take the upfront perceived risk, then enough will follow and it will become the norm.

My pledge is that I will immediately look into how my company can improve its candidate assessment beyond the CV we receive from our attraction methods and we’ll get creative where these CVs come from. I’ll also be utilising our blog to shout about all the good things I hear about.

What will you do?

Thank you for reading.