Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
Is the War for Talent Real?

The Recruiting Reel Episode 11: Is the War for Talent Real?

Josh Tolan: My name is Josh Tolan and I’m the CEO of Spark Hire, the leading video interviewing platform used by thousands of organizations around the world.

And this is The Recruiting Reel, a video series where we discuss real recruiting challenges with prominent recruiting experts to provide you with actionable tips you can apply to your own recruiting.

And today, we’re lucky enough to have Todd Raphael on the show. Todd is Editor in Chief at ERE Media which runs some of the most popular industry communities such as, TLNT, SourceCon, and The Fordyce Letter.

Known around the world as one of the top HR and recruiting thought leaders, Todd brings a wealth of knowledge to The Recruiting Reel and we’re excited to have him answer the question…

“Is the war for talent real?”

Todd Raphael: This is Todd Raphael with ERE Media. is our domain name. And when it comes for the war for talent, I get that there is one. I get that there are occasions when you have people in a finite pool of potential employees; they have to have clearances, they have to have a certain certification (IT certification), they have to know how to drive a truck or fly a plane.

So there are finite pools of people at any given moment without training, but I feel like from my observations talking to thousands upon thousands of recruiters, managers, and employers over the last few years that the war for talent is actually overstated or overhyped in some cases.

Why? Because so many people don’t even feel like they’re even eligible to work for so many companies – and they’re not!

I know a lot of people who work very hard, very long hours, and very well (from my observations.) But, they really can’t go to a real traditional corporate job and are self-employed or are in some other circumstance where they have a lot of flexibility.

Why? They are mothers who have to drop off their kids or they have aging parents. Or maybe they don’t have kids or aging parents, but maybe they just don’t want to commute. Maybe they just don’t want to spend their time going to corporate sales retreats, corporate outings, or happy hours after work. Or whatever it might be.

A lot of people I know simply don’t feel like they fit into what corporate policies expect of them and they probably don’t.

Unfortunately, and sadly, the result is a larger war for talent than there really needs to be.

Josh Tolan: Todd brings up an incredibly thought-provoking challenge that every organization amplifying their corporate culture will face.

Highly qualified candidates are disqualifying themselves from positions they’re qualified for on the basis of something in the employer’s messaging that makes them feel like they won’t fit in or be a successful and happy employee at that organization even though they have the skills.

So…what can you do about this? How do you ensure you’re not driving away talent before they even apply?

Here are 2 steps you should consider immediately:

  1. Don’t let one individual or team come up with the messaging for your employer brand. Involve multiple people from multiple teams and you’ll end up with a broader perspective on the culture and personalities within your organization and what employees like about working there.
  2. Take this crowdsourced message to market and test it! Measure the results and see how it impacts the candidates you’re attracting.

Over time, you’ll gather feedback from employees and candidates to improve your messaging and hopefully, attract the highly qualified candidates who may not have applied in the past.

A big thank you to Todd Raphael for coming on the show today. Everyone should check out to see the amazing community that Todd has helped develop and while you’re there, take a look into some of the events and conferences that Todd and the ERE team organize.

Lastly, follow Todd on Twitter @ToddRaphael and connect with him on LinkedIn using the URL below.

Thank you for watching The Recruiting Reel and stay tuned for more episodes. For additional HR and recruiting content, head over to and subscribe. Also, follow us on Twitter, @sparkhire. And subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first to know about the newest episodes of The Recruiting Reel.

Thanks again for watching and happy recruiting!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.