by Stephen Van Vreede

In today’s job search market generally, and especially in the technical arena, there is a lot broken when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. In a recent post I published on LinkedIn in regard to recruiters, from some of the comments, it was evident just how frustrated most professionals have become with this broken system.

Yet HR and recruiting gurus will generally tell you that things are getting better.

Nevertheless, in working in the actual trenches with technical professionals, not just in designing their resume and personal brand messaging but in offering concierge job search solutions as well, I can tell you without a doubt things are NOT getting better.

Wishing it were so does not make it true.

What HR and other hiring “experts” really mean when they say it’s better is that they have developed hiring into a more theoretical domain now. They’ve analyzed it. They’ve philosophized over it. They know what it should be. They’re all about people and talent and…

Theory, theory, theory

In other words, there’s a better sense of what hiring should be.

The question is, though, “how do we get there?”

The main problem, as I see it, stems from an effort to try and appease too many goals: hire great talent yet make it as automated as possible and as inexpensive as possible while creating as many layers and barriers as possible between the potential candidates and the hiring managers. In other words, while making hiring as formulaic as possible (I call it “assembly line” hiring), somehow they are also supposed to show that they “care” about choosing the best talent and treating candidates with proper respect.

People hire people, right?

I hear a lot about the “humanizing” of companies, the attempt to appear more empathetic and concerned with the well-being of candidates and employees. (I saw an HR specialist the other day even advocate for more”hugging” at the office [certainly not something I have ever heard my tech members complain about: “I just wish more people would hug me at the office!” Ah no, I’ve yet to hear that one].)

There are conferences and conventions and Google+ hangouts and Twitter chats all on the subject of how to show you “care”…all while instituting practices that are demoralizing.

But what’s a company to do? When it posts an opening, it gets hundreds of responses, and it must sift through them somehow, right? So why not automate things? Why not protect its hiring managers and their time?

The problem is that you have to prioritize. What is your main goal, and how is that best accomplished? You can’t say one thing and then do another.

But that’s exactly what the job market is like right now and most likely will be for a while because the word and the deed don’t match.

You want the best talent? Well, you have a funny way of showing it.

My advice to corporate professionals is simple: If you’re going to stay in that environment, then become what I call a “corporate entrepreneur.”

Don’t just add more credentials and stack up experience and think it will speak for itself. Learn how to apply basic business development techniques to your career management strategy (yes, you need a strategy!). Learn how to watch and read the market. Understand that your career is not just one job hop to another job hop with however many years in between, hoping your salary and level of responsibility increase with it.

In today’s market, there has to be more mindfulness of what’s really going on around you even when you’re quite happy where you currently are.

Good intentions don’t mean much.

I’m afraid at the moment there isn’t a whole lot we can do about the current state of hiring practices. It is what it is … full of good intentions littered with chaos and confusion.

But we can take a different look at the corporate environment and apply some entrepreneurial concepts to build in protections amidst all the chaos (or “corporate goo” as I like to call it). Doing so will help to realign the balance of power into more of a partnership arrangement than a master-slave one.