In a recent article, “Why Recruiters Should Be Prizing Silver Medalists,” written by Smith Willas, a freelance writer for The HR and Employee Engagement Community, he begins by stating that it’s a jobseeker’s market now. No one can argue with this. But unfortunately, it seems that employers are no longer in control.

Willas makes his point with statistics similar to what I wrote about in my last newsletter article citing the “great resignation” in the U.S. ( Willas points out three challenges that companies are facing:

  • 4 million American workers resigned from their jobs in April of 2021 and another 3.9 million in June,
  • We are facing a talent shortage in the U.S., especially in the skilled workforce, and
  • At the same time, DE&I issues are receiving increasing public attention.

As a result, HR teams are struggling to keep up with the employment demand and balance the complexity of these challenges.

Willas points out that it’s time to draw on a new resource: “the people who almost get the job.” I agree, and I would add to this, and will speak to it later in this paper, the need to look beyond resumes, past trainable skills, towards work attitude and culture fit.

Willas’s point is that silver medalists aren’t just runners up in the hiring process. They’ve survived the journey, but just didn’t beat the gold medalist to the finish line. He talks about all the people who almost got the job. In point, these are applicants whose resumes or applications and possibly interviews stood out in the recruiter’s review. They made the shortlist. In the end, only one of them could be hired, but others met or almost met all of your requirements. So why throw them out completely?

Willas brought to my attention a company that realizes the value of sharing talent across organizations. The company is called Joonko. Joonko began in 2016 to assist women, minorities, and veterans by opening opportunities in the workplace. More specifically, they link companies to their pool of applicants other partner companies have vetted. Joonko’s technology plugs directly into your ATS, giving access to qualified talent from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

In addition to looking for qualified candidates who meet DE&I needs, you must find those who fit your corporate culture. This is where “soft skills,” or what I also refer to as “work attitude,” come in. In fact, by focusing more on work attitude, emphasizing training, or learning on the job, you can significantly expand your applicant pool. I’ve written about this in past newsletters but feel it important to address our approach to this here.

E.A.S.I-Consult® has led the forefront in this effort. For the last 15 years we’ve researched and developed pre-employment assessments (our Work Styles Predictor®), allowing companies to take a close look at the work attitude of candidates. This expands the applicant pool by finding employees who will work hard, follow rules, take initiative, work well with others, and closely follow safety procedures in a relevant setting. Bottom line, these are your culture fits.

Our results have been consistent. Across organizations and industries, we’ve seen significant increases in overall job performance that include reductions in turnover, reductions in absenteeism, increases in the willingness to adapt to work changes, better working relationships with others, and more dependable employees.

Willas talks about the word “qualified” and how this can often be in the eye of the beholder. Each hiring manager has their definition of what counts as “qualified.” Perhaps the hiring manager in one company felt that a candidate is overqualified, but your hiring manager takes a different view and welcomes this candidate. Culture fit or work attitude also varies across organizations, departments, and jobs. One size does not fit all. That’s why we custom design our Work Styles Predictor® assessment tools for each situation/job group and company. Checking up on other companies’ silver medalists could produce the perfect fit for your empty role or roles.

Yes, it’s a jobseeker’s market today. Employers must use every tool available to them to keep up with their workforce needs. Giving your silver medalist candidates another look, partnering with a service such as Joonko that vets a pool of DE&I candidates, and expanding your focus to measure work attitude are the practices that can help your company survive this new world of work.

About the Author

David Smith, PhD, is the founder and CEO of E.A.S.I-Consult®. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government   agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. E.A.S.I-Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring advisement. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about E.A.S.I-Consult, visit, email or call 800.922.EASI.