Suitors And Sifters

The job market follows the same laws of supply and demand: sometimes you have exceptional candidates banging your door down, and other times you’re hiring Grade B beef because it is all you can find.

Visionary leaders develop two strategies, one for each extreme of the job market spectrum: job-rich/candidate poor and job poor/candidate rich. With a plan in place for both contingencies, managers can stop worrying about the economy and start hiring by design. This isn’t a new idea—it is just common sense. If you think back more than half a century, there was a forward-looking group of hiring managers who did something similar – the US government – hiring for the Second World War effort.

Consider this recruitment challenge: you just filled two million positions with hard-to-find (no—impossible to find) talent. You’re feeling pretty good. Now you find out you need to fill two million more in half the time. And the candidates not only aren’t looking for new jobs, they’ve never had jobs. And, if you don’t fill them, the entire U.S. economy could shut down.

Where am I? I’m talking about February 1943, when the United States had 13 million women employed and needed to hire two million more within 12 months in order to keep the country and its industry functioning.

Rosie the Riveter was created for what became the most successful advertising recruitment campaign in American history. She helped to hire more than two million women, almost all of whom had never worked outside their own home. Rosie was on posters, postage stamps, and even had her own song. There were 125 million ads placed with her image: Womanpower ads, most of which were full pages, were among the pages of almost all major magazines of the day. Motion pictures, newspapers, radio, trade press, employee publications, and in-store displays all tied into the universal rallying cry.

With Rosie the Riveter, these hiring managers defied the odds—and convention—to become the ultimate suitors.   While you and I will never have to hire in these kinds of mass quantities, we will have challenges relating to the labor market – suitor or sifter – depending upon the moment.  We should remember the creativity of that long-ago effort and be ready with our own unique stand-out campaign to attract the best talent in our time of need.


Kim Shepherd
Kim Shepherd
AS CEO of Decision Toolbox, Kim Shepherd leads the company’s growth strategy, primarily through developing partnerships, alliances and as an active member of the Los Angeles and Orange County human resources community. A recognized thought leader by HR organizations nationwide including the Human Capital Institute, Kim is a regular speaker at national and regional events on various business models. Kim joined Decision Toolbox in 2000, and brought her unconventional approach to the company she had admired as a client. Today Decision Toolbox is 100% virtual, with more than 100 team members working remotely across the U.S. This company is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. This unique business model has played a key role in the company being awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Decision Toolbox was also named one of the "Fastest Growing Private Companies" by the Orange County Business Journal in 2012. In addition, they have been named 3 years running to the INC 500/5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies and have been a 7-time recipient of the HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen for Midmarket and Emerging Markets. Calling Kim unconventional is an understatement – her former endeavors include 10 years as a TV and Foreign Correspondent, a stint at Club Med and a near miss at a spot on the Olympic ski team. Kim is an active member of the Adaptive Business Leaders Executive Roundtable and the National Association for Women Business Owners (Orange County Chapter). She served on the Executive Board of Trustees for Girls Incorporated of Orange County and is also the Board Chair for Working Wardrobes. She is also a former member of Impact Giving. Kim is the recipient of the National Association of Women Business Owners (Orange County Chapter) 2013 Innovator of the Year Award, the 2014 Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year, and the 2015 Family Matters Award from WomanSage.

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