Top 5 Most Underrated Sources for Talented Employees

Last Updated Jun 14, 2011 9:00 AM EDT

Since the U.S. unemployment rate in 2012 is expected to be slightly under 9%, finding great talent should be relatively easy. But it's not. Many businesses work hard to hire the best employees but often fall short.

If you're struggling to find great talent a lack of effort may not be the problem; making broad assumptions or accepting common stereotypes might be to blame.

Look past the stereotypes, past conventional wisdom, incorrect assumptions. When you know where to look, great employees are waiting for you.

See if stereotypical thinking in the following broad classifications has negatively impacted your approach to hiring great talent.

Where should we start? Single moms.

Single Mothers
The stereotype: Undependable, unreliable, minimal commitment to job, often distracted by personal issues.
I once heard a CEO of a Fortune 500 company say to his Director of Human Resources, "You need to make sure we stop hiring single mothers. They come in late, leave early, won't work overtime, and spend all day dealing with their kids' problems instead of focusing on work."

Single parents do face greater work-related challenges than married couples, if only because they don't have someone to share responsibilities for child care, day care, transportation, doctor visits, staying home with sick kids, etc.

Every single parent -- whether single mom, single dad, or just a parent in general -- struggles to balance work and family. All of us do. While occasionally a single mom will be unreliable or undependable, married moms, married dads, single employees -- unreliable problem employees come in every marital status.

The reality:

  • Single moms shoulder a level of responsibility not found in dual-parent families. They understand commitment; they live it every day.
  • Outstanding problem solvers. (You try balancing work and kids and day care and school and, well, everything.)
  • Great at prioritizing and multitasking. Single moms are incredibly efficient; they have no choice.
Need an employee who keep keep multiple balls in the air, who truly understands the meaning of responsibility and accountability, and who will walk over hot coals for you if you return the same level of loyalty they will give? Hire a single mom.

>> CLICK to check out the next hiring stereotype: Veterans
Photo courtesy flickr user daveparker, CC 2.0

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    Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business from managing a 250-employee book manufacturing plant. Everything else he picked up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest CEOs and leaders in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Haden.