At a time when nearly every growing business is facing a shortage of qualified workers, the HR function has never been more important.

In the last decade, the country’s unemployment rate has plummeted from approximately 10% to 3.5%. At the same time, the skills gap has grown, and as a result, business leaders’ No. 1 concern is now attracting and retaining talent.

So how do HR leaders continue to attract strong employees out of a shallower pool? The first step is recognizing that the pool is deeper than it looks.

The weaker job markets of the past two decades allowed employers to be much more selective about the individuals they would choose to even interview. They relied on automated tools to quickly sift through the hundreds of resumes that came in for each position, while candidates groused about unrealistic demands like multiple years of experience required for entry-level positions.

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