War For Talent & Zero Unemployment

Zero Unemployment as a platform and tool

What is Zero Unemployment?

I don’t get it.

Zero Unemployment is a numerical and mathematical improbability.  It just can’t happen.  A quick Google search finds economists and college case studies and papers.  And yet you may find yourself on the Zero Unemployment Facebook Page or visiting the @zeroue or the #zeroue Twitter stream.

Zero Unemployment is a movement to generate a conversation started by my friend, Jerome Ternynck, Founder and CEO of Smart Recruiters.  I was introduced to Jerome earlier this year.  He’s smart, funny, and someone who has big, big goals and ideas to change the world.  As someone who works in the HR/Recruiting Industry I was intrigued and #zeroue was born.

Zero Unemployment is a conversation about the hiring process and practices of companies.  Why is it so hard to find good talent when April unemployment sits at 9%?  What are the fundamental flaws with recruiting as a process?  And what can we do to change it?

Zero Unemployment is right up my ally.  This site (Blogging4Jobs) was initially created as a tool to make my hiring process easier as a corporate recruiter and human resource professional.  I believed that by providing tips and tricks to the job seeker about why they didn’t get the job, I would make my hiring process easier.  Candidates would come to me instead of me coming to them.  And they did.  Between 2007-2009 30% of my candidates came from social media where I built relationships and had direct contact with my talent pools and communities.  My candidates from social media had longer tenure and performed better.  Even before I teamed up with Jerome earlier this year, I was an advocate for Zero Unemployment.

The idea of Zero Unemployment isn’t just a conversation for Recruiting or even HR.  It’s a discussion, a debate, and a dialogue that should come from the lips of every US CEO and leadership team.  Why and how is there a war for talent when job seekers are in large supply?

Basic economics tells us that about the laws of supply and demand.  As demand increases supply decreases.  Except this doesn’t hold true for our current hiring practices and country’s job growth patterns.  Zero Unemployment is a platform and tool to generate discussion in the corporate board rooms and water coolers of America.

If you could change one thing about the hiring process for the better, what would you do?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. katherine crowley says

    I would make information interviews available on a regular basis so that job seekers could at least glean information about different companies and the opportunities therein.

  2. Pam B says

    I’ve been taking a class on futuring — and we have a talent war because the 9% unemployment is not comprised of all hi-po employees. We’re not producing talent in our educational system that is able to handle some of the most rudimentary skills of the workplace. Plus, I see discrimination for the jobless, particularly for the older employees, almost to the point of being blatant. Older employees offer a wealth of information, and many plan to work much past normal retirement age. Recruiters need to look past just places where younger employee congregate, but also where older, more seasoned workers are found! Some of our best hires have been those who are 50+. Just my two cents… thanks!

  3. Mike Rodriguez says

    War for talent? ROFL. The education system is meant to prepare you to fast track your training in an entry-level position; you know, when employers used to do that common sense thing that we call “OJT”. Employers are no longer willing to take this risk, for the most part. Employers should take a cue from the military (which I served 4 years in myself) and recruit people that show potential to learn, not already know everything out of the box. This is why you cannot find “qualified” people. People don’t start out knowing everything, and to expect them to is absurd. Don’t blame the education system Pam B. Blame yourself, for in business you aren’t supposed to make excuses, you make results.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says


      Unless companies are going to lock their top employees into a contract type situation for a period of year which is what the military does, this war is going to continue. There is no loyalty. Companies don’t invest in their employees which is why so many employees are jumping ship. I might add that there is an increasing number of employees in the military who go AWOL. Thank you for serving as I also served as a military spouse for 4 years. While the military took care of their soliders by providing them training, they did a relatively shitty job in my opinion preparing their soldiers for the world beyond the military.

      Thank you for commenting!


      • Pam B. says

        Mike and Jessica, thanks for your comments. I do thank both of you for your (or spouse’s) service to our country.

        I want to respond to Mike’s comments. It seems that the response was fueled by a considerable amount of anger, and if you have been unemployed or underemployed for a while, I can certainly understand why my post triggered your response. However, a little perspective might help. I am an HR professional during the day, and a college educator at night. On the weekends I am studying for my doctorate in education. Therefore, I think you can see that I am not “blaming” education, rather just stating a fact based on observable behavior. I grade undergraduate work weekly, and I have to admit sometimes I scratch my head wondering how the students are going to survive in the workplace without having the basics of putting together a cogent paper. To that end, I spend a lot of my class time using a case study approach in order to help students to understand the realities of the work world as well as coaching on grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

        That being said, rather than lip service, many of us in HR are trying to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Yes, education does provide a foundation; but I have found the most successful graduates come from schools who partner with local universities to find out what exactly business needs (did I also mention I am on a business curriculum advisory board for a local college?) These partnerships create direction for the students and the school since they are able to calibrate their studies to prepare students for their future. It is also incumbent on business to clearly define what type of skills they need, and whether it is better to “grow their own” through training and development or by hiring those who already have experience. My guess is that many employers will, out of necessity, choose the former strategy due to lack of qualified applicants as well as a shrinking workforce.


  1. #TChat Preview: Zero Unemployment and the War for Talent | Career Management and Workplace Culture Blog | TalentCulture.com says:

    […] @talentculture @kevinwgrossman and guest moderator Jessica Miller-Merrill (@blogging4jobs), whose post inspired this week’s #TChat […]

  2. […] but the new business model for this piece of my business. I applaud the efforts of others such as Jessica Miller-Merrell and Margo Rose who are also doing all they can to help job seekers. We can not wait on Congress to […]


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