Chairs with people sitting on their phones waiting

Hiring Tips During a Tough Market

14 Aug 2019

At just 3.7%, the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since the late 90s. Low-wage sectors with historically low job quality are seeing rises in pay and benefits, more full-time employees, and more flexible and stable schedules. If you are an employer needing to recruit new talent, this isn’t such great news. In fact, in such a tight labor market, you may be struggling to keep up with the competition. This combined with the baby boomer workforce in retirement mode, makes for a tough recruiting market.

Businesses today have to offer more than just a paycheck. Accommodating your employees’ needs can help retain workers, such as providing work schedules that allow employees to take public transportation or work from home, but companies still have to find new talent to replace those leaving or to sustain growth. In this market, candidates have many opportunities to choose from so businesses need to find a way to differentiate themselves. Here are some tips to help you stay competitive with hiring quality talent.

Focus on recruiting

Gone are the days of putting up a job posting and being able to pick and choose from the desperate candidates that would jump at any offer. Having a “post and hope” mentality now will leave you with few choices. Many companies are hiring, so you must attract candidates instead of relying on them to come to you.

Research your competition

Know what other companies are offering. Salary, benefits, work-life balance. These will all be considered when candidates decide which company to choose. Skimping on what you offer will hurt your chances of securing the talent you want. Consider implementing benefits that may not cost much while enticing candidates, such as flexible schedules, working remotely, and access to wellness programs.

Employee referral bonuses

According to Society for Human Resource Management, this is the most powerful source of finding candidates. These candidates are typically higher quality, are hired more quickly, and stick around longer. Tap into more of your network and implement an employee referral program.

Sell yourself

Selling yourself is important before and during the hiring process. Consider giving your company’s social media accounts an upgrade to include information for potential candidates about working for your company. Tell job seekers what it is like to work for you and highlight the benefits, flexible work schedule, growth opportunities, and social mission. Do this with your job postings, too. The postings should convey why your company is a good choice.

Then, be prepared for interviews. Yes, even the interviewers can benefit from being prepared. Anticipate the interviewee’s questions about your company and be ready to speak to the benefits and opportunities you offer.

After conveying the best aspects of your company to job seekers, then you can worry about the job description and requirements. Be realistic. Really identify what requirements are truly “must have” and which ones are “nice to have.” Keep in mind that some skills can be transferrable. For example, if you need the candidate to have experience with you company’s financial software, it may be just as beneficial to hire a candidate that is skilled at another software similar to yours as the learning curve will be small. Dropping some of the “nice to have” skills from your requirements will broaden your candidate pool.

Change how you search

Improving your searching process does not only include loosening your requirements. You need to balance increasing the size of the talent pool and narrowing the pool to only those candidates you would want to consider.

Widen your search

Too many hurdles push candidates away to another employer. The hurdles include long lists of requirements, high minimum GPA, pre-employments tests, multiple interviews, long wait time while candidates are compared, and more.

Consider dropping some of these hurdles and instead look to hire based more on cultural fit, soft skills, and business acumen. We talked about identifying true “must have” skills. Make sure the candidate has most of these required skills and train the other skills to fill the gap.

Target your search

Increasing the quantity of candidates helps, but you still want quality. Keep this in mind when upgrading your social media accounts. Use social media advertising to target the right talent. LinkedIn is a standard resource for sourcing talent; but today, Facebook and Twitter are useful tools as well.

Move quickly

You can implement every trick in the book to attract quality talent, but you will be wasting your time if you are wasting the applicant’s time. Many candidates lose interest in a business if they do not hear back within a week or two.

Even if you are the best company, candidates will not wait if they don’t have to. They are being hired quickly, and if you don’t match the pace, you’ll be left behind. After revamping your hiring process, condense your interview process as much as you can. Most importantly, when you find a candidate with the talent you are looking for, HIRE THEM!

This article was also featured in our newsletter Bottom Line Vol. 20