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It’s currently a job candidate’s market in most fields. If you’re like many small-to-midsize businesses, you’re experiencing at least three of these four talent availability problems:
Turnover “tsunami.” Also known as The Great Resignation, this phenomenon has resulted in employee attrition due to pent-up job-switching plans or desires during the pandemic. In February of 2021, SHRM research revealed that 52% of employed adults were looking for a new job.
Hiring frenzy. Competition for skilled talent has become intense and likely even unprecedented in your market and field.
Aggressive recruiting. You’re getting good people to apply and some to interview, but you’re ultimately losing them to competitors.
Corporate advantage. Large competitors are luring candidates and your current employees away with better pay and work-from-home flexibility. The bigger retailers can offer flexible schedules.
No doubt, you were hoping for smoother sailing during an ongoing rebound from a pandemic. However, despite the tough conditions in today’s recruiting and employment market, there still are plenty of levers SMB hiring managers can quickly pull to overcome these challenges. These are four we strongly recommend to speed up your hiring process and hire good employees.
Recruiting tip #1: Offer work-from-home or flexible schedules to cast a broader net
Many employment surveys in recent years have revealed the importance of work-from-home flexibility for job candidates, especially millennials and Gen Y workers. According to Upwork, 36 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will be working remotely by 2025, and the pandemic experience has only expedited the shift. If you can convert any of your open positions to remote work, consider doing so. Not only does this help you to attract solid local employees, but you can cast a much wider geographical net and gain access to a broader skillset pool.
A good reason to do this is something you may not have considered at all—the tight housing market. According to Zillow, 4.5% of renters in the U.S. (nearly 2 million renter households) can now purchase a starter home somewhere else in the U.S., thanks to remote work. If your location is in a more expensive housing market, offering work-from-home flexibility gives you access to a wider pool of talent by allowing employees to remain in their more affordable markets with an overall lower cost of living. It adds an additional bonus by allowing employees to avoid a long, traffic-filled commute (a major source of stress). If you can't accommodate work-from-home, then consider flexible hours to help employees avoid traffic.
Retailers and other employers who cannot accommodate remote work can benefit from more flexible schedules to attract students and people who care for children or elderly parents. Flexible schedules give you the advantage of being a more considerate employer, which is important to many in the workforce.
Recruiting tip #2: Reduce job requirements to expand the available talent pool
Carefully consider all the requirements you have published in job listings to fill your open positions in the past. Are there any candidate deficiencies that can be overcome with training, mentoring, or professional development? Are there any requirements that have become unnecessary, such as educational attainment or obsolete skills? Are there responsibilities that can be shifted to another role in your company so that you can review a larger pool of applicants?
Often, slight reductions in your job requirements can yield many more talented candidates. Another option: leave some job requirements out of your listing but factor them into your review of the applicants. You may find that some candidates you might not have considered offer advantages that outweigh their shortcomings.
Recruiting tip #3: Work with a staffing agency with experience in your industry
Did you know that roughly three million temporary and contract employees work through America’s staffing agencies during an average week? And during a year, staffing agencies hire 16 million temporary and contract employees to fill vital positions in companies of all sizes, according to the American Staffing Association.
There is a misconception among many SMB hiring managers that staffing agencies supply less skilled, less talented, and part-time workers, but times have changed. Most staffing employees (73%) work full time, comparable to the overall workforce (74%).
Today, there are many dedicated agencies and recruiters for specific fields, which may include yours. These recruiters are continuously vetting and testing candidates for you so that when you need to hire, you can significantly reduce your review time. Staffing agencies not only provide talented professionals to you on demand, but their industry experience often results in better position and culture fits than you would find searching on your own.
Recruiting tip #4: Sell the benefits and potential of your business
A candidate’s market shifts the selection balance in the hiring process from the employer to a more mutual decision. In tight markets, top candidates use the job-hunting process to research and interview potential employers. Some of the factors that prove decisive are not just traditional benefits and compensation, but culture, management style, autonomy, flexibility, and promotion and company growth potential.
Focus on selling your competitive strengths as an employer and find multiple channels to sell your company’s story. Leverage social media, your website, and team members to promote your company’s selling propositions as an employer. In a candidate’s market, most in-demand prospects expect you to go all-out in conveying compelling benefits, energy, passion, and excitement about your company’s employment experience.
Recruiting tip #5: Consider offering an extra incentive
Finally, money always sweetens the deal. Offer your current employees a referral bonus to help you hire qualified people. For candidates, a signing bonus after a certain period, say 90 days, can often be the thing that gets the deal across the finish line. And, to retain new employees, offer a loyalty bonus after one year of employment. These bonuses are an excellent offer since, traditionally, employees are not eligible to begin qualifying for bonuses until their one-year anniversary.
By implementing these methods for speeding up the hiring process in a candidate’s market, you can continue to benefit from streamlined hiring regardless of market conditions. We would love to hear your feedback on these recommendations; which ones are you most likely to use, and why? Share your perspectives with us on Facebook!
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