Hiring In A Tight Labor Market: 6 Tips For Busy People
Bill Conerly | Forbes
Even a short trip down the street reveals multiple signs: “Help Wanted,” “Now Hiring,” “Applications Being Accepted.” Hiring workers in a tight labor market is more work for managers than it used to be. Employee retention is always a higher priority than employee recruiting. But retention isn’t enough; you also need to find workers to replace those who do leave and for expansion.
1. Use all the available tools.
This is advice I give to job seekers all the time. They often focus too narrowly on online job boards. Similarly, some managers put all of their effort into one channel. Instead, consider all recruiting tools: Help Wanted signs outside your business, online job posts, referrals from current employees, and general networking.
2. Look for untapped reservoirs of people.
The overall unemployment rate is a low 4.4 percent (as of April 2017), but that average masks higher unemployment rates for certain groups: teenagers, African Americans, Native Americans and those without a high school diploma. Sometimes an employer does not have the flexibility to look into these groups. You will not find a registered nurse among those without a high school diploma, nor an accountant with a CPA ticket among teenagers. But make sure that your recruiting efforts are aligned with the untapped reservoirs that are available to you. If you could use more teenagers, for example, talk to your current teenage employees about the best way to find other teenagers.
Rural areas typically have higher unemployment rates than urban areas. That will not help you if your business is located in Manhattan, but if your company is in a suburban area, then perhaps you can recruit from a neighboring rural county.
Unemployment among immigrants is relatively low, but there may be good opportunity’s among the most recent arrivals. Check to see if your community has a service center for refugees or other recent immigrants.
3. Consider the long-term unemployed.
Many people became discouraged when jobs were hard to find during the recession. These people would have found jobs in a normal economic environment, and would have been considered desirable employees. They often became discouraged or found opportunities outside of formal employment. Now their resumes make them look like damaged goods to some employers. That is understandable when employers can be particular, but not when workers are hard to find. Give them a try.
4. Reconsider your minimum requirements.
When job applicants are abundant, it’s easy to look for more education, more experience, and a more pleasant personality. Now it is time to reconsider the job requirements. Does the person really need the degree or diploma or certification that you have required? For every job opening, look at every requirement and think about whether it is absolutely necessary.
Easing requirements is best done in stages. Instead of loosening all requirements at once, take a guess at the requirement that, if eased, could get you the most quality applicants. Try that one, and see how it works. If you change multiple criteria at once, it will be difficult to tell where you went right and where you went wrong.
5. Ask your customers.
Your customers already have an understanding of your business. Some of them may be looking for work. (This is more of a B-C strategy than a B-B strategy, because you probably do not want your customers to think that your poaching their employees.) Your customers may also be referral sources for new employees. So, if you have a newsletter or regular e-mail or advertising flyer, mention that you are hiring
6. Keep your eyes open for great workers.
A friend of mine was shopping for clothes and got great service from a sales representative. She asked the saleswoman, “Have you ever thought of working at a bank? You would be great at it, and you would not have to work evenings and weekends.” The saleswoman asked if the customer knew anybody at a bank. The customer chuckled and said, “Yes I do,” then handed her a business card. She was President of a bank.
The hiring challenge will be with us for a while, driven partly by recent economic growth as well by long-term trends: baby boomers retiring and a relatively small generation entering the workforce in the wake of the Millennials. For your business to thrive, the challenge of a tight labor market must be addressed immediately.
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