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Across the country, businesses are having a renewed interest in hiring strategies because of a complex environment and difficulty finding workers. As a result of current conditions, more employers are saying they’re having a hard time filling positions, especially for lower-wage roles.
We’re in a unique environment where job growth is stalled at least in the short-term, but the demand for labor is strong. When businesses have difficulty filling vacancies, this is a type of classic “tight job market.” Granted, the reasons for this environment may be extenuating macroeconomic conditions, but the effect is the same: It’s hard to hire the employees your business needs.
Here are five ways you can find labor despite a tight job market.
1. Open your window
The Overton window, that is. You may not have to shift your actual job qualifications to encompass more people within your addressable talent pool. Most businesses adhere to a particular set of proscribed mandates when it comes to hiring. For example, your organization might only hire people with college degrees, local people or require everyone to have experience within a specific industry. In a tight market, now is the time to re-examine those long-held beliefs. Look at your messaging in job descriptions, your website, and even your “Now Hiring” signs. What message do they send? Be careful in any messaging which alienates anyone — this reduces candidate flow and can be a significant factor in your number of applications.
Can you be open to people looking for their first job? Can you be open to people from outside your industry? Make sure your minimal requirements really are just that: minimal.
2. Invest in recruiting
Recruiting is hard work — from writing job descriptions to attending or hosting job fairs to interviewing and processing paperwork, recruiting needs attention and labor allocation. Consider bringing on an employee dedicated to recruitment and talent acquisition, or bring on an on-demand recruiter on a flexible basis. During a tight job market, or if your industry or skill set is particularly in-demand, you may have to bite the bullet and invest in experts that understand recruiting. Look for recruiters who have experience staffing your type of job function, or recruiters with powerful networks in your local area.
3. Process hires faster
Hiring snafus can sometimes result from a lack of available talent, but many times, they are mistakes of our own design. People tend to drop off during the hiring possess. Think of the candidate that suddenly ghosts you, doesn’t show up to an interview, or goes cold during an offer process. Many times, these are not signs of candidate ineptitude, but rather a symptom of competing opportunities. Getting people through your hiring process rapidly can be a crucial element to landing hires.
In general, look for efficiency. Can any part of your process be electronic? Can any be eliminated? Do you need that third interview? Can you make decisions about budget and compensation more rapidly?
Related: Use This 15-Step Hiring Guide to Make the Process Simple and Ensure You Get the Right Person
4. Keep your people
In a tighter labor market, salaries and total compensation tend to go up. Today, we see even lower-skilled job wages creeping up and many employers offering hiring and interview bonuses. So review your compensation plan to ensure that your staff is being valued according to general market conditions. But there is much more to employment than compensation.
Many ways to incentivize retention don’t cost anything. Even more so, empowering and engaging your staff is one of the best ways to increase business results. Keep your people so as to not have to make those new hires in the first place.
Related: Most of These 9 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Don’t Cost Anything
5. Go for gigs
Now, many of the world’s largest businesses fulfill their work by using a blend of contractors, gig-workers and full- and part-time staff.
Opening up your positions to be resourced by gig platforms or staffing firms can effectively hire talent faster. The key to hiring contractors is often to divide your job functions into very narrow slices. For example, your marketing coordinator may handle a broad set of duties, from social media posting and content writing to report building and metrics analysis. You likely won’t be so holistic with a contractor — think particular job duties such as just social media posting or just content writing. By segmenting the functions of a job very tightly, you can mitigate oversight and more efficiently manage contract workers.
Recruiting and hiring in a tight job market can be challenging. It’s easy to blame general job market conditions, lack of qualified talent or requests for sky-high compensation. But most of the time, we can look within to solve our own hiring problems. Examine how you recruit and hire before you give up. Lastly, “always be closing” applies to recruiting as well as sales. Always be on the hunt for good people, because that’s ultimately how your business will grow.
Related: The Art of Knowing When to Hire and When to Contract