Smart business leaders know that hiring outstanding workers and keeping them happy is foundational for building a successful enterprise. BairesDev, a custom software development firm, is a perfect example of this strategy. As a result of its strong employee focus, the company has won multiple awards, including Inc. 5000’s list of California’s fastest-growing companies.
While keeping employees happy is always important, it becomes even more so when unemployment is low. Businesses must work harder to attract the best candidates from a smaller pool of applicants. Here we discuss ways to provide a better working experience and some other methods for attracting quality workers in a tight labor market.
Improve Wages and Benefits
One of the best ways to get better candidates is to offer a better compensation package. Find out what your competitors are offering and, if you can, offer more. If you can’t increase salaries, can you make up for it with better benefits, like robust insurance? What about less common perks like training programs or professional organization memberships that can provide extra opportunities for team members to upgrade their skills?
If you’re not sure what kinds of things potential employees want, ask your current employees, especially those whose services you value most. Send out a survey or interview these workers individually. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the responses which could be anything from more opportunities for advancement to childcare to flexible work schedules.
Consider Different Candidates
If you’re having trouble finding good candidates, you’ll have to cast a wider net. You can do it in several ways. First, eliminate or reduce certain requirements such as strict rules about educational background. For example, if you typically require a bachelor’s degree, consider making an associate’s degree the condition. Or consider training for certain skills rather than requiring them in advance.
Turn your local search into a national or even international one and be prepared to offer moving expenses or telecommuting options. And consider employees who have retired from your company – or from any company. Older workers have valuable knowledge, experience, and professionalism that can be a real asset.
Invest in Technology
In a tight labor market, you might also need to consider candidates with less experience than you prefer, including those from Generations Y and Z. These workers expect to be immersed in technology to help them do their jobs. Now might be the time to invest in a new data management system, CRM, or customer care application.
Another benefit of such upgrades is that they will help employees be more efficient. You may find that you don’t have to hire as many of them to get the same amount of work accomplished. These improvements will also serve you well when the market shifts. You’ll be more likely to hold onto existing employees, which is much more cost-effective than hiring new ones.
Think Relational, Not Transactional
Remember that, in a tight job market, candidates are evaluating you as much as you’re evaluating them. They may have several offers to choose from and companies that make them feel valued and respected are likely to get high marks. Focus not just on “finding the right worker for the job,” but building relationships with candidates and getting to know them as people. Here are a few specific tips:
When you initiate contact, tell them why you’re interested in them and what you feel sets them apart from other applicants.
As part of the interview process, show them around the workplace, and introduce them to current employees.
During the interview, ask them what they value in an employer and in a work environment. Do your best to meet those needs.
When making an offer, tell them what stood out for you during the interview process.
After the offer, reach out every couple of days until they give their response.
If they decline your offer but seem to like your company, continue to keep in touch in case future opportunities come up.
Get Employees to Help
If you like your current team members, there’s a good chance you’ll like their friends too. Enlist employees to put the word out about any openings and encourage them to include what they like about working for your company. Ask them to use social media to share these impressions and to distribute your posts about job openings.
You can also interview employees and write stories about them on your blog. Describe what they do, what they were looking for when you hired them, why they chose you as an employer, how they’ve advanced in the company, and what they like best about working there.
Hiring is a challenge under any circumstance and even tougher when candidates have the upper hand. But, instead of thinking of the situation as a problem, consider it an opportunity to strengthen what your company has to offer and attract new hires who will contribute to your ongoing success.
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