This posting is different from your Father’s job listing! In today’s hiring environment, we must change our employee recruitment strategy! In an ‘Employee’s Labor Market’ where fewer people are looking for a position than in previous years, we must re-think our recruitment ideas and hiring approach. Due in part to the ‘Great Resignation,’ many available workers decided not to re-enter the workplace post-pandemic, but also to the changing values of how to spend a significant portion of our lives. The time during the Pandemic allowed us to reevaluate how, where, and why we spent our time the way we did and what was important to us.
Announcing a job vacancy.
The recruiting and new hiring process start with one question: Why would anyone want to work here?’ Instead of simply posting job qualifications, responsibilities, and a salary range, we must reach out to the potential new candidate starting with the ‘Why?’ Most job seekers have specific ideas of what they want to do with their lives. Recent graduates with idealistic objectives, seasoned veterans with experience, and everyone in between are looking for something more.
Where the bulk of your current talent came from is important to consider when you think about this key question. Did your employees leave large companies with so-called ‘security’ for a place where they saw more personal and professional growth potential? Were they tired of the often ‘political’ environment that fueled advancement in other, more established firms? Often Small and Medium-sized Businesses(SMB) feel like they are at a ‘disadvantage’ to larger companies regarding employee recruitment and hiring. In this tight job market, often the SMB environment, this is exactly what available workers are looking for: smaller, more agile SMB culture, where one can feel a part of to adapt and excel as they contribute to a growing company’s success.
Looking at what you have to offer new talent.
Looking even deeper, why do you and your key workers work here? Was it the shared vision of what you set out to build? Was it dissatisfaction with the ‘status quo?’ Is it the disruptive competitive advantage or a ‘better way’ that you are pursuing? Does it provide less of a hectic pace or commute? Do your workers want to feel a part of something? Knowing why your people work for your company can be the key to crafting the message that will attract other ‘like-minded’ individuals to supplement your team. It does not matter if they are a key leader or the skilled talent that does the work. We all want to feel a part of something greater than ourselves. Avoid the ‘punching the clock’ mentality when hiring for any position. Those chasing after a higher wage and wage growth without regard to these other things will typically have higher turnover and go after higher-paying employers. Employers must work hard to hire people who will stick around because the cost of turnover is high for a typical SMB without having available workers’ waiting in the wings to step in.
Once you know your company’s Why, work to articulate it into a ‘pitch.’ Present your ‘why’ to a potentially qualified job seeker highlighting the things that make your company unique. To put this into perspective, go on to a popular job board, and read through the job openings for a particular position. Do any of them stand out? What makes them different? During a labor shortage, we must be the best at marketing our company as the one you want to work for. One of the first things a potential new hire will do is look the company up on the web or social media. What does our digital footprint say? Are we a stodgy big company wanna-be with big words that only a Harvard grad or industry expert could understand? Does it speak of employee engagement, individual ‘stories’ of customers and employees that go that extra mile to attest to their experience or their participation beyond what was required to solve a particular dilemma? We all are looking for a consistent and honest message through what we ‘say’ in hopes of a clear presentation of who we ‘are.’
Highlight your company’s strengths to attract new employees.Â
Lead with your recruiting message to attract potential candidates who desire what you are offering. Is it a less urban location in a small community? Is it convenient to travel to both home and the city when needed? Does it offer a sense of ‘belonging’ or potential? Are there opportunities for growth and advancement? Are the school systems recognized as being the best in the area, or are there options for working parents? Are you doing things differently in an attempt to improve the status quo? Is your work culture one that promotes teamwork and excellence? Once you satisfy a job seeker’s emotional connection, worry about the ‘What.’ All jobs have qualifications, experience, and capabilities necessary to fill the role. The golden ticket is to find individuals who desire to work at a company like yours and have the basic qualifications. These needed abilities are another thing that can differentiate your company. Employers who allow individuals to expand their knowledge and stretch to the next level of expertise are often sought after!
Expressing your ‘What’ during labor market tightness.Â
Now that you articulated the ‘who’ in the labor force you are looking for and the role you seek to fill, how do you go about finding the right candidate? This ‘why culture’ can be as different as the company or position you are trying to fill and can vary widely from industry to industry. Shown here is a diagram starting in the center with ‘why’ someone would want to work at your organization. Next, we break down where we might find the ‘what’ we are looking for. What experience, training, certifications, or education do we require for this position? What path did the current team take to become a part of your team? Do employees belong to social or professional organizations? What training, experience, or education did they get? Where did they get their education, training, or certifications? What local or regional technical programs, colleges, or universities have graduates in the areas you are seeking? Is there a local or regional organization known for turning out individuals with the needed skillset? Do you have a ‘relationship’ with them? This connection can be a formal relationship that provides intern or summer help or an informal one where you call them for specific needs. Either way, having these relationships in your recruiting network is extremely valuable and provides a steady stream of potential new hires.
Using social networks for employee recruitment efforts.Â
Use the social networks that your potential candidates use. Depending on the demographic, it could be Linked In, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or Metaverse, to name a few. Be bold in creative recruitment avenues for connecting to labor, even if the recruitment ideas are unfamiliar. Find someone in your organization who shares or uses a platform, and give them content to post. Sometimes you want to get your name out there and point them to the opportunity on your ‘career page’ of your website. However, be aware that some social networks expect a response in a certain timeframe. Learn the characteristics of a particular medium, or get someone familiar with the platform to respond and manage it for you.
While numerous job boards offer passive hiring opportunities, don’t rely on someone stumbling across your job openings. Many have a proactive means of searching and screening for potential candidates in the labor market. Some have premium offerings that charge a fee for these proactive capabilities. However, count the cost of having an unfilled position and compare it to the typically minimal cost of using this feature to land the right talent to fill the position. Along those lines, while professional recruiters or head hunters may have a questionable track record, they can often do the legwork that small firms cannot do with their limited resources. Negotiate the terms upfront. Don’t provide money upfront; base it on obtaining qualified hired candidates. Again, it pays to count the cost of these services against having an opening that prevents you from completing the work your organization needs to do to continue to receive sales or funding.
Speak to current employees about job openings.Â
An often-overlooked resource is current employees and their personal and professional networks of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Do you offer a referral bonus program to incentivize current employees to recruit qualified candidates that you eventually hire? Is it simple and easy to understand? Do you actively encourage everyone to help fulfill this mission? If you are confident in your culture and values, it’s reasonable to feel your employees would want to recruit others to be a part of your organization. If not, what can you do to improve that perception or reality? Encourage them to proactively reach out through their networks to find the right person. Assure them that you appreciate their active participation and don’t hold them accountable for potentially hiring the wrong person. That is your responsibility to screen and vet fit candidates.
In a tight labor market, recruit candidates and hire staff that ‘fits,’ start by articulating ‘why’ a potential candidate would want to work for your company. Then, use every possible networking avenue to actively recruit and retain the right people to fill your demand.