3 Tips for Hiring in a Tight Labor Market
Is your small business one of the millions still looking for workers? According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, “more than half of US small-business owners said they had open positions they could not fill in May.”
A tight labor market is a tricky spot for a small business, as you may struggle to deliver the same excellent service when you’re shorthanded. So you know you need to find people – but they also need to be the right people, because a bad hire can often lead to even more problems than being understaffed for a little while. After years of employers having the advantage in the hiring market, the tables have turned.
If this is you, we understand your dilemma! That’s why we’ve come up with a few ways you can break through with job candidates and build out the team you need:
Up Your Offer
The first solution might be obvious, but it’s worth stating. Sometimes you need to increase your offer, whether through increased wages or salary, additional benefits, or other perks. Many of the businesses surveyed by the NFIB reported that they did just that, but about half did not. Increased compensation may not solve all your hiring problems, but it’s an important first step, especially when a tight labor market combines with high inflation. An offer that may have stood out a few years ago might be inadequate in 2022.
Exactly how you should approach this will depend on your situation. Economics may not allow you to make a significant increase in wages or salaries, for example. In that case, finding intangible perks that make your workplace more appealing will be essential.
Look for Personal Fit
A second approach that you may be able to take advantage of is to look more at personality and cultural fit than specific skills and experiences. When businesses got stacks of resumes for every opening, it became easy to be very granular with requirements for each position. Detailed lists of skills and other prerequisites were common for businesses in certain industries. Taking that same exact approach now may be unnecessarily limiting.
If you’re having a hard time finding people with the exact specifications you’re looking for, you may need to look more at the person and less at the resume. Is this a good person with a personality and attitude that will fit right in with your existing team and culture? Is this someone who is trainable and willing to learn? It might be easier to find the right person and train them up than to search endlessly for someone who can plug right in from a skills perspective.
Hire From Within
In many businesses, some positions are harder to hire for than others. When those hard-to-hire-for positions come open, your best solution may be to look at your current employees, especially those in easier-to-hire-for positions. Who on your team has shown the work ethic and attitude required to excel in a different position, and possibly shown interest in taking on more or different responsibilities within your organization? If you identify someone who fits that description, then consider moving them into the open position – even if they’ve only been with your company a short time – and instead starting a candidate search for their previous position.
There are multiple benefits to this approach. First, it builds morale and loyalty among your team. Employees see that they have the chance to grow and evolve when they demonstrate excellence, so they’re less likely to look elsewhere for opportunity. And as defined by the two positions, you’ll be conducting an easier job search for a new employee, while filling the harder-to-hire position with a known quantity (at least from a personality and character perspective).
This certainly is not an exhaustive list of all the things you could do to attract more candidates, but it’s a good start. What are some things you’ve done to appeal to job-seekers?