Recruiting in a Tight Job Market

We continue to hear it over and over again; Unemployment remains at record lows, those that truly want to work, are working, there are more jobs available than active job seekers, there aren’t enough skilled workers out there….and so on and so on.  With so many “excuses” that exist when it comes to not being able to find enough talent to fill open job req’s, the #1 question we get from both our client companies and sales prospects alike is, “What is your company going to do differently to be able to fill our needs?”

The answer is quite simple: We are going to “Outwork the Competition!”

(Queue the “eyerolls” and “huge sighs”)

But really, it is that simple.

Think about those earlier years, playing competitive sports, when your team was up against that top team that everyone feared, and you and your team did 1 of 2 things.

  • You gawked at the other team and told each other that they are so much bigger, faster, and stronger than all of you are, and then continued to pump their egos by talking about how other teams will never have a chance against them and that this is the team that’s going to win it all….or
  • Your team sat down with your Coach(s), and collectively, you brainstormed what the team needs to do to win the game. Or, as stated above, what your team needs to do to “Outwork your Competition?”

Put simply, it’s all in your company’s (teams) mindset.  And it’s that mindset, that becomes the leading factor in being able to ignore, or swat away, all those “excuses” on why your company, or your client’s company, is having a hard time recruiting in today’s tight job market.

Therefore, once your company and/or recruiting team has committed to the proper mindset, free from excuses, and focused on what needs to be done to “outwork the competition,” here are some outside the box ideas on how to keep your applicant pipeline full during these so-called “challenging” recruiting times.

Beyond the Job Boards

A tight job market only means the job boards are flooded with more open positions than there are candidates.  So, before you begin looking beyond the job boards, you need to start by looking at your current employee base to identify some commonalities that may exist with employees in similar roles.  Those profiles can then be used (outside your job boards) to find out where similar candidates might hang out, both within the community and online.  Common places that could be identified include local schools, community centers, houses or worship, sports complexes, community events, etc, and therefore, visiting these places to promote jobs is a great way to find more passive candidates, that you would not find during your ongoing recruitment searches.  In addition, getting involved in these places can also help in establishing a candidate pipeline, thus setting you and your company up for future hiring needs.


Leverage Social Media to Promote Jobs and Your Company Culture

Targeting community hangouts, as described above, is one way to identify talent, but targeting online hangouts is an even more powerful way to find talent.  With just about everyone tied to some sort of Social Media, reaching out to your social networks to find talent is an easy way to include your personal contacts in your recruiting efforts.  But why not go beyond that, and at the same time, start promoting why people should want to work for the same company you work for.  What makes your company great?  How does your company cultivate a “work hard, play hard” atmosphere?  Why would people want to work for your company?  These types of questions can then be answered through various success stories across Social Media.  To reach targeted audiences beyond your networks, you can even take it a step further and “boost” your posts on those platforms that work best for you.  Good or bad, people spend a ton of time scrolling through their feeds on social media, and if you’re like most people, it’s hard to ignore those companies that promote positive, fun, and/or giving back type stories that illustrate healthy, team focused cultures.  Therefore, by showcasing what makes your company great, you have effortlessly began to attract people that want to be a part of your company, regardless if they are currently working or not. Good recruiters should then be able to take over the process and begin working this newly created pool of candidates that have just expressed interest in your company (by simply engaging).

Creatively Redefine Your Employee Referral Program

This is one of my favorites.  Today, a majority of companies tout their Employee Referral Program as an additional revenue stream for their current workforce.  Most commonly, companies promote that they will pay a referral bonus (in the form of cash or gift card) for each person they refer and works for ‘x’ amount of days, thus enabling them to tap into their current employee networks to find qualified talent.  Based on what I have seen, this program only goes so far, as often times, their current workforce becomes disengaged in this type of program after asking friends and family over and over again.  WHY NOT KICK THIS UP A NOTCH?  What if you offered your employees something more for each referral?  What if you made it more personal to them?  Why not offer something like a paid day off for each referral, or better yet, 2 or 3 paid day’s off for each referral.  To entice your employees even further, how about asking them to put together a “wish list” of things that motivates them to work, that promotes their “why?”  Maybe it’s a personal or family vacation?  Maybe it’s offering an “experience” such as scuba lessons, or golf lessons, or a flying lesson?  This is where it becomes fun, as the possibilities can become endless.  Plus, if you have your employees coming up with these “bonus” ideas, chances are they will work even harder to help recruit for those immediate needs.  Keep in mind that some of these ideas, or ideas your employees come up with, may sound a little crazy, or crazy expensive, but when compared to the daily cost of being short needed employees, the cost is likely insignificant.  I must mention one last (positive) takeaway that comes with redefining your employee referral plan.  That is, you have just provided your employees with the opportunity to tell another great “story,” promoting your company culture, that gives another reason why it’s a great company to work for.


Contact A Staffing Agency

I would be remiss if I did not include this as a helpful option to find talent when the job market is tight.   A Staffing Agency’s job is to, everyday, recruit top qualified talent for their clients, no matter what the job market is like.  Just like your company is an expert in their industry, Staffing Agency’s are experts in the recruitment industry.  So, for those companies that might not employ full time recruiters or other professionals with extensive recruiting experience, or, that simply lack the resources to “effectively” hire on their own, this option is for you.  When choosing to work with a Staffing Agency, however, I do urge you to do your homework and make sure whatever agency you choose, is experienced in recruiting for the types of employees you need, as well as an agency that takes the time to understand the types of employees that will fit best within your company.  (check out my previous blog post, 5 Tips When Working With a Staffing Agency)

Recruiting in a tight job market is tough, but it’s never impossible.  With a positive mindset and some outside the box thinking, you/your company will be able to outwork your competition and experience recruitment success no matter how tight the market is.

For additional ideas on recruiting in a tight job market, or for more information on how Labor Solutions can assist with your recruiting needs, please contact Marc Welch at (847)541-4524 ext 390 or