How to hire in a competitive market

How to hire in a competitive market

The U.S. job market is currently very competitive, meaning that there are generally more open positions than qualified candidates available and willing to fill them. Although having a competitive job market can make it challenging for companies to find the right people for each role, knowing how to find and attract the right candidates can give you an edge over your competitors. Also, finding people who fit your company culture will make it more likely that they stay with you for the long term, reducing the need for recruitment in the future.

Ways to hire viable candidates for your open positions

Once you've identified a job opening, the first step in the hiring process and perhaps the most important is finding qualified candidates that are interested in the role. While the chances of you attracting top talent depend on factors that you can't control, such as the number of available professionals for that particular role, there are also many aspects of the candidate scouting process that you can control. 

Learning how to hire in a competitive market can make a huge difference in productivity for your organization. These are some of the steps you can take to maximize your chances of getting the right people to apply.

Advertise your job openings everywhere

You can't have qualified candidates applying to your open positions if they don't see them. When looking for a new employee, consider advertising your job opening in all places that may make it visible to viable candidates. These are some of the most appropriate places to advertise your available positions:

  • Job websites: Posting your available positions on job websites and online networking hubs is the most effective method for most types of positions, but solely relying on it may cause you to miss out on great candidates.
  • Your company's social media channels: If you have a reasonably strong social media presence, advertising your openings through these channels can attract people who were already interested in your organization. 
  • Social media advertising: You can also appeal to those who don't follow your organization on social media by paying for ads and targeting the people you're after based on factors like geographical location.
  • Industry-specific job boards and message boards: Using recruitment channels that are specific to your field can help you find candidates that wouldn't be accessible otherwise, such as those who are currently employed and are looking for a new professional challenge.
  • Job fairs: You shouldn't exclusively look online for job candidates, as offline events like job fairs are also excellent opportunities.

Work on your company's image and reputation

Another important step you can take to get the right people to apply is to make sure they know your organization and have a positive view of it. The most effective way of doing so is usually keeping your current employees satisfied and motivated, which can lead to them promoting your organization to others. You can also adapt your website and social media presence to make it clear that you emphasize treating your employees well and supporting them in any challenge that they might face.

Consider adopting an employee referral program

Your current employees may know other professionals in their field, from previous jobs, industry networking events, college, and other similar sources. You can motivate them to recommend your organization to others by offering them bonuses for referring candidates. It's usually worth the expense, as the candidates you get from referrals are likely to be qualified and fit your organization's culture. It also shows your current employees that they can play an active role in developing their hiring organization.

Create compelling and motivating job descriptions

Making your job openings visible to the right people is a crucial first step, but you also have to convince them to apply once they see the respective openings. You can do that by creating a job description that stands out from the others and convinces them that it's a good opportunity for them. 

Provide readers with specific details regarding the available role, including their exact duties, the money and benefits they can expect to earn, and the qualifications you expect from them. Also mention the company culture and the type of personalities that work for you, to help them decide if they're likely to fit from both a professional and cultural standpoint.

"Knowing how to find and attract the right candidates can give you an edge over your competitors."

Make sure you're offering competitive salaries and benefits

Multiple factors can influence someone's decision to apply for a particular role, but the salary is usually by far the most important. Although quality employees cost more, the work they'll put in for your organization is likely to make them worth the effort. It also increases the chances of them staying with you over the long term, which reduces your costs with recruiting new personnel. 

Research your industry using a tool such as Supply and Demand and find out what your competitors are paying their employees. Also consider other non-financial compensations, like paid time off, insurance, flexible schedules, employee discounts, and anything else that you think candidates may find desirable. Describing them in your job description in non-ambiguous terms can get more people to apply.

Consider removing degree requirements

While hiring a professional with a relevant degree in their field can act as extra assurance that they have the necessary skills for the role, this may also limit your pool of qualified candidates. Unless the role is highly specialized and can only be performed by someone with formal education and training, consider not including any educational requirements in your job ads. You can instead focus on soft skills, like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking, as they can help candidates quickly adapt to their roles.

Make it super easy to apply

Regardless of how good a job opportunity is, having an overly complicated application process may put off some candidates that would otherwise be great for the respective roles. You can avoid that by creating a way for them to input their information and apply for the role in seconds. A web page that's also mobile-friendly and in which candidates can easily upload their resumes can do exactly that.

Consider hiring based on potential

While finding an experienced professional who can hit the ground running and fit right into your system is obviously ideal, being in a competitive job market may require you to adapt. This could mean finding candidates that may lack the skills or experience you're after but who show lots of potential. Hiring such a candidate and guiding them to improve can be a cost-effective way of getting a high-performance employee who's likely to be loyal to your organization over the long term.

Instead of judging them by what they're able to do today, consider their personality and soft skills instead. Some of the aspects you can look for to identify potential in an inexperienced candidate are:

  • Adaptability to new situations
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • A high degree of attention to detail
  • Willingness to learn from their mistakes
  • Excellent work ethic 
  • Confidence in their abilities and potential
  • Desire to stay with your company long-term

Try to find candidates who fit into your company culture

The current competitive job market allows candidates to look for more than tasks, salaries, and benefits when looking for a new job. They're likely to seek places that make them feel like they fit in, with organizational cultures and company values that motivate them beyond material gains. Employees that find these in a workplace are likely to produce better results and stay loyal for a long time. 

When seeking to hire new employees, make sure to mention your company culture and values at every step of the hiring process, from the job ad to the interview. While this may put off some candidates that would otherwise fit the role but don't identify with your culture, the ones that remain are more likely to be the right ones for the available jobs.

Reduce the need to hire by retaining existing employees

Being in a competitive job market may also mean that other companies in your field may be trying to convince your current employees to change teams. Focusing too much on offering perks to your new employees may accelerate this process. While upping your candidate attraction efforts, make sure to keep your current employees motivated and satisfied in their roles.

Hiring the right people is always challenging but when doing so in such a competitive market every detail counts. It's usually worth it, however, as the effort of finding and hiring top professionals is likely to pay off through increased productivity.

More tips on recruiting:

Want to improve your recruiting practices? Learn how to hire someone who was recently laid off.

Be a better interviewer by considering these illegal interview questions and how to avoid them.

Become a more inclusive employer by understanding how we can help career advancement for women in the workplace

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