It seems like business owners are wondering how to attract employees. According to a recently released Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by the US Department of Labor, though job openings increased by 259,000 by the last business day in April 2017, hiring decreased by 253,000 jobs.
While these statistics seem counterintuitive, they point to a growing lack of qualified workers, reports the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Foundation. According to their May 2017 report, the number of small-business owners reporting that they had job openings that couldn't be filled was the highest since 2001. (The NFIB monthly survey randomly samples 10,000 small-business owners who are members of the NFIB.)
The gig economy is playing a large role in the current tight labor market, believes career expert Nick Murphy, CEO of Mid-America Careers, a job search and placement company for the Midwest.
“Companies like Uber, Lyft and Postmates are advertising their opportunities at scale," says Murphy. “As more and more employees have the ability to supplement—or replace—their low-paying day jobs through freelancing, small and mid-sized employers will feel the pressures of the tightening labor market."
If these trends continue, small-business owners may find the landscape increasingly more competitive for hiring talented workers with the appropriate skills. To attract and convince qualified workers that your business is where they want to land, try these often overlooked tactics.
1. Write an enticing job description to help attract employees.
First impressions count for job seekers. How you present your company and the position you want to fill greatly affects whether potential employees will give your company a second look.
Using an active voice and descriptive terms can highlight the benefits of the position. Consider focusing on the required skills the person needs and describing the environment in which the potential employee will work.
2. Be clear about your company mission.
Today's workers, many of whom are Millenials, are interested in the company's mission and any causes for which the business crusades.
[pullquote showtweet="false" username="Manley Feinberg II" alignment="center"]When you focus on hiring people with the right personality and attitude, it feeds the heart of a productive culture.
—Manley Feinberg II, author[/pullquote]
Having a well-articulated statement about how your company plans to change your industry and the world may elicit some interest from potential employees during the hiring process.
3. Toot your company's horn.
When interviewing, consider informing candidates of your company's successes. You may want to emphasize how employees contributed to the accomplishments and how everyone in the business benefited from those wins. If the person you're considering hiring is well-suited for the position, this may excite him or her about the possibilities of working for you.
4. Emphasize flexibility and family-friendly benefits to help attract employees.
Many of today's talented workers want to know that any company they work for is open to bending to life's personal demands on occasion. Knowing that their family is covered—with health and life insurance, a retirement savings plan and innovative leave policies—can encourage people to give your company a try.
5. Pay competitive wages.
“Companies willing to pay reasonable wages are seeing less of a labor shortage than those organizations that have kept wages flat," says Murphy. “In order to attract skilled employees—and retain them—companies must know what their competitors are offering and create meaningful and market-driven employment agreements.
"Companies that can't or don't offer competitive packages are losing workers to the gig economy," he continues, "which tends to be providing higher hourly wages, maximum flexibility and truly customizable scheduling."
6. Focus on interpersonal skills and personality traits.
“During hiring, while many business owners focus on the challenge of finding employees with superior skills, what undermines a company's productivity and profitability even more is the lack of candidates with solid interpersonal skills and the right personality traits," says speaker and author Manley Feinberg II, who wrote Reaching Your Next Summit!
“When you focus on hiring people with the right personality and attitude, it feeds the heart of a productive culture," says Feinberg. “This attracts more engaged and ambitious employees who want to be challenged and part of an environment where they can contribute to something meaningful."
Feinberg asks behavioral interview questions during the interview process. These questions offer a bird's-eye view of a potential employee's personality and their attitude in the face of adversity.
“In order to assess how the person stands up to challenges, I'll ask questions like: 'Tell me of a time when your life or work was especially difficult and exactly what you did about it.'"
7. Offer on-the-job training to attract employees.
“Most industries are looking to higher education as a means to train the workers with the skillsets they need, but in reality, it's impossible for a curriculum to get approved and implemented quickly enough to keep up with today's fast-paced industries," says Justin Gray, CEO and co-founder of Six Bricks, a career-based learning platform.
It can take a blend of learning and practical experience for potential employees to be ready for many positions. “This means employers need to step up their game in terms of internships, apprenticeships and teaching real-world problem-solving," says Gray.
If it's clear during an interview that a person is a good fit for your company but doesn't have the appropriate skills, perhaps inquire if they'd be open to training. Though it can take extra work to get someone up to speed, it can help save you time and money in the long run. Employees you train tend to be well-suited for your company.
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