5 Tips For Bringing In Top Talent In A Tight Labor Market

With fewer candidates with the applicable skills available to hire in roles ranging from entry level to the executive suite, this is driving an increasingly tight labor market — one that is only expected to get tighter into 2017.

Adding to the challenge for employers looking to hire, job seekers are also looking to make up for the lack of raises they may have experienced since the recession started. It’s possible they could be looking for pay increases of 20 percent or more.

5 considerations for attracting and hiring top talent

Within this swirl of opportunity and obstacle, what can companies do to attract and hire top talent Here are five considerations to make regarding your hiring process in the face of the fast moving talent and labor market.

1. Accelerate the hiring process

To have the best chance for success, hiring managers need to consider streamlining their interview process. While some companies are now making offers to candidates with certain skill sets over the phone without ever meeting them, I recommend that companies find some middle ground.

Candidates expect to have at least two interviews in order for you to evaluate them and for them to understand and evaluate the role and company. Companies can streamline processes by inviting and scheduling candidates for the second interview while they are at the first interview. This sends a positive message about the interest level and shows the candidate you are ready to move. Check references as soon as possible after the second interview and make the background check a contingency of hiring after the offer is made.

Companies who cover everything they need in two meetings will be more likely to have offer acceptance from the candidates they want. To that end, if you need to have the candidate meet with several stakeholders, consider conducting a half-day or full-day interview where everyone is included within the two meetings. Require their feedback on the candidate within 24 hours so you can arrive at a consensus. Employers that eliminate the third or fourth interviews will have the most success securing top talent.

2. Skills testing or assessment

If conducting only two interviews makes you uncomfortable, consider testing the candidate’s skills. Some tests can be administered online and taken at home. This arrangement allows skills testing to be completed in a fluid manner that doesn’t add to the length of the interview process, but still offers more information.

Similarly, some assessments can also be completed online but others may require the candidate to work in another meeting with your assessment firm. Don’t forget to ask for writing samples if that is an important skill for the job. A candidate can email writing samples between interviews.

3. Be ready to deliver the reasons why your company is the right one to work for

While you are interviewing candidates, they are also interviewing you. Develop a list of job and company advantages and make sure they are conveyed throughout the interviewing process by having different interviewers speak to different points. This is your “sizzle” that will help you stand out in a tight labor market.

4. Create and stick to a timeline

As we all know, when you make a plan and work the plan, you are more inclined to be successful. Keep the hiring process on track by setting a goal for when you want your new employee to start. Use this goal to work backwards and determine when the first and second interviews should take place and when an offer needs to be extended.

Depending on the level of the job and the complexity of the recruiting process, this timeline could vary from 30 days to five or six months. Also factor into your timing how long your prospective candidate will need to give notice to their current employer. That can range between two and six weeks, depending on their role and level in their organization.

5. Think through what you are willing to offer a candidate

Develop a compensation range from low to high and determine what skills you are paying for at various points within that range. Consider that you may need to offer a signing bonus to encourage candidates to walk away from future bonuses at their current employer.

Companies should plan for candidates expecting significant raises with a job offer. This may be appropriate in some cases, for instance for candidates who are clearly underpaid as their current employer held back raises during tough times or for certain skill sets. Working with clients, those of us in recruiting and executive search are seeing average offers are running between 10 and 20 percent depending on the role and the level within the organization.

Candidates are generally motivated by an offer that is two times or more than the amount they would receive as a raise after their annual review. As with everything, there are always exceptions, but plan on paying fairly or even at a slight premium for the candidate with the skill set and cultural fit you need.

As more and more companies shift into growth mode and accelerate their hiring plans, it’s important that they adjust their hiring process for this limited labor market. Processes that provided results during the Great Recession need to be reevaluated and revamped. Companies that are unable to move quickly and decisively and present a clear picture of the company to job candidates will find it hard to secure the top talent necessary to grow their business.

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