J. Kent's Blog - Articles for Employers and Job Seekers

4 Smart Hiring Strategies in Today’s Tight Candidate Market

Posted by: Karen Booher on June 15th, 2021

Colorado’s June 2021 unemployment rate of 6.4% is more than twice what it was prior to the pandemic – it was 2.6% in December 2019. Even so, companies in almost all industries today are really struggling to find workers.

I have always loved statistics, as the numbers really do tell the story. This year, we have seen our average applications per job go from 55 in January, to 22 in March, to 18 in May. These numbers were in the 60’s in 2020, and in the 70’s in 2019. It is just getting harder and harder to find candidates.

In one way or another, the key factors causing this candidate shortage certainly can be attributed to the pandemic. Whether it is those who are happy to remain on extended unemployment benefits, or those who are hesitant to return to work for fear of contracting Covid, the list goes on and on.

Regardless of the reasons for the candidate shortage, adjustments need to be made in hiring strategies in order for companies to fill their open positions.

1. Be quick to extend job offers to good candidates.

You know when you meet a great candidate. If that happens to be the first person that you interview, trust your instincts and don’t risk losing them while you wait to round up three more candidates to meet with.

2. Focus more on the “person” than the “qualifications”.

Every good job description should have a section for qualifications. Except for those highly skilled or technical positions, change as many of your qualification “requirements” as you can to “preferences”.

Focus more on identifying the right cultural fit. If you have the right person, they will be able to learn your new software or be trained on how to complete a lien waiver, for example. We’ve had one client that wouldn’t budge on the hard requirement of someone being a Notary Public, even though this can be easily and quickly attained.

3. Tap into the candidate pool from different position types and industries.

If you are hiring an Administrative Assistant, consider hiring someone looking to transition out of a serving or retail job. These individuals generally have great customer service and people skills and are well-trained in diplomacy. They are also experienced problem-solvers and multi-taskers. And since they’re not used to having a “9-5” job, they tend not to be clock-watchers – they are just happy to have their weekends and evenings free!

Military veterans are another highly motivated, skilled, and hard-working group trying to make the not-always-easy transition from the armed services to the private sector. And did you know that your company can get a substantial tax credit for hiring veterans? Check into the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

4. Utilize Temporary Staffing to fill open positions.

You would be surprised at how many of our temporary employees continue to get their assignments extended longer than anticipated; many of them eventually getting hired on by our client companies.

Get rid of the mindset that “it takes too long to train a temp”. They often don’t need to be trained on the full extent of the job in order to alleviate the workload from the rest of your staff. Temporary staffing not only helps with the workload but is an excellent opportunity to identify quality candidates for your company.

Read More About Temporary Staffing…


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