Top 3 Tips to Hire in a Tight Labor Market

We know it’s not news that the hiring landscape is challenging right now. (In case you want more details, though, here’s a link to our last article titled “So much work. Too few people. How to solve it.) So, the first challenge is finding talent at all. But once you do, how do you seal the deal on the best talent in a competitive marketplace?

Think like talent.

Take off your hiring manager hat, and put on your candidate cap. What are the talent’s needs and priorities? The biggest stumble we see is thinking it’s the same as yours, or mirrors at all how you traversed your career into leadership (i.e. a lot of sacrifice). Whereas onsite fun and food, taking your dog to work, and working long hours felt like a “good trade”, that was so very 2019. Now, what do candidates care about most? Living their #bestlife. So, what are we hearing?

Talent’s top priorities:

  1. Learning & Growth
    We’re not talking about a one-day conference or even an online course. Your engaged employees truly want opportunities to expand their skill sets, hone their abilities, and fill in knowledge gaps while doing their job (not extra work to learn on nights and weekends to “fit it in”). One of our clients added “avid learner” as a key value of their company culture, and it has been a beacon of light when priorities are shifting and work is hard, those moments when people might wonder ‘is this worth it? Where will this take me?’ The company who wins the best talent finds ways to make it easy for people to grow in their roles, and not just advance through promotion (but they would like that, too).
  2. Inclusion & Appreciation
    Candidates want to know they are joining an organization where they will feel a sense of belonging and are truly a valued member. Will their ideas and solutions be listened to fairly and openly? Will their contributions be acknowledged? Will they receive candid and kind feedback on how they can keep growing? If you can answer yes to all of those, you’ll be well on your way to attracting (and retaining) the best talent.
  3. Remote Work Options
    The pandemic revealed that big goals like creativity, profitability, as well as a host of other key measures leaders care about weren’t devastated by remote work like they feared. In fact, a study by Mercer found that 94% of 800 employers said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely.” While WFH doesn’t work for every employee or company, people want the option to choose what works best for them. A recent article from Forbes outlines the positives and negatives of a remote workforce, and has some suggestions of how to make it work. Whatever form it takes, your talent wants remote work by design (not by necessity).
  4. Support, Support, and Support
    Both you and your candidate want to taste the savory sweetness of success. To you, that means moving your company forward. But to candidates, it means knowing who has their back and how they will get the support they need to flourish. Candidates carefully consider the leadership team and their boss in particular. Is their manager authentic? Going to champion them? Protect them? Give them interesting work and challenges? As an organization, make sure you have the right team in place to help the best talent shine, and include them in the interviewing and in sealing the deal! Use your power wisely.

Hire creatively.

Add a little adventure into where you source your candidates. For example, Starbucks and Soul Cycle reported strong outcomes from hiring actors. The quality they appreciate most about people who pursue that career is that they can think on their feet and juggle multiple roles. Other companies seek out student athletes. These candidates have the ability to perform under pressure, “grind it out” when the going gets rough, and manage multiple priorities. So, broaden your pool of candidates and consider people with experience outside of whatever status quo exists in your sourcing. Dare to expand!

Look for potential instead of perfection.

Don’t lower your expectations, but temper your requirements. Learn how to be satisfied with a candidate who is 80% ideal instead of 110% awesome (it’s why people call them “dream candidates”… it’s just a dream). People are interesting, messy, and have loads of potential, but they aren’t perfect. Hire candidates who have the right attitude, capability to quickly learn and adapt, and complement your culture. You can train for other key ingredients. Win meet win.

Did we miss anything? What insights do you have to find talent in an environment which is a candidate’s market? Let us know over on LinkedIn.

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