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5 Tips for Attracting the Best Job Candidates in Today's Labor Market

Business leaders need to make sure that potential employees are the best long-term fit for their organization.

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The landscape has changed dramatically for businesses accessing the labor market pool. Employers have to rethink how to approach prospective employees if they plan on meeting their hiring demands. Job shortages have created a frenzy where companies are scrambling to adopt a new approach to hiring new team members in pursuit of a different type of job engagement.

Every day I coach companies that are desperate to find workers who can support their growing business. Many of these businesses have unfortunately had to turn business away, because they don’t have enough staff to support the influx of work. According to the most recent Labor Department’s Jolt Report, more than nine million jobs are available and yet employers cannot find employees.

From the hardware store manager, to the local restaurant owner, to the window cleaning vendor — businesses are crying out for more employees. Recently I was visiting a local recreation center in New York City that has been paying their lifeguards $30 an hour because of the employee shortages. While this is an exceptional living wage, it is not sustainable for many small businesses trying to grow their company.

Related: There's a Skilled Trade Labor Shortage. Can We Fix It?

There are many factors that have contributed to the labor challenges we face. If companies want to attract the best candidates for their workforce, they need to consider the following I.H.E.L.P. strategies. These focus on the top five key action items that will support a faster and more engaged employee.  

1. Intrigue

Humans need to be intrigued and inspired. Don’t just share the actual position, but intrigue them about your company’s culture, values and vision. Whenever I take on a new staff member, I always share the origin story that inspired the company. Inevitably, after hearing the story, they are moved by the dedication and commitment to serve small businesses. In turn, they realize that the company is always striving for improvement, often inspiring them to perform and contribute to the growth.

2. Help first

When I review posts online, it is often centered on helping a company with their needs. The game has changed, and it’s time that employers reverse the copy and focus on the potential employee's needs first. Design the ad to focus on how you can help them. Prospects are searching for an environment that they can learn, thrive and excel in, and it is critical you consider their desires in the context of the job recruitment process.

3. Engage with new information

Our brain constantly wants to learn new information. We want to improve ourselves each day. New ways of processing data helps our mind stay fresh and excited. As an employer, you can offer an opportunity to have each employee read through a book on company time, listen to an impactful podcast, or enroll in a course to improve their skills set. One of the benefits I offer my staff is devoting 20% of their time to learning a new skill. The team loves the opportunity for ongoing growth and development.

Related: Employers Need To Freshen Up Their Playbook In The Fight To Attract and Retain Talent

4. Let them dream

Everyone has dreams they are trying to aspire to reach. Engage with their dreams and help them achieve them. It may be a dream to travel to a particular destination, complete a degree in school, or engage in a specific event. As their employer, it would be advantageous for you to work with them to achieve their personal goals in collaboration with their career goals.

In other cases, an individual’s dream may be to achieve a reasonable work-life balance environment. One of the benefits that merged from the pandemic was the opportunity for employees to experience telecommuting and spend more time working in different environments. While this may not be possible for many retail companies, providing flexible shifts or offering a four day workweek may be a way to address additional freedom that many are desperately seeking as a permanent part of their lifestyle. 

5. Position for profit

Many argue that money isn’t everything when trying to entice an employee to onboard, but it sure helps to be able to pay them more than they expected to receive. Most companies provide commissions, bonus structures and opportunities for salary increases. Profit sharing may also be a consideration as it allows everyone to benefit from the company’s financial success. Don’t negate the power of non-traditional benefits as well. One company I counseled partnered with a meal delivery program and now offers homemade style dinners for all of their evening shift technicians. It was a small amount of financial investment for a huge return on investment, because employees felt their needs were being addressed in an innovative approach.

The reality is that employers have to rethink their workforce and can no longer follow the same process. The new approach to hiring needs to focus on each person’s desires for their ideal role, not just the skill sets they may bring to a company.  

Kedma Ough, MBA

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Kedma Ough has advised more than 10,000 businesses. Recognized as the Small Business Superhero, Ough's has consulted inventors and entrepreneurs for 20 years. McGraw-Hill published her best-selling book, 'Target Funding.' Her favorite game is 'Monopoly.'