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3 Great Ways to Solve Hiring Challenges

All signs point to an increasing and prolonged tightening of the labor market, which is why it's important to consider alternative strategies to traditional recruiting.

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If you’re an entrepreneur struggling to fill open positions, you’re not alone. According to the Small Business Report of the National Federation of Independent Business, unfilled job openings have reached a record high, with 92% of business owners reporting that their job postings have attracted few or no candidates. 

Since filling open positions has become more and more challenging, it’s time you considered these three alternatives to traditional hiring.   

1. Think globally

The U.S. represents one-quarter of today’s 1.3 billion English speakers and is outnumbered by the English-speaking residents of Pakistan, India and the Philippines — where there is a vast supply of qualified job seekers.     

By reaching beyond our borders, you can fill your positions with skilled, educated team members from abroad. Millions of college-educated job seekers are eager to support you as you grow your business — and they’ll also help improve your bottom line as average wages for qualified individuals in the developing world are typically 50% to 80% lower than comparable U.S.-based employees.  

Sourcing remote offshore talent is now easier than ever. You’ll be able to find qualified team members by advertising on freelancing websites or by contracting with a business-process-outsourcing company, also known as a “BPO.”

Typically, working directly with an overseas freelancer will be less expensive and provide you with more flexibility than using a BPO, especially if you’re looking for less than ten employees. However, if you’re focused on achieving greater scale and predictability, a reputable BPO can provide you with vetted, full-time resources who generally work from their secure facilities and report to an overseas manager. BPOs generally charge either a monthly fee per full-time equivalent employee or a unit-based fee; either way, you’ll pay a premium compared to hiring directly.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for qualified developers, accountants, receptionists, data-entry clerks, customer-success representatives or marketing professionals, you will likely find the talent you need if you’re willing to "go global." 

Related: Workers Are 'Rage Quitting' Jobs in a Tightening Labor Market

2. Embrace technology

The most effective solutions to many of your resource gaps may be tech, rather than human resources. In fact, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic-process automation (RPA) and other technology tools are empowering many business owners to address operational challenges and better support their customers. These solutions can also streamline existing processes and workflows, lightening the load of your existing team. 

According to McKinsey & Company, three-quarters of businesses are, or will soon be, automating one or more of their business processes. Those who are succeeding with automation are generally identifying its use as a key strategic priority and then systematically tackling this priority through a tight collaborative effort between internal operations and IT stakeholders. As a result, they are increasing operational efficiency and positioning themselves to drive growth while at the same time reducing their dependency on human resources. 

One tool that is growing in popularity within the automation world is RPA, which is used to automate routine, high-volume tasks. While RPA has been used by IT teams for years, it has now evolved into a readily deployable solution requiring little or no coding ­— thereby placing it within reach of non-IT buyers. In fact, much of its near-term growth will come from business buyers who have little or no IT background.  

Other tech tools that are increasing in popularity include application-programming interfaces (APIs), which reduce manual data entry and enable business owners to harness the power of disparate applications and their related data. Similarly, deployable bots handle an increasing share of level one customer support, and AI-enabled software is being used by businesses, small and large, to reduce reliance on administrative-support staff, developers, accountants, lawyers and other expensive human resources.  

Software may not be the sole answer to all your staffing needs; however, the latest technology tools can certainly help solve many of your resource challenges and further support your team. 

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

3. Find a strategic partner 

Successful business leaders recognize their core competencies and surround themselves with partners who can manage the areas where they lack expertise.  

Consider building a strategic partnership with another business that has proven expertise in a business area that lies outside of your core competency. For example, if you operate a service business, consider outsourcing a portion of your customer-support role to a company that excels in providing such support across multiple channels. If you run a medical practice, consider partnering with an established billing company that charges a success-based fee rather than incurring internal, fixed personnel costs. If you sell goods or services and rely on an internal telemarketing team that generates lackluster results, consider a third-party lead generation or telemarketing provider that charges lead-based and conversion-based fees.  

Regardless of the type of support you are seeking, there is likely a business partner in the marketplace hyper-focused on the expertise you need. Best of all, these partnerships often require much less ramp-up time and are more cost-efficient than onboarding a new hire.

All signs point to an increasing and prolonged tightening of the labor market, which is why it’s important to consider alternative strategies to traditional recruiting. Expand your search for talent beyond our borders, embrace technology and consider a third-party partner with proven competence and expertise to augment your talent-acquisition strategy. 

Related: Unemployment Claims Fall to Pandemic Low Amid Tight Labor Market

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Stephen Snyder, a business leader and attorney, has served in various executive roles including general counsel and president and CEO of a Nasdaq listed technology company. His background and writings focus on growth, technology, M&A, IPOs, business financing, strategy and governance.