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5 Top Tips for Hiring in a Tight Job Market Just because it's a candidate's market doesn't mean all the top talent is taken.

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There's no better time than the present to be looking for a new career opportunity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings nationwide has risen steadily since the end of the Great Recession, reaching 7.2 million positions in July 2019 with a ratio of less than one unemployed person per job opening.

As many key employees leave to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities in the market, today's companies are doing their best to vie for top talent with enhanced compensation and benefits packages, outstanding amenities and an escalating menu of enticing perks. With competing employers constantly upping the ante and heightening candidates's expectations, companies with hiring needs must establish a targeted recruitment strategy to stand out and attract talent. Here are five top tips for hiring the strongest candidates in the current employment climate.

Related: Tips for Finding a Job in the Hidden Job Market

1. Define your search strategy.

Top employers are using a variety of methods to identify qualified candidates. A balanced search strategy that integrates effective online tools will serve today's companies well. Smart employers are enhancing their websites to sell their company's story and culture to candidates. Additionally, companies are investing in targeted tools such as LinkedIn to ensure the right candidates see their job postings. Firms that are willing to pay for prominent placements on LinkedIn and other social-media platforms are gaining the most exposure and winning top candidates.

For companies that prefer to avoid sifting through hundreds of resumes, partnering with a specialized and seasoned recruitment firm can deliver qualified candidates that are aligned with company needs. For example, our firm has a proprietary database of more than 50,000 experienced candidates in the real estate sector, a resource that helps companies more quickly connect with candidates and reduce search time.

2. Hone the interview process.

Before conducting any interviews, employers should clearly outline the qualities they are seeking in a candidate, prioritize those qualities and formulate questions that will reveal those qualities (or lack thereof). Create a list of "must-haves," "like-to-haves" and "nice-to-haves," then refer to that list while interviewing to measure how a candidate compares to the ideal.

Employers should also be up-to-date on questions that cannot legally be asked on an application or during an interview. For example, in 2018, California passed a law prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories. Knowing which laws apply in which states can prevent legal hassles and headaches down the road.

Once a candidate has accepted an interview, employers should take the time to define who will represent the company in the process, including what specific information they are responsible for gathering from the candidate's responses. It's important to remember that in the current candidate's market, the best talent is often being wooed by several companies at the same time. An interview will provide a candidate with their first glance into the company's day-to-day operations and is a tremendous opportunity for an employer to sell their firm. For these reasons, interviews should always be conducted in a professional, private area that is free from distractions or potential interruptions.

3. Develop the right compensation package.

In order to compete and win top talent, today's companies are re-examining compensation and benefits packages to align with current standards. Our firm's recently conducted national survey revealed that compensation for real estate financial analysts, for example, has jumped by 29 percent in the past six years. Many other sectors are following suit, increasing salaries while also offering a wealth of perks consistent with the needs of today's workforce, including flexible schedules and work-from-home programs, on-site amenities such as fitness and wellness programs, as well as robust health insurance, 401(k) plans and procedures for long-term growth.

4. Keep workplace amenities up to date.

Workplace amenities have reset the bar for today's companies. Offices that feature state-of-the-art technology are a must, while other attributes that top talent look for include:

  • A stocked kitchen or gourmet food offerings.
  • Walkability to daily needs and conveniences like coffee shops, dry cleaners, restaurants and hair and nail salons.
  • An on-site fitness center or membership to a nearby health club.
  • On-site concierge services that save workers time by completing daytime errands.

Appearance matters, too -- the way a workplace looks speaks volumes about how well-capitalized the firm is and how the company treats its employees, and candidates are taking notice. A clean, well-maintained and landscaped space with updated features demonstrates that management cares about its team, and today's candidates are drawn to companies whose leaders show they care.

5. Focus on culture.

Organizational culture is one of the most important features today's workers are conscious of. Employees who fit into a company culture feel they belong, are willing to work hard and enjoy coming to work each day. That's a powerful combination, and it makes for higher productivity levels.

Company culture can be quite diverse. Some firms are more collaborative and have a wide variety of committees and meetings, while others provide the space for employees to work more independently and expect them to do so. Some companies have more established top-down policies, while others are more employee-led and directed. Employers should have a clear sense of their company culture and hire candidates that will thrive within it. Those hires are more likely to contribute their best work and help the company achieve its strategic goals.

Related: 4 Hiring Practices You Needed to Drop Yesterday

While the war for talent rages on, firms that have a targeted recruitment strategy in place will be best positioned to attract top candidates and ensure they accept a position when offered. By defining solid search and interview processes, re-examining compensation and benefits, paying attention to office amenities and matching candidates with company culture, today's firms are laying the groundwork to win the talent war and achieve success for years to come.

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