5 Hiring Strategies You Should be Using in a Labor Shortage

Improve your interview process to both find better matches for your company and draw in talent.

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By David Partain

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In our global market, businesses in every industry have to work increasingly hard to attract and retain talent. In the context of the Great Resignation, though, the stakes are even higher. In the U.S. alone, job openings reached a record 11.5 million in March 2022. This reveals how badly businesses are struggling to differentiate themselves, present themselves attractively and maintain while expanding their teams. If you count yourself among the companies that have a big demand for highly-skilled workers, these five strategies might help you recruit and hire qualified people.

1. Up your interview game

In my experience, managers are not the greatest interviewers. They're used to focusing on areas like analyzing and delegating. So they often struggle to ask enough good questions and get caught up in one-sided discussions of the organization. The solution is to train your manager on how to interview well. Your company's managers might need slightly different strategies compared to another business based on the nature of your industry. The key is to remember that you're not just finding out about the candidate. You're also conducting a sales process where your representative needs to convince the candidate you've got a great company.

2. Be transparent in the work

Recruiters and interviewers need to get workers in the door quickly to minimize losses. In today's labor shortage, the temptation might be to focus on how your company can help them in the immediate moment. You might emphasize your new perks packages or try to make the role the candidate wants sound especially exciting or positive. But hiring is a long game. You need to be thinking about the long-term value a new employee can bring. Remember that it's cheaper to keep a loyal employee than it is to recruit and hire over and over.

So don't just show the candidate the here and now. Show them the different paths the job could take them on with your business, going out five, 10 or even 15 years down the road. Try to connect those potential paths to the vision they have for their career. And be clear about how you'd support them in a variety of options they choose moving forward.

3. Streamline the application process

Applying for a job can be nerve-wracking for a candidate. This stress, combined with the fact that competitors might be eagerly contacting the candidate with offers, means you need to streamline the application process. Don't wait to contact someone when they submit their resume. Ideally, call them to thank them for applying. This might take some time compared to an email you can template, but that's the point — it's personal. It's also the perfect time to ask the candidate if there are any other positions at your business they are interested in. This question opens the door for them to talk about the goals they have for their life. And it helps you avoid pigeonholing the person before you know all they can offer.

4. Show them the money

Even a few years ago, a competitive salary might have been enough to woo a candidate if your competitors had similar requirements for a role. As the economy still shakes from Covid-19, though, this no longer is true. With inflation above eight percent, candidates don't just want more. They need more to cover living costs, including food, transportation and rent.

As you look at your budget and talk with interviewees, remember that you can go beyond a better salary or hourly rate. Working from home has value. So does paying off student loans. These can be seen in the same vein as paying employees to get certifications or degrees.

In my own business, I got creative with an employee I have stationed in London. For her to commute to the office three times a week, she was shelling out nearly £400 a month. I recognized that she was very productive working from home. So we compromised to have her come into the office just once a week instead. Those savings made a difference for her and helped show her I was empathetic to her unique needs.

Related: A Healthy Approach to Hiring That Actually Works

5. Outline a time to connect

Not every business can let their employees work from home because of the type of work involved. Your company may be in a position where at least some of your people can be remote. So be clear right from the beginning in the interview process that work-from-home doesn't mean working alone. Tell the candidate exactly what days you'll expect them to be face-to-face. Let them know you intend to schedule meetings and other events to make the most of that time. Make sure they know that those days are the best opportunities to connect, ask questions and get help.

Related: Deep Work in the Office Will Look Different Now

The differentiator you can always count on

Competitors have no reason to take it easy on you when it comes to grabbing the best talent. To survive in the labor shortage, you have to play the game just as seriously as they do. Conducting your recruitment and hiring with the above strategies can make it clearer to candidates that you're after a long-term win for both you and them. That's a differentiator in itself you can maintain even in calmer markets, so don't underestimate its value.

Related: Get Creative to Uncover Top Talent When You're Hiring

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David Partain

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CMO of FlexShares

David Partain is SVP of Northern Trust and CMO of their subsidiary, FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds. He has over 15 years of marketing, sales and finance expertise and was named one of the "20 Rising Stars in Finance" by the Gramercy Institute.

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