The employment rate has sunk to 5.0%, considered by many economists to be the full employment level. What does this all mean for the business owner? Employment is booming, which means a tight labor market, especially when searching for an excellent employee.
What is a small business owner to do? Here are some tips about how to survive and attract great employees in a tight labor market
Be more forthcoming in the job description
A tight labor market means employees can be more selective about jobs. Consider expanding a job description and increasing transparency about its role and responsibilities. This transparency will help attract quality employees, rather than average candidates.
It can also be advantageous to disclose the salary and benefits in the job description. Job seekers often guess whether or not a job is a promotion or increase in compensation simply by the job title. There is little evidence to show this is an accurate method of comparison. For example, “Financial Adviser” could be a $40,000 job or a $150,000 job depending on several factors. An accurate and forthcoming job description ensures employee don't discount your posting because of their inaccurate ideas.
Expand your search area
Standard career advice for new graduates or any job seeker is to network, network, and network. Well did you know that you, the employer, could network as well? This can be a great way to hire someone. It could even take less time as you do not have to sort through hundreds of resumes.
Reach out to other companies in your area or industry and see if they had anyone apply that was a great candidate, but were not hired. Ask current employees if they know of anyone with the required skills for the position. Always remember the labor market is a two way street and an active employer can increase the speed with which they fill a position by tapping other resources.
Consider increasing benefits or perks of the job
Supply and Demand is one of the basic tenets of a capitalistic economy. Most people understand that this tenet applies to goods and services; it can also apply to labor. If there is more labor then jobs, more supply then demand, then wages fall and employers can be selective. If the inverse is true, more demand than supply, employers might be forced to increase wages and offer higher benefits. This can help employers attract more resumes to their job postings and more qualified candidates. However, this is a difficult decision for small business owners, who can little afford to offer 5% more in 401k matches without hurting the bottom line.
Small Business owners who are strapped for cash but want to attract candidates by increasing their benefits package can consider adding or improving non-monetary benefits. Relaxing the dress code, allowing partial or full telecommuting, and increased opportunity for internal training as well as advancement are just some of the benefits you could offer. It is well documented that employees work for so many reasons other than just a paycheck so that could work in your favor.
Consider a more open-ended job description
The smaller your business, the more hats every employee has to fill. Do you need someone to do a bit of everything around the office? How do you fit that into a 4 or 5 word job title?
If you need a well-rounded generalist who can handle a variety of roles, consider a flexible job description that does not emphasize a restrictive job title or qualifications.
Be honest about what you need and try to show the potential employee that you have an open and honest culture. Some people need structure to thrive and will not be enthused by your open-ended job; but it might attract the outgoing and ambitious person you crave.
Many employers understand that using the Craigslist page for their city or even a specific job board such as MilwaukeeJobs.com can help them more accurately target candidates in their area. However, did you know there are even more ways than that to amazing local employees?
Many tech companies have had success using social media to recruit but it can work for any business. Consider posting your job description to a Reddit page for your city or area. Consider posting on a Facebook group that is applicable to your industry and area
There are many other creative ways to find local employees. You could advertise on the radio, use a billboard next to a freeway, even using your LinkedIn account to attract a qualified employee.