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How to hire in a tight recruitment market

How to hire in a tight market
Submitted by Harry Double on

Hiring great employees is hard work at the best of times, but it's even harder when the job market is tight.

Many employers are afraid that the current shortage of talent is going to be long-lasting. This poses serious problems for their future, from succession planning leaving gaps for leadership positions, to a lack of the skills needed to simply keep business going.

If you're finding it tough to recruit talent at the moment, here are some practical tips and tricks to help you find the right people for your business.

Note: This works for retention of existing employees as well as attracting new talent!

Properly research the job market

The first step in hiring successfully in tough times is to understand what skills are in demand in your industry. You can do this by researching the job market and looking at similar roles that have been advertised, or by speaking to people who work in similar roles within your company. 

Once you know what skills are required, it's important to look at how much competition there is for those skills. 

This will help give you an idea of how competitive your vacancy is likely to be when it goes live on the market (and therefore how hard you are going to have to work to secure the talent).

Review your salary structure

Obviously, when competition to hire is high, salaries are pushed up. Likewise, if there isn’t such an extensive appetite to hire, pay expectations shouldn’t be so inflated.

It is vital that you are aware of up-to-date salary bandings for the role(s) you are looking to fill. Using salary guides or the expert insights of your recruitment partner will help give you the best insights here.

If you are paying the market rate, then you should be able to attract candidates. However, if you're not paying what others are offering, then it may be worth looking at whether you’re able to increase your pay rates.

Consider hiring contractors or temporary employees

Hiring temporary employees or contractors can be a good option if you need extra help. 

Hiring these types of workers is a quicker, and sometimes more cost-effective, solution than hiring full-time employees. They're often more flexible, helping you improve the agility of your business - hugely important when times are tough.

Depending on your needs and budget, either type of worker can be an ideal fit for your company during the busy season, when there's an unexpected vacancy, or when you’re struggling to find a permanent employee who fits your requirements.

Emphasise career development of your employees

You should also make sure that you have plenty of training opportunities available for your employees, so they can grow within the company. 

When it comes to hiring new people, employers look for candidates who have already demonstrated their ability to learn and develop skills. Equally, professionals look for employers who offer these opportunities - it’s one of the most valued benefits you can offer.

Employees who develop their skills are more valuable than those who don't, even if they’re less experienced.

Embrace flexibility in working patterns

One of the key aspects of flexible working patterns is understanding your employees' needs and meeting them.

Always consider the many different ways in which you can offer flexibility, as failing to do so will significantly restrict your talent pool:

  • Flexible hours - Employees can choose when they start and finish work within their contracted hours. This could be useful if they have childcare arrangements or other commitments outside of work hours.
  • Remote working - Many people want to now have the opportunity to work remotely for at least some of the week. 
  • Hybrid working - A blend of remote and in-office working, which can be flexible throughout the week.

Offer the right benefits and perks

When it comes to benefits and perks, there are two things you need to know: what's commonly available in your industry and how to make your offering attractive.

Once you've identified which benefits would be most useful for your current situation (and budget), start thinking about how best to convey their value during interviews so candidates know exactly why they should choose you over another company.

Hire for culture fit, not just skills

Hiring for culture fit is the most important step in any recruitment process. It's one thing to have a job opening and another to fill it with the right person - someone who will bring value to your company, work well with others and make an impact. 

Culture fit is about finding people who share your values and want to be part of what makes your business great. When hiring for culture fit:

  • Ask questions that reveal candidates' motivations and interests outside of work (e.g., "What are some things that motivate/excite/challenge you?")
  • Look at how candidates interact with other employees during interviews

You can teach someone new skills but it's hard to change their personality or attitudes once they've been hired.

Pay attention to diversity and inclusion

Don't just focus on diversity in terms of race, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity encompasses a wide range of experiences that can add value to your business.

In order to create a diverse workplace, you should consider hiring people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. For example, consider:

  • People who have been out of work for several years or recently graduated from college
  • People  who speak another language fluently (or even just understand it)
  • Encourage people from different departments within your company to interact with each other more often than usual by holding events outside the office space

You can still recruit great employees in a tight market if you're smart about it

Remember that your job is to find the right people for your company, not just any available candidate. 

By doing thorough research and finding candidates who fit your culture and values, you can build a strong team that will help make your business successful.