October 19, 2022

9 tips for recruiting in an employee’s market

With unemployment at its lowest rate since the 1960s, many employers face a recruitment market they’ve never before experienced, referred to as an “employee’s market”. Gone are the days of multiple quality applicants and prolonged interview processes. Instead, for some, it has become a matter of getting someone – anyone – just to do the job and keep the business going. But even though it may not feel like it, there are still opportunities to recruit long-term staff and build a quality, high-performing team, even in times like these. We explore how you can do it.  

1. Take a step back

In an employee’s market like this, the reality is that recruiting often involves negotiating with a party that’s coming from a stronger position than yours. So, as with any negotiation, take a step back and think about why it is you need to recruit in the first place. What tasks will you need them to perform? How can they perform them? And what contribution do you ideally want them to make to your workplace? Now, when you’re recruiting, you have an idea of your bottom line.

2. Be flexible

When the employee holds the aces, you may have to look at what delivers on your needs rather than what’s ideal. If they want to work remotely a bit more often than you’d ideally like, it could be the price you have to pay to secure a decent employee.

Think outside the box when it comes to working arrangements too. For instance, could you be better off hiring two part-time employees rather than one full-time? Could you offer perks that make you a preferred employer? Again, when it’s about your bottom line rather than just going through the motions and doing what has always been done, you open yourself up to all kinds of new ideas.

3. Look in new places

In an employee’s market like this, you often need to get on the front foot and look for new employees rather than waiting for them to come to you.

So how are you trying to attract new hires? And where do you put the message out? There was a day when job ads went in the Saturday paper. Now, they can come from anywhere. Think about where your potential recruits are likely to be What do they read? What sites do they visit? And what social media do they consume?

These days it’s much easier to target the right people than it has ever been, so there’s no excuse for not connecting. 

4. Look forward

People are often more willing to move to a company when they have a clear path for them. So before you go to the market, think about where your new employee’s career could take them, and sell this to them. If you really want to recruit good talent, let them into your strategy. Show them where they fit in now and where you see them within the organisation going forward.

5. Sell yourself

Some organisations take the approach that marketing is limited to selling to clients, but the best companies know it also involves selling themselves to prospective employees. Why else would some of the biggest companies devote serious time and effort to recruitment advertising? 

If your website isn’t telling your business’s story with potential new employees in mind, change that now. Why not tell the story of some of your best employees and why they’ve come to you, and showcase the kind of career potential recruits could have?

6. Be prepared to offer more 

While pay isn’t everything, it does matter. When you go into any recruitment process, you need to know the most you’re willing to pay. If you’re hoping to attract and retain people, that may be a little more than you’d initially hoped.

But even if it’s expensive in the short term, attracting the best employees should be worth it – especially in the long run.

7. Think retention

While it’s important to go on the attack and recruit new staff, it’s often just as vital to play defence and keep the staff you already have. After all, like you, your competitors are probably trying to attract key personnel. Where better place to find them than from your workplace? Focusing on keeping current employees content reaps dividends when it comes to attracting new staff too. Outsiders notice when a workplace is a happy one, and they can tell when employees are discontent.

Read this if you need help on retention strategies that don’t involve paying more.

8. Enlist outside help

A lot of businesses shun recruiters and headhunters, thinking that their cost doesn’t justify the expense. But, it’s times like these – when labour is short, that it often does. If you can’t recruit internally, now could be the time to enlist outside help to find a decent candidate.

9. Reorganise

Finally, if you can’t fill a job, you’ll have to work with what you’ve got. But rather than just sticking someone else on it and doubling their work, maybe it’s time to reshuffle responsibilities.

Don’t just pick apart the job you need to be filled and section off parts of it, look at a range of jobs, who does what and see how the load can be shared around and better managed. That may involve automating or using technology in some other capacity, but it may also mean changing roles and titles and asking others to step up. The sweetener, of course, will be that you’ll have saved money on recruitment – which could even go as a pay rise to those with new responsibilities.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about recruiting in today’s marketplace, get in touch.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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