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Hiring in Today's Job Market: 5 Tips for Being Proactive

June 21, 2018

If your organization is not feeling the effects of a tight labor market now, there is a good possibility that you will in the near future. Unemployment rates are at an all-time low and quality job candidates are scarce, making filling open positions difficult for many organizations.

How can you stay on top of this shift in the labor market? What are some ways in which you can alter your recruitment and selection strategies to fill positions, but fill positions with the right candidates?

Here Are 5 Steps to Consider:

1: Start with the end in mind.

Take a moment to identify what the goals are for your selection process. Do you want to hire individuals that will perform well? Behave safely on the job? Show up on time day after day? Or do you just to get a warm body in place? Knowing what your end goals are and referring back to them when designing or making decisions about your selection process will help you make advantageous (versus rash) decisions.

2: Think about your recruitment practices.

In order to select the right people, you first need to drive candidates into your selection funnel. Think creatively about your sourcing strategies. Have you tried text-based recruiting or geofencing? Think outside the box when it comes to different types of candidates, with different types of experiences. Quality candidates into the pipeline mean quality hires. Plan for a time where your candidate pipeline might be dry by familiarizing yourself with alternative recruitment strategies.

3: Focus on the candidate experience.

In a tight labor market or not, your selection process should be informative, engaging, and easy to navigate.

  • Are you taking advantage of technology to create a seamless candidate experience? For example, if a large portion of your applicants apply via mobile device, make sure your application and any assessments are mobile optimized, not just mobile enabled. Read more: How to Make Your Employee Selection Process Mobile-Friendly

  • Set appropriate expectations with your candidates about what the selection process entails, next steps (and where they are in the process), and timing. This might mean extra communication via text, email reminders, or even phone calls. If you are not reaching out to your candidates, someone else is.

  • Make sure that the steps in your process are informative, face-valid, and job-related. Leverage opportunities to give candidates a realistic job preview (RJP) of the role they are applying to. Make sure that the assessments you use are measuring job-relevant behavioral competencies and skills and feel like they are relevant to the role.  Ask behavior based interview questions that are relevant to the job.

4 and 5: Use data to make decisions and streamline your selection process. 

The selection process that you put in place when the market was in your favor is no longer the selection process that will serve your organization best now. It makes sense to think about streamlining your selection process, especially when applicant volume might be lower and it will be more difficult to get candidates through the hiring process. What does NOT make sense is to take a rash, hurried approach to these changes based on conjecture and hiring manager feedback alone. Use data to help make decisions about process changes.

First, evaluate your current process:

  • What does candidate volume and throughput look like?
  • What do the candidate completion rates look like for your application, assessment, interview, etc.?
  • What does your candidate reaction data say?
  • What percent of candidates are passing each hurdle in your selection process – are these still the right targets?
  • Between hurdles (e.g., before an assessment, before an interview, before a drug screen), what are your drop-out rates?
  • How long is it taking for HR to invite candidates to the next step in the process?
  • Are you interviewing all available candidates in a timely manner?

Use this information to make some changes. Be mindful to keep in place the steps that add the most objective and robust information while still maintaining a positive and engaging experience.

Then, consider:

  • Streamlining your application content.
  • Removing redundant steps in the process. For example, do you really need three interviews or would one or two suffice?
  • Adjust the placement of your assessment by moving from a screen-out (great for high volume) to a screen-in (better for lower volume) approach.
  • Adjust your target pass rates.
  • Increase your candidate communications between steps to make sure candidates who pass step A move on to step B in a timely manner.

The changing nature of the labor market will affect the way that you and your company approach your recruitment and selection strategies. It’s important to stay in front of these changes, and with a well thought out approach you can be ahead of the curve. Work with your consulting team to define your goals, realistically identify your recruitment strategies and anticipated applicant volume, and design/redesign a process that’s going to help you hire the types of candidates you need, with the resources you have available.

This is the final post of a blog series on Manufacturing Hiring in a Tight Labor Market. The other posts in the series can be found here:

hiring for cultural fit

Laurie Wasko, Ph.D. Laurie Wasko, Ph.D. was the Director of Consulting Services at PSI.