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Hiring in a Booming Economy

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The US economy is still sizzling hot in the middle of 2018. Unemployment rates are near historic lows and companies are hiring new employees at a rapid pace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now fewer unemployed people than job openings—a first since the 2008 recession. It’s a great time to be a job-seeker, but a tricky one to be a hiring manager.

Many companies must rethink their hiring strategies as demand for new employees outpaces supply. That doesn’t mean that HR doesn’t have applicants—online application tools have made it easier than ever for candidates to apply with a few clicks on their mobile device. But in this deluge of resumes, employers are struggling to find the wheat in application pools that are mostly chaff.

Fortunately, there are a few steps every talent acquisition department can take to make it through prosperous times. From dealing with the skills gap to taking better advantage of technology, a little planning can go a long way.

Make Your Name Heard

For recruiters, the most important result of a booming economy is that the best (and second-best) talent is already employed. That does not mean that employees are not willing to change jobs. Many employees fall somewhere between actively searching and unwilling to change. These passive candidates who are open to new opportunities are your targets.

If you’re not already contacting the candidates in your database, put together a plan for a drip sourcing campaign. Drip campaigns are a great way to boost your employer brand and keep your company’s name top-of-mind when employees begin a job search. If you aren’t proactively communicating with your talent pool, you are missing out on applicants.

Second, make sure that you post all your jobs online, and that your listings are viewable through Google Jobs. Candidates might not bother searching an individual company website if they find opportunities they are looking for in a search window. With Avature, your job postings are automatically formatted so that they are viewable through Google, letting your team do their job rather than worrying about back-end concerns.

Hire for Potential, Not Past

Advanced degrees are nice, but are they really necessary? Increasingly, companies are dropping education and experience requirements that don’t directly pertain to job responsibilities. Many fields (like software development and data science) have more job openings than graduates from those fields can fill.

The “skills gap” is real and is likely to keep widening in coming years. This means it is time to invest in developing your current employees, and hire new ones who will be willing and able to learn. You won’t turn a graphic designer into a full-stack software developer with your in-house training program, but does your new project manager really need a statistics degree to handle the data analysis that the role requires?

When screening candidates, think about which skills employees must bring to the job, and which ones your bright, motivated hires can learn.

Attract Employees with Growth and Development Opportunities

In a booming market, companies can no longer steal the best talent from the competition just by offering a raise. Compensation and benefits are already at new heights in many competitive fields. Everyone has heard that millennials want jobs with a “culture fit,” but the ambiguity of this concept can render it nearly useless as an employer branding tool.

A more concrete way to give employees a positive workplace experience is to offer opportunities for professional development and advancement. Go beyond a simple internal careers site by building internal talent pools with detailed profiles. Your own employees are the candidates that you know the most about, so your talent acquisition team should be able to segment and target them with appropriate opportunities when they are looking for a new role. When interviewing external candidates, tout your company’s internal mobility program to show that successful employees advance within the company.

Increase Your Team’s Capacity with Technology

More job requisitions and fewer unemployed candidates means more work for HR. With your team getting crunched, the right technology can improve your team’s work capacity and minimize the mistakes that come with an overextended team. In many cases, your existing ATS and CRM technology can provide a wide range of benefits—when properly configured and used.

However, there are serious limits to off-the-shelf software bundles. To make the most of your software and ensure adoption by your own team, you want to be able to tailor the system to your needs. Hiring an SVP and a customer service associate are dramatically different tasks. Avature allows for multiple custom workflows that let you treat each candidate individually, including seamlessly switch between workflows to consider a candidate for different positions.

Additionally, using different packages to handle distinct parts of the hiring process can slow your team down and cause human errors. Combining your CRM, ATS, Onboarding and Performance Management system onto one platform ensures continuity and transparency throughout the process, as well as eliminating clunky integrations between programs.

Although the labor market is increasingly challenging for employers, there are a few reasons to be hopeful. More and more individuals are being lured back into the workforce, creating a larger labor pool. Businesses and schools are partnering to train students in the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs. Importantly, employers and employees know that no growth cycle lasts forever. Building an attractive employer brand and providing positive candidate experiences will set your team up for success during the boom and beyond.

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