4 Hiring Strategies When Talent Markets are Tight

When unemployment is down, organizations must take a more strategic approach to sourcing, recruitment and engagement. It’s unnecessary to settle for less, says a new report by IQTalent Partners, if hiring leaders consider these four key strategies.

January 14, 2019 – Everyone is readying their horses at the starting gate for the 2019 race to hire the best people in the market. But with a list of tasks distracting recruiters from delivering results in an increasingly tight hiring market, many may be at their wits’ end to find quality talent. A new report by IQTalent Partners offers four hiring strategies for recruiters when unemployment is low.

“Low unemployment means your sourcing, recruiting and engagement efforts need to be strategic,” said Chris Murdock, co-founder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners. “With more passive candidates in the market, hiring will be rough no matter how you slice it.” You could settle for less qualified applicants and struggle to get by without hiring anyone at all, he said, or you could follow these four hiring strategies to utilize your employees and recruit more effectively during low unemployment.

1. Move Existing Employees First

Internal mobility can be your greatest asset when hiring in a tight market. “If you have employees who have been with a company for a number of years, they may be ready to move on to something new,” said Mr. Murdock, who has over 12 years of executive recruiting experience. “This is especially true if they’ve reaped everything their current position has to offer them. Plus, transitioning them to a new role will help them learn new skills and develop their professional career.”

The IQTalent Partners report noted a number of takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Current employees can best train new employees for the position, even if the “new employee” is just an existing employee being transitioned into a new role.
  • Current employees already know how the organization and company culture operates.

“But also keep in mind not everyone is magically fit for a new position just because they performed well at their current one,” Mr. Murdock said. “Just like any screening and selection process, give your internal hiring process the same due diligence you would give new-to-the-company hires.”

2. Source Candidates from Different Places

There are a lot of places that you can post your job listing or advertise your open position. “I bet what instantly comes to mind for you are sites like LinkedIn, Monster.com, Indeed or ZipRecruiter,” Mr. Murdock said. “Instead of thinking of places by job board, think of the type of applicants and how they are segmented throughout the hiring market. Although old school, networking by phone and by email gets candidates’ attention in ways many recruiters don’t use anymore.”

“Fresh, entry-level talent is pouring out of universities, so college career boards, alumni groups and departmental networks are the best places to reach this demographic,” said Mr. Murdock. “These candidates are starving for work experience and make for eager applicants. While the screening process for these types of applicants may vary, they are a great opportunity to get fresh, moldable hires.”

For underemployed talent, many graduates are still working in places like Starbucks, Scooters, retail stores and other small businesses, said the IQTalent Partners report. Don’t ignore such profiles on LinkedIn just because of their current job, said the report. Check the candidates’ education, when they graduated and what they majored in. You may find talent ready to be utilized in the most overlooked places.

Related: HR Challenges Expand in the New Year

Are you only posting locally? Expand your job postings to platforms that reach nationally and internationally. “The more exposure your job post has, the larger your hiring market is,” said Mr. Murdock. “But think strategically – casting a wide net draws in talent, but they may not be the best fit for your organization.”

Are you spending too much time finding a hire and falling behind on your other tasks? Leverage a remote sourcing team, said the report. The more people you have working on your tasks, the more time you have to reallocate accordingly.

Finally, referrals are always a good way to find talent. “If you aren’t using referral bonuses or a referral rewards program, employees may not be motivated enough to reach out to people they know,” Mr. Murdock said.


Referrals Remain Preferred Source for Finding Top Talent
Seventy-one percent of HR professionals say employee referrals are the best resource for finding candidates, yet only seven percent of job seekers surveyed view referrals as their top resource for finding a job, 


“Once you know where these talent pools lie, networking by phone or email are still some of the most effective ways to connect with these candidates,” he said. “Nonetheless, there are many other ways to get in touch with these people including through acquaintances and mutual friends, meeting them at events and more.”

3. Write a Good Ad and Loosen Up Credentials

Take a second look at your ads and everywhere they are posted, suggested the IQTalent Partners report. Ask yourself these questions:

  • If you were looking for a job, would you apply based on that ad?
  • When unemployment is low and people have many other job postings to choose from, does yours stand out?

Related: Companies Adjust to Candidate-Driven Job Market

“Write attractive ad copy and turn it into something people would actually want to apply for,” Mr. Murdock said. “This is especially true for ads with credentials that no one has. When HR teams post ads with high credentials, these requirements could come from other departments covering an ideal skill-set most people don’t have.”

Keep your ad copy simple and concise. Job posting criteria like the following are too complex:

  • 12-15 years experience with React Native, Python, C#, C++
  • 7-10 years experience with NodeJS, Vue.js, Elixr, Rust
  • 8-11 years experience working with SEO using Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Must be an active “Advanced Certified ScrumMaster”
  • Ph.D. in physics required
  • 12 other impossible criteria

“It’s best to shoot for some of the requirements you’re looking for – not all,” Mr. Murdock said. “An ‘all or nothing’ approach is unrealistic in a low unemployment job market. Keeping your requirements lax will help bubble your pools back up with more interesting talent.”


How to Find Executive Leaders in a Candidate-Driven Market
Across the board, in every industry, today’s candidate-driven market is fueled by growing demand for top talent against a landscape of short supply. What led to this tight marketplace is explained in a new report by executive search firm Slayton Search Partners, which also offers suggestions to help companies attract the best talent.


“If you change your ad from five to seven years of experience to three to five, you don’t have to hire people with that experience,” he said. “However, you may find someone with other skills needed for the position or skills you didn’t consider would be useful. Improve the candidate experience and invite them to apply instead of putting up barriers preventing them from doing so.”

4. Compensation, Perks, Engagement and Culture

If your company is increasing the compensation to fill a position prior to any interviews, there are many more effective ways to attract quality talent without touching the salary, the report said. “The salary should fit the range of the position and its duties, said IQTalent Partners. “Therefore, you should show off other things applicants find attractive.”

Related: Big Challenges Ahead for Recruiting and Talent Sector

Flex your benefits like health insurance, dental/vision, 401(K)/retirement, etc. “However, if you aren’t listing perks your company culture holds, you should,” Mr. Murdock said. “Company culture can be a huge asset for drawing in candidates. Perks like social work events, a beer fridge, birthday events, growth and volunteer opportunities will help make your job post more attractive and increase the number of applicants you receive.”

Nothing attracts employees more than an engaging work culture, but candidates want testimonials of what it’s like to work with your company. Use that, said IQTalent Partners. Show off your current employees on your website or redirect links to videos showing what it is like to work there.

“Since employee engagement increases the rate of employee retention, this can help employees commit to your company for the long-run,” Mr. Murdock said. Make sure your culture is attractive for applicants to see and apply to. Your job position should stand out. If it’s not for the position and salary, it’s for the company and culture.”

Related: Seeking Talent, One Employee at a Time

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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