Recruiting in a Tight Labor Market

February 2, 2015

We are seeing the lowest unemployment numbers than we’ve seen in over 20 years and it is making the job of recruiting much more difficult.  Employers are competing for the few available candidates still in the market for a new job.  Many industry insiders are concerned that market conditions, growth of business, and improving economy are creating a labor market with fewer skilled workers.


Though changes in the marketplace have complicated the recruiting and hiring process, todays employers can use a wider range of strategies to recruit and hire the best candidates.


  • In addition to using social media such as LinkedIn, employers are beginning to build talent networks where companies are promoting their brand.  These viral communities are used to attract not only employee candidates, but customers and partners as well.

  • It has increasingly become apparent that the old methods are giving way more and more to the use of technology.  Companies can capitalize on the benefits that social media sites and internet based job boards bring by posting open positions.  Employers can also use their own website to post job openings. 

  • Sometimes it may become necessary to cast a wider net or use unconventional hiring methods.  Companies can hire people who may meet less than the minimum skills required and offer training to bring them up to speed.  Forming relationships with high schools, colleges, and other youth training organizations will allow companies to recruit interns, which in turn increases the talent pool.

  • Financial incentives are a good recruiting tool.  Offering referral bonuses to employees, sign-on bonuses to new employees and ensuring that salaries offered are competitive are good ways to ensure that companies hire the best.

  • Using applicant assessments to determine proper fit with the job and company culture is a great use of predictive data collected during the hiring process.  Assessments support better decision-making and offer a great return on investment when it comes to employee selection and  retention.


One of the most effective ways to recruit and retain the best employees is to create a better work environment.  Better matching skills to job functions, training managers to manage more effectively, creating greater opportunities for growth and development, allowing for all to have input in the company direction, and offering  work-life balance opportunities are all ways in which companies can increase the quality and effectiveness of their recruiting and retention methods.


In a tight labor market, such as we face today, it is tempting to succumb to the “warm-body syndrome,” quickly filling open positions with the first available person; however, it’s important to resist resorting to such desperate measures.  By analyzing company needs, and designing a strategy, and taking the time to work the plan, companies can ensure that they continue to hire the best.





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