5 ways to stay competitive while hiring

Stay competitive while hiring top talent

Though the Great Recession has largely faded in the rear view mirror, a number of hiring managers have yet to adapt their hiring habits acquired during straitened times. For years finding high quality people was relatively easy because job seekers had flooded the market. With candidates doing everything they could to land a job, hiring managers found themselves with all the power in the marketplace.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job applicants per job opening hit 6.8 in July 2009. That number has since fallen to less than 1.5. In other words, where there used to be nearly seven job seekers for an open position, now there are barely more than one.

This much is clear: there are many firms looking to hire, but fewer professionals available. To address the imbalance, hiring managers need to update their strategies. Finding talent takes more than just reviewing job applications these days. Candidates know they’re in control of the process, and the best ones can have multiple offers to choose from.

Your traditional hiring strategy isn’t enough anymore. Here are some tips for bringing your approach into the post-recession age:

Offer a competitive salary
Offering an industry-competitive salary remains the most integral aspect of a successful hiring strategy. Korn Ferry Hay Group forecasted that global salaries would rise 2.5 percent in 2016, while starting salaries for professional occupations in the U.S. would increase by about 4 percent on average.

How to stay competitive while hiring

As you assess this year’s hiring budget, make sure it’s adequate to fill positions like investment banking jobs and compliance jobs at competitive rates. Today’s job candidates will hold out for a compelling offer. Be sure your organization’s salaries meet the benchmark.

Hire from within
Sometimes the best candidates are those who have already proven themselves on your team. When a vacant position opens, look to your own organization. Hiring from within typically takes considerably less time than looking for outside talent.

The adjustment period also tends to be brief, as the person is already well versed with your company’s policies and culture. Internal promotion has the added benefit of demonstrating to the rest of your firm that hard work and solid results are rewarded with future career paths.

Add enticing benefits
Younger professionals aren’t motivated by a great salary alone. More and more, employers are offering bonuses, perks and work-life flexibility to attract new talent and retain the people they have. Top candidates will often take a lower starting salary if the incentive of performance bonuses is offered.

“Your employees know best the benefits they value most, so ask them for input.”

If you’re unsure about what perks are most appealing, turn to your team for aid. Employees know best the benefits they value most. Retirement plans and healthcare coverage are still the most popular, but telecommuting opportunities and flexible scheduling are compelling as well.

Institute a referral program
Hiring managers can save themselves some time by implementing a referral program. Nobody knows your firm better than your employees. If they’re willing to recommend someone for a position, chances are that the candidate would be a better fit than a general applicant.

By offering employees rewards for finding and recommending potential hires, the size of the hiring net you cast grows. Rewards like a cash bonus or paid time off encourage workers to do part of your work for you. If you already have a referral program, now is an excellent opportunity to ensure it’s channeling candidates to you properly.

Differentiate your culture
Part of what separates a successful hiring strategy from an unsuccessful one is evidence that your company’s culture is special. Everything from your website to the initial pitch should work to convince prospective hires that you’re offering something no one else can.

Your employees again provide an invaluable source for this information. Ask them what they find unique about your business. What do they like about working with your firm? Their answers will provide you with an honest evaluation of how you stand out in an industry full of competitors.

In today’s talent marketplace, staying competitive while hiring is a must for any firm looking to capture the best people. An outdated hiring strategy will not only impact your ability to attract top talent, but hurt your bottom line in the long run.


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