Job openings in America are at a record high! 9 tips on how business owners can recruit the talent they need.

Job openings in the U.S. rose to the highest on record in April 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Openings totaled 6.04 million, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released this week.

The high number of openings underscores the challenges that some employers have filling positions, eight years after the recession, especially for jobs that require specialized skills. The number of hires fell by 253,000 to 5.05 million, the lowest since April 2016. 

And that’s exactly what business owners that I coach are telling me – it’s difficult to find and hire talent.

So, here are 9 things to help you get that perfect team member.

1. Know what you want

Are you directly replacing a role? Or does the role need to be revised to suit the needs of the business? If you have a clear outline of the job to be filled, then it is more likely you will get applicants who fit the criteria you are after. Having specific experience, qualities and cultural points will enable you to attract the kind of team member you want for the job.

A vague job description will lead to numerous applicants that are not fit for the role, or a team member who was expecting a different role to the one they end up performing.

2. Ask your current team… and then everyone else you network with

Good team members are often found and recruited by referral from a current team member. Most people will only recommend someone they believe will be a good worker, since a bad hire might tarnish their personal or professional reputation.

Consider adding an incentive for current team members to refer a candidate for a job opening, with a reward for a successful application. I suggest breaking it down a little - a smaller incentive to just recommend a name (maybe they heard about someone, where you do the research and contact) and a larger one if this is someone they know and have influence with.

Next ask everyone you network with – in person and through online platforms. Partners, customers and even family/friends are often happy to help. And of course it’s all good publicity as it shows your company is prospering and can afford to have new team members (funnily enough, this is the perception even if you are replacing).

3. Be attractive in your marketing

The market has changed, and you need to action that. Even if you find a good candidate, they may have other offers and opportunities – so market to them – sell to them.

If you’re marketing to Millennials then think like one. Do you know a Millennial that doesn’t like watching a video?  Then get your phone out, put it on your selfie stick and take one and a half minutes to explain a little about your company, while you walk around it – they’ll pick up the culture pretty quickly and know if it’s a good fit – because Millennials are all about the cultural fit.

The interview stage is a good time to sell your company to the candidate. Make it be known why people find it fun to work with you and at your company.

It’s likely you’re in a competitive environment to win this candidate from other offers, so don’t be afraid to ask them about that. If you can find out which other offers they are considering you can talk to it. Candidates look at far more than just the remuneration… location, their manager and peers are all critical to this decision.

6. Select like a ninja

Use the best technology at your fingertips to find and select. You do not want to take time searching through multiple applicants. That can really sap your time. Use pre-qualification questions and let technology help you push the best candidates to the top of the pile.

A lot of people I am working with are also asking for the candidates Facebook and LinkedIn profiles (check your local laws about whether that is possible where you operate).

7. Re-evaluate your hiring process

Is it too long? Overly complicated? Do you keep in touch with the candidate while making a decision?

Candidates move quicker today, so should employers. The most important thing here is to keep the candidate updated on a regular basis. Communication every 48 hours is not overdoing it.

Don’t let your own internal business day-to-day slow down the process.

8. Background checks

Do them!  Spend less than $50 to find out what you need to find out. In addition, do your own cyber research.

True story: last week, during an interview, the hiring manager was looking down the candidate’s Facebook page and five posts in it said, “If I get through today without killing any co-workers it will be a miracle”. Disqualified.

9. Treat the new recruit’s family like royally

So, here’s what really happens. A team member goes home one day, tiered/frustrated and says to their significant other, ‘bad day!’ The supporting significant other says, ‘you should look for something else if it’s getting you down.’

That’s what starts the job search journey.

Having the significant other on your side really helps.

When your new team member starts (that very day), send an appropriate gift to their home thanking their family for allowing you to share them.

What is the first thing your team member is going to be asked when they get home? ‘How is the new job?’

Now you have two people agreeing this is the best new job ever.

How is your recruiting going?

If you have tips to share we’d all love to hear.