3 Tips for a Tough Talent Market

The long holiday weekend gave me a chance to catch up on some reading.  Two articles from the Cincinnati Enquirer stuck with me.  The first, “Area Jobless Rate Lowest in 14 Years” by Fatima Hussein, mentioned that the jobless rate in my local Tri-State area (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) is, at 3.8%, the lowest in 14 years.  The article also highlights that, “A growing labor force with falling unemployment can signal that employers have to start raising wages to get the prospective employees they want.”

The second article, “Go Ahead, Quit Your Day Job” by Paul Davidson @USA Today, cites that “workers aren’t switching jobs as much as they used to.”  This is worrisome to economists, who generally conclude that the number of employees willing to switch jobs reflects confidence in the economy. Employees are simply not willing to take the risk of changing jobs, especially since wage growth has somewhat stagnated.

A low unemployment rate leads to a tough talent market.

These two articles corroborate a trend we have observed at Centennial in this last quarter of 2015.  Depending on the industry, there are positions available, but the talent market is tough.  Leadership talent is choosy. They frequently have multiple options since there are fewer qualified candidates in the market.

What does this mean for employers?  Consider these 3 tips:

1Your employment “brand” is more critical than ever for attracting top talent.
•Do your employees love working at your company?
•Are your employees passionate about what you do and why?
•Is your corporate culture the envy of the competition?  (If not, it should be!)
•Does the spirit of your workplace reflect your company’s values?

It is important to remember that your employees are your best ambassadors—on the employment front and even in marketing.  If you need to shore up your employment brand, you may even consider applying some marketing dollars toward it.

2. Thecandidate experience” in the interview process is crucial.
•Interviewing is stressful.  Make it pleasant for those considering a career at your company.
•Define the interview process timeline and follow it.
•Be clear on the job description from the start.  Develop an interviewer “scorecard” that defines expectations for success and helps identify top candidates.
•Consistently stay in front of top candidates. Remember, “out of sight” can lead to “out of mind” for the top talent.

3. Compensation packages must be inclusive and competitive.  This circles back to the point in the articles of wages potentially rising to attract and retain top talent in this market.
•Ensure that the package you present your top candidate is competitive for top leadership talent, not mediocre.  Do your research and determine what the market is bearing.
•Define total rewards, not just standard benefits.  Include all that is unique about working for your company.

The steps above will assist employers in creating a competitive advantage in a tough talent market.

To Recap:

• Know, own and invest in your employment brand
• Build alignment
• Care deeply about the candidate experience
• Communicate effectively
• Value expertise
• Invest in your future
• Start Now!

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