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Tips On Attracting Top Talent When You’re Hiring in a Tight Labor Market

Hiring in a tight labor market was difficult enough during the last couple of years. Then the pandemic hit. That life-altering event has made many people reconsider the direction they want to take their lives in. For some, that’s translated into to looking for a more satisfying work life. And leaving their old jobs behind.

For example, restaurant workers are quitting the industry in droves. Blaming low pay and overwhelmingly rude customers, more than 5 percent of the entire workforce has been quitting each month. In May, that translated to 706,000 workers.

Whatever the reason, as of last month, there were .9 workers for every one job across all industries. So how do you have success hiring a whole, intact person in a tight labor market?

Keep Your Existing Talent

First, concentrate on keeping the workers you have. Keeping talented, experienced employees helps to continue improving your company’s performance. Plus, retaining your existing workers is cheaper than recruiting and training new hires.

Make sure your workers feel appreciated. Consider adding benefits. Make sure your wages are at or above your industry’s standard. More and more companies are using a paid work day to have a special company event like a barbecue, or fun field trip. And then there’s the most basic and often most effective method – praise good work.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Have a solid brand/image that will appeal to candidates. An attractive and informative website is crucial. That’s how most potential employees will check you out. Make sure it loads easily and reads well on mobile phones. Have a section on your team/staff, so jobseekers can see their potential co-workers and get idea of what it’s like to work there.

Make applying/interviewing a positive experience. A lot of jobseekers have bad ones, and they aren’t shy talking about it, or spreading the word on social media. That hurts your image and affects your ability to attract other candidates. It can hurt your reputation with your customers, too.

Let candidates know you’ll support them – through training and beyond – and see to their needs. Remember, candidates are evaluating you as much as you’re evaluating them.

How to Get the Word Out

Register on job search platforms – Washington state’s WorkSource site, Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and others. But go beyond those services. Post on Craigslist. Don’t forget school job boards – especially professional schools where your candidates will be learning the trade. Use local bulletin boards and neighborhood news sites like Nextdoor and Alignable. Reach out to career coaches and consultants.

In this day and age, it’s critical to use social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Encourage your employees to share the job post on their own accounts as well.

Consider making and posting a fun video. Just think of consumer products like PooPourri, whose advertising videos have gone viral.

Most young people (90 percent) text as their first choice for communicating. Take advantage of that! It’s an especially good way to keep in touch with folks to let them know they’re still under consideration.

Spread the word far and wide – tell your vendors and customers you’re looking for someone. Tell your personal contacts as well.

Be Flexible About Job Candidates

Consider hiring someone based on their strengths and personality rather than experience, then train them. Maybe reconsider minimum requirements (for example, a two-year degree instead of bachelor’s, required years of experience, etc.). Think about hiring older workers; they can have a wide assortment of skills, and often a more experienced world view.

Closing the Deal

Make an attractive offer – not just salary and benefits, though those are important. Address concerns that are common in your industry. Be sure to let candidates know about chances for advancement, increased pay, and bonuses.

Finally, Don’t Forget the Future

Build relationships with candidates you don’t hire. For those you like, but don’t have the right fit for at that moment, keep in touch and keep a relationship going.


WorkSource, the Employment Security Department’s recruiting tool, lets you post jobs for free.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has numbers on the employment situation right here in Bellingham.

Lastly, you can learn more about our services here!