How SMEs can attract talent in a tight labor market

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Recent headlines in the labor market have been disheartening for employers. Daily news feeds are inundated with stories of employers urgently needing to hire workers across industries, but job seekers’ interest remains stagnant – peaking at exactly the time small and medium businesses are actively looking for new workers and heading into the hiring vacation season.

Despite this mismatch, business owners remain optimistic about the future of their business. A new survey from Indeed finds that 93% of SME executives believe their business will grow and provide more job opportunities in the next year. Still, a majority of small businesses (82%) find it difficult to compete with large businesses for workers.

It’s crucial that entrepreneurs and other small and medium-sized businesses, which account for 65% of net new jobs for the U.S. economy, adopt a new set of hiring and human resource strategies to attract talent.

To help small and medium-sized businesses stay ahead of their hiring needs, here are four strategies for standing out among job seekers and staying competitive in today’s job market.

1. Improve your job descriptions

At this time, it is very important to take care of the basics of hiring, including job descriptions. The shorter the job description, the better.

Make sure your abbreviated job descriptions always answer key job seekers questions. What is it like to work here? How is the culture? Our research indicates that SMEs have added compelling culture-enhancing benefits, such as pet-friendly offices and mental health / wellness days since the onset of the global health crisis.

Clearly describe positions and use universal and recognizable job titles to get the most out of web optimization. For example, use common descriptors like “marketing coordinator” or “software developer”.

Be transparent about salary, bonuses, and other benefits in your job descriptions. Top talent will seek jobs that better match their values, many of which now make competitive pay, work-life balance, and personal career development opportunities non-negotiable. Use job descriptions or other tools like Glassdoor to demonstrate your company’s unique culture and values.

2. Consider the talents of other places

Remote working is on the rise, with many employers offering fully remote or hybrid remote options. Opening your search to candidates residing in other cities only increases your chances of filling vacancies.

Even before the global health crisis, remote and flexible working arrangements were already seen as an attractive advantage for job seekers. Today, the employer’s lack of flexibility has become a deciding factor for many applicants. This opens up new possibilities for employers who are willing to hire workers from other locations.

Related: Demand for Tech Talent Forcing IT Managers to Adjust Their Hiring Strategies

3. Be competitive by being transparent about salaries and offer hiring incentives

Make sure you offer salaries that match current market conditions. There are many resources available to help identify what it takes to be competitive on salary in a particular industry and job type.

Hiring incentives have also become popular tools for attracting applicants. Job searches with hiring incentives on Indeed have jumped 134% since early 2021. Consider adding signing bonuses, retention bonuses, and cash rewards to set yourself apart.

Employers can also get creative with incentives. For example, your current employee base could act as a funnel to recruit new talent. Start a referral or benefits program to encourage your employees to advertise vacancies. Or include transportation subsidies, free food and drink, fitness benefits, or other types of reimbursements unique to your business.

Not only is it important to offer competitive compensation, the inclusion of initial salary and benefits details in job descriptions directly affects the ability to attract candidates. Indeed, research shows that 83% of small and medium-sized business leaders are more transparent about salary, benefits and perks in job descriptions.

Related; What to consider when hiring employees

4. Be quick

Talent will move quickly into today’s market. New technologies can make the recruiting process easier to speed up finding and connecting with the right people who meet your needs.

If you haven’t offered virtual interviews yet, add this flexibility. If so, consider continuing the practice even after the health crisis has ended. Small and mid-sized business leaders we interviewed say they will continue to offer virtual interviews because it helps them hire faster. Additionally, a majority (79%) say virtual interviews helped them get more applicants, and 77% say it improved the overall candidate experience.

Automated tools are another resource that can help tackle often-cited issues for job seekers, like long and complex online applications. Consider using objective selection criteria, such as structured selection questions and automated skill tests, to help you determine the most important criteria for the job. Adding these elements makes it easier to quickly identify job seekers whose skills match your needs and can also help speed up selection processes.

These alternative ways of identifying qualified talent are more likely to get the results you want. Already, leaders of small and medium businesses are looking beyond resumes – and gaps in resumes – to identify talent. And those who use screening questions to help them identify talent on Indeed are 40% more likely to be hired.

With a mismatch in the hiring urgency between employers and job seekers, it’s crucial that employers take advantage of technologies that allow them to create seamless hiring experiences, especially those that offer more flexibility. . Virtual interviews give candidates the flexibility to interview when and where they feel most comfortable, while an objective process can help small and midsize businesses reach candidates who have the right skills. skills but not the experience listed on their resume. This can help diversify the pool of candidates and can also make the difference in making a quality hire quickly, as the demand from employers exceeds the supply of candidates.

Related: Top 10 Hiring Platforms For Small Businesses

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