You are looking to hire a new team member, but not sure where to start. You might want to grow your team for any number of reasons. You may want to expand or bolster the services you offer. You may be looking for that key individual that will bring the skills and knowledge to take your business to the next level. Whatever your reasons may be, you recognized that hiring today is more difficult than ever. The power dynamics have shifted and technology has changed the way the game is played. Contradictory information is coming at you from all sides and you’re left in the middle to sort through the mess.

This article is here to serve as a guide to empower you to reach your hiring goals. Let’s begin!

2020 small business economic outlook

To get to where you’re going, it’s good to know where you are and what can await you on your path. The economic outlook for small businesses in 2020 looks good. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey of small businesses found that 57% of business owners feel the national economy is in good health and 59% feel their local economies outlook is good. The federal reserve predicts 2% GDP growth in 2020 and the average unemployment rate to hover around 3.5%. So, what does this all mean? It means that the competition to attract employees is going to stay fierce. The competition will be making gains on multiple fronts, and having the right team is more vital than ever.

Current recruiting environment

If you haven’t tried hiring anyone in a while, you might be thinking, how bad can it really be? It’s not 2008 anymore, the labor market has undergone some monumental changes and the power dynamics have drastically shifted since the time of the great recession.

As of the writing of this article, the unemployment rate is at a 50 year low of 3.5% creating a very shallow labor pool. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reports that there are now fewer people looking for work than there are open positions.

A National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey of small business owners found that 61% of business owners reported that they are hiring or trying to hire and 88% reported few or no “qualified” applicants for the positions they are trying to fill. This means a shift in the labor market in favor of labor.

Workers aren’t jumping on the first thing that comes their way anymore. Survival is no longer the name of the game, choice is. Skilled labor today has more power to choose how the employment process works, compensation that’s acceptable and the work arrangement that works best for them.

Employers around the country are upping their game in response to the changes in the job market. Employers are offering better health benefits. A Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) report found that 20% of employers increased how much they spent on health benefits in 2019. Employee compensation has been stagnating for the last couple of years, but employers are beginning to increase wages; hourly earnings have risen by 3.1% from a year ago.

How to think about hiring

Like any decision that affects the future of your business, the hiring process should be approached thoughtfully. The cost to hire can be expensive, so clearly understanding what your needs are will save you time and money. A SHRM survey found that the average cost-per-hire for companies was $4,129. To avoid wasting time and money on a bad hire, it’s ideal that you include all the stakeholders in the prosses to define what makes a good candidate and what their job responsibilities will be.

Job descriptions

Once you have defined the role you are filling, you need to put it down on paper. Writing down a job description can seem daunting if you’re not used to writing. That’s ok, you can use a generic job description template to get you started. A job description template still needs to be refined to express your company culture and layout the role you are looking to fill. Clearly communicate what are must-haves and what Skills are on your wish list. With the tight labor market, you don’t want to deter job applicants that would be perfect for the position but need a little more training on a wish list item.

Sourcing candidates

Once you’ve written down your job description you can start your search. With unemployment being down to 3.5%, the job market is a competitive place. Employers, recruiters and hiring managers cannot sit idle and expect people to line up outside.

A relatively untapped source of labor is the passive candidate pool. What is a passive candidate? A passive candidate is a person that isn’t actively seeking a job but might still be considered for a position. Seventy percent of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching. Eighty-seven percent of active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities. If you want to learn more about passive candidates check out our article here. Passive candidates are, on average, happy with their current employer but are open to new opportunities. This means when you go after a passive candidate, its advantageous to know what the industry and regional standards are for benefits packages and compensation so you can make an attractive opening offer. LinkedIn found that the most important factors in accepting a new job are compensation (49%), professional development (33%) and better work/life balance (29%).

A more traditional source of candidates that goes under-utilized, is employee referrals. In a CareerBuilder study, 82% of employers rated referrals above all other sources for generating the best return on investment. Google built its referral program or its “self-replicating hiring machine,” as they call it, by following 5 simple rules:

1) Hire the most amazing people you know.

2) Keep them constantly challenged and happy.

3) Encourage them to bring their most talented friends.

4) Provide an excellent candidate experience.

5) Repeat.

LinkedIn found that companies can expand their talent pool by tenfold by recruiting through their employees’ networks. LinkedIn also found that while 35% of employees refer to help their friends, 32% do it to help their company, and 26% do it to be seen as a valuable colleague. Only 6% do it for money and recognition.

Sourcing candidates online has become the standard. A few rules of thumb apply whether your advertising your listing on job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor or social media channels.

Rule One: Think like a marketer. More and more job candidates are approaching the job search like they shop. Seventy five percent of professionals research a company online before considering a job opportunity. This means that candidates are making up their minds about you before they even apply. Make sure your employer brand is intentional and crafted to attract the kind of employees you want.

Rule Two: Reviews matter. With more people researching companies before they apply, they are looking at what previous employees are saying about you. Fifty five percent of job seekers say that if they read a negative review it would prevent them from applying.

Rule Three: Make sure your job listings and processes are mobile-friendly. CareerBuilder found that 70% of job seekers are searching for opportunities on mobile devices. Seventy three percent of millennials found their last position through a social media site.

Recruiting services

If the job search still feels intimidating, try using a recruiting service to procure your next employee. XcelHR has over 25 years of experience focusing on the entire employee life cycle, from recruitment to retirement. XcelHR offers you a full-service package you can trust. No more long lead time! Our talent acquisition services help you achieve your goals in a strategic and effective way. To learn more about our process and how it can help you click here.

After reading this article you should feel empowered to confidently go out and make your next hire. Either be it on your own or with the help of our team of professionals at your side. If you have any questions you can always reach us on our website here or by giving us a call at 1-800-776-0076.