4 Tips for Hiring Top Talent in a Tight Labor Market

By Generational Equity


Even large companies are finding it hard to hire top talent these days thanks to the tight labor market, so how can a middle market company compete? The answer may surprise you.

Many business owners assume that every job candidate wants to work for a large company with its attendant big salary and comprehensive benefits. However, you may be able to entice excellent candidates to join your smaller company by positioning your business properly.

Here are four tips to help you attract the best employees possible to your middle market business, no matter how challenging the labor pool may be.

1. Go Beyond the Job Description When Hiring Talent

When you have a job opening, do you still post the internal job description in its entirety? If so, you’re missing your first opportunity to make a good first impression with job seekers.

Your mission when posting a job opening online is not simply to let the public know you’re hiring. This is also your first, and sometimes only, chance to tell candidates what it’s like to work for your company and why they should apply with you.

What’s more, there’s no law that says you have to upload the same document online for a job notice that you use for performance appraisals. Rewrite that document to fit its external purpose of hiring the best talent possible. You can always provide a more extensive job description during the interview.

Rather than simply list the job’s requirements, reword your job posting to create an idea of what the job will be like. For example, rather than say, “File all XYZ documents by 5 p.m. daily” reword it to say, “Responsible for keeping our office running smoothly by keeping client paperwork organized.”

There’s another good reason to avoid simply posting the entire job description. Most people will be searching and reading your job posting on a mobile device with a tiny screen. That means you need to keep your sentences and paragraphs short and only list the most essential information, such as basic responsibilities and requirements.

Job postings that are too long or overly dense may drive away potential top candidates from your middle market business.

2. Sell Your Management Team to Candidates

When talking with prospective employees, do you talk about your management team’s credentials? If not, you could be underselling a key advantage to a young candidate who is looking to gain valuable experience.

It may be possible to snag highly motivated talent by selling your management team’s reputation.

Don’t forget, it’s a time-honored technique to learn the industry from a senior-level professional in order to give your own resume a boost. Further, to qualify for many specialized accreditations and licenses, from engineering to pharmacy, an employee must work a certain number of hours under the supervision of a senior level professional.

If one of your managers is known for successfully launching the careers of junior professionals, talk about it during the interview.

There’s another twist on this theme in the IT world: Employees with an entrepreneurial attitude may deliberately seek to work for your business to be trained by the best before starting their own company.

3. Promote the Job’s Variety

Entry-level employees in large companies tend to work in silos and are only trusted with a narrow set of responsibilities. Smaller, middle market companies generally need their employees to handle a variety of tasks, which gives a less experienced worker the opportunity to gain broad experience faster.

To highlight a candidate’s opportunity to grow, talk about how they’ll be in charge of special projects, how quickly they can get a big-picture view of your industry, and how they can be trained by respected leaders in their field.

4. Focus on Your Company Culture

Salary and benefits aren’t the only things top talents seek when looking for a new position. Perhaps to a larger degree than in years past, today’s recruits seek fulfillment and meaning in their job.

This means that you and your hiring managers need to talk with interviewees about the importance of the work your company performs and what it feels like to work there:

  • Are you reinventing how services are delivered in your industry?
  • Maybe you’ve never had layoffs?
  • Are you acquiring smaller companies in an effort to become a marquee name in your industry?
  • Does everyone devote some time on Friday afternoons to talk about the week and socialize?

Yes, you should expect interviewees to have conducted their due diligence about your company, but don’t expect them to know what really makes you special. You need to paint a picture of what truly differentiates your middle market business from the competition, what excites you about working there, and why you want them to join in the fun.

How Hiring Top Talent Supports Your Exit Plans

Creating a solid team isn’t the only way to make your business attractive to potential buyers, but it does play a key role in reducing the risk associated with your company.

If you have taken the time to hire, train, and mentor a group of really talented, dedicated associates, you will be better positioned when you eventually negotiate with buyers as part of your exit plans. Some of your greatest intangible assets are the people you have on your team!

By Jessica Johns Pool.

© 2018 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.