Tight Job Market Expected Until 2017 #shrmtalent #ere15

Tight Job Market Remains Until 2017

Over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has averaged new job creation of nearly 700,000 with our March 2015 unemployment numbers of at 5.5 percent. Our economy has not experienced unemployment numbers at these low levels since May 2008. At present, the American business need for qualified workers has shifted slowly but surely. We are living, working and recruiting in a tight job market, and it doesn’t appear that things will be changing.

Last week I published a podcast interview with Loren Guerra who is a talented and experienced technical recruiter. What struck me in his interview is that while he recruits game developers, designers and other technical candidates for his company’s roles, he is focused on relationships, phone calls and conversations. Loren doesn’t code and yet he is successful at hiring technical candidates. He is recruiting in one of the most competitive recruiting markets. These strategies he employs are critical for his success as a technical recruiter, however, they also are strategies that every recruiter should be employing because the job market is expected to continue to tighten into 2017.

Not everyone has to be a coder, engineer, developer or data scientist to be an effective member of a team. Let’s not forget that non-technical recruiting has a place in our hiring and talent acquisition strategies too.

Success in Non-Technical Recruiting

Non-technical recruiting likely accounts for 90% or more of your recruiting efforts. These candidates come from various backgrounds, industries and experience levels. And in this candidate-driven job market, your most qualified job seekers have a lot of options which makes non-technical recruiting more challenging than years past. And quite possibly, your old way of doing things isn’t producing the results which means it’s time to change your game.

  • Build Relationships. Candidates want conversations, relationships, engagement and feedback. Find a way to build a relationship and in doing so you can establish a referral network. Word gets around that the recruiting team answers emails, picks up the phone and therefore, is a place they want to consider working for.
  • Provide Resources. While I’m a fan of career site resources and company videos, you can build a reputation by building resources like webinars, downloadables and templates to help your job seeker community find a job whether its with you or another company. I’m a believer in creating good karma by providing value. That’s important in building a candidate referral pipeline especially for those mass hire positions and hard to fill evergreen job openings.
  • Anticipate Your Needs. Recruiting gets a bad name because we spend the majority of our time reacting instead of proactively building strategies and therefore, candidate pools and networks BEFORE we have the need. In my retail HR experience, I began building a pipeline of candidates for my season hiring in September with the goal of hiring 75-250 season employees per store by early November. Perhaps your company or industry has a hidden seasonality or flow. In my non-retail experience, I noticed that the beginnings of quarters especially those where we had a strong earnings report, my headcount shifted more than other times during the year. I made anticipated these headcount changes and my team began having exploratory calls with potential candidates.
  • Get Creative. I have found the key to great non-technical recruiting especially in a highly competitive job market is to approach the situation from a new point of view and to use tools, resources and approaches that are different than direct competitors. This is the reason I first used dating websites to source candidates from in 2001. I needed a fresh approach to get the attention of the candidate and build a relationship with them because my current methods weren’t producing the results I needed.

The job market for technical candidates as well as non-technical is expected to only tighten for the foreseeable future and by I mean into 2017.  Only recently, as of December 2014, have our unemployment numbers held what experts from the Federal Reserve Board consider to be healthy; between 5 and 6 percent. They anticipate that unemployment rates will continue to stabilize, but then decline into 2017. Are you prepared 24-36 months of one of the tightest job markets on record? You must begin building a plan focused on candidate relationship building and the have the ability to scale your efforts because this tight job market is not going away.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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