Unemployment rates are at record lows. Licensed professionals, like Professional Engineering and Certified Public Accountants, have even lower unemployment rates. Wages are rising.

While many potential candidates are spoiled for choices, many potential employers are not. In fact, the market is way out of balance which makes attracting the top 10% of talent very, very hard.

How can a small or mid-sized business with limited resources better recruit for talent in these market conditions?

First things first, understand what you need. Spend the time and energy to put some real parameters around the skills, personalities, development, past performance and culture fit your team needs. These do not have to be exact, but they do have to reflect the composition your team needs to achieve whatever strategic goals you are pursuing.

Understand that there can be a significant variation for a candidate you define as a great fit versus what another organization considers to be a great fit and that’s OK.

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.

What would attract you to your organization? People usually are attracted to be a part of a bigger story that inspires confidence and feeling that they impact success. What is your organization’s story and is it a fit for the people you want?

Make sure you consider the multiple strategic and tactical channels you can utilize to identify the candidates you want. Attracting them, however, relies on your clear communication and demonstration of your story.

You can post ads on the web, you can create an employee referral program (highly recommend), leverage your personal and professional networks (we should all do this anyway), identify and develop existing internal talent with succession planning in mind and more.

You can bring a third-party search firm into the mix (always happy to discuss) to tackle the mission-critical searches.

Develop an onboarding process that integrates each hire into the organization.

Map out a path forward that increases each new hire’s welcome factor, engagement, and professional growth. Multiple studies have verified that having an onboarding plan for the first 90 days coupled with regular mentorship and accountability materially improves retention for new hires.

But, none of it will work over the long term if you did not put the front-end heavy lift effort to earn clarity on your company’s why or purpose and then make sure you are living it.

Candidates today want to believe in and be a part of your organization’s story. Just finding a job is not enough. They want a genuine depth of interaction and confidence. If these things are not demonstrated in your story, your recruitment processes, your daily business life then how can we expect to attract candidates who want to be a part of it?

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