Recent jobs reports tell an encouraging story. It’s one of job growth and declining unemployment, which is good news for the economy and particularly good news for job seekers who by and large are able to find employment when they seek it. But for employers, a tightening labor market that’s approaching full employment can present some challenges. As iCIMS’ US Hiring Trends reports demonstrate, in some industries there are already more applicants than available jobs, indicating that demand is outpacing available supply. This presents employers with opportunities to fine-tune their talent strategies.
Employers need to think about how to not just offer up a strong hiring experience, but a competitive one. Being competitive in this economy means finding ways to hire more efficiently and effectively, to offer up the best possible candidate experience. Forty-six percent of candidates rate their experience applying for jobs as poor to very poor, so there’s no doubt some employers have room for improvement. Relying on the right recruiting software, like a powerful applicant tracking system or candidate relationship management tool with branded, automated (and personalized) correspondence, can ensure candidates don’t slip away as a result of slow or sporadic communication.
Portraying your organization authentically, and not just catering to what you think applicants want from an employer, can also be a powerful way to stay competitive. Not everyone will (or should) maintain a Silicon Valley-like work environment or a traditional corporate vibe. When your employer brand is authentic, it’s more likely to attract people who actually want to work at your company. So know who you really are, and share that consistently in your recruitment marketing materials.
Employers in a tightening labor market may also face more job hopping. When employees know that companies are hurting for candidates, they’re more inclined to search for better opportunities (and drive up salaries in the process). Consider that the rate of job hopping for professionals in their five years after college has nearly doubled over the last twenty years, and that at the start of this year, the number of Americans who “voluntarily quit their jobs” was the highest since April 2008.
To retain employees, companies need to offer solid reasons to stay, and a higher salary isn’t necessarily the answer. For example, McKinsey & Company found that praise from one’s manager, attention from leaders, frequent promotions, opportunities to lead projects, and opportunities to join fast-track management programs are often more effective than cash. Each of these nonfinancial incentives is dependent on the employee’s core ability to do his or her job well. That’s why it’s so important to greet new hires with a personalized, task-driven onboarding experience that mitigates the confusion and missteps that can accompany the first few weeks on a job and have residual effects on employee performance for months to come.
Hiring employee referrals can also help increase retention and reduce turnover. iCIMS’ research shows that referred employees are actually more likely to stay with a company longer, and that eighty-eight percent of companies say that employee referrals are their best source of hire. Talk about a winning solution in an era of job hopping and applicant scarcity.
For more information about the lay of the labor landscape, and how to stay afloat, be sure to take a look at iCIMS’ A Snapshot of Competition for Talent in the U.S. eBook.