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CEO Spotlight: How to Source Great Talent in a Tight Labor Market – Joanna Riley

The United States is experiencing a tighter labor market than it has in the past two decades. The national unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and fewer people are searching for employment. “Tight labor markets are sectors on the verge of full employment, and more positions are open than people can fill,” says Joanna Riley, CEO and founder of AI-powered talent acquisition agency, Censia. “Some markets—like engineering—have thicker barriers than others. This makes recruitment difficult, as the labor curve shifts and solid workers aren’t as readily available.”

Other characterizations of a tight labor market include a high ratio of employments to quits and upward pressure on wages. As a result, some organizations are rethinking their approach to recruit. According to a report published by the largest human resources company Adecco, 37.3% of companies lowered their requirements to accommodate temporary staff. Furthermore, 17.2% were considering following suit.

The report also found that while organizations are concerned about the decrease in the quality of candidates, the rewards tend to outweigh the risks. In a candidate-driven market, it’s clear that companies are adapting to remain sustainable and source of temporary talent. Here’s how you can recruit in today’s tight labor markets.

Hire a Recruitment Agency 

Recruitment agencies offer businesses a slew of benefits. These agencies have healthy databases of qualified talent, allow companies to reduce the risk of making a bad hiring decision, and saves you plenty of time and money in the long-run. Many of today’s modern talent companies are utilizing top-notch technology to fuel their decision-making. For instance, Censia empowers talent professionals by integrating manual search with artificial intelligence.

“We built a highly scalable data platform and ingested hundreds of millions of talent profile records from thousands of global data sources,” says Riley. “A standardized Golden Record for every person makes this real data science possible. But it’s not just data; it’s a powerful platform that makes predictive technology and data science accessible to every talent professional through an intuitive and flexible interface.”

Ultimately, working alongside technology companies like Censia can you help you triple your recruiting power by eliminating a bulk of manual processes. Instead, talent professionals can focus on high-value tasks that improve the candidate experience.

Data-based profile points also help reduce cognitive bias and blind-spot bias. Psychologists and studies have proven that humans are prone to hundreds of these biases, even when they don’t recognize it. The Censia technology eliminates those unknown biases by disclosing attributes that contribute to human bias, such as name, gender, group affiliation, and ethnicity. The end result: a shortlist of the best possible candidates, regardless of demographics.

Don’t Ignore Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are individuals who are already employed and not actively on the hunt for a new position. Standard employment ads appeal to people who are actively searching for a new role, eliminating the large pool of talent that isn’t scouring through listings. Passive candidates comprise the bulk of the workforce, and you wouldn’t want to eliminate such a vast amount of potential when it comes to recruiting the right individual.

Referrals are a great way to discover passive candidates. Start by talking to your staff, and letting them know that you’re seeking referrals for a position. Your team is the first people who know what type of candidates would be an ideal cultural fit, as well as what hiring managers are looking for. Consider implementing a referral program that awards employees for discovering future hires.

You may also consider high-performing individuals that have left the company in the past. There are numerous reasons why great employees may have left your office on good terms; perhaps there were limited growth opportunities or the company was in a tough financial spot. Perhaps now your business has grown and you can accommodate the career goals they had in mind.

Highlight Your Company Culture 

Company culture plays a vital role in your ability to attract high-value candidates in a high job market. Company culture is one of the only sustainable advantages that business owners have total control over. Your company culture is the embodiment of how a business makes you feel.

How valuable does your staff feel? What motivates them to continue working for you? Tiny changes in your daily operation can make all the difference. When the culture is strong, the workplace is happier, and happier employees are proven to be more productive.

As the owner of a company, it can be difficult to determine weak areas in company culture from the top. Turn to your team to learn more about different areas where you can improve internally. Don’t feel pressured to turn your office into the likes of Google or Facebook, whose perks far outshine what standard offices can achieve.

Simple changes, like showing staff appreciation or bringing in bagels on Fridays, can go a long way. Hosting company events is also a fun way to bring your employees together outside of a work setting. For example, Snag a Job won an award for the best small business to work for. The company enforces a rotating Culture Squad who’s responsible for dreaming up new events for the team: like chili cook-offs, talent shows, and Office Olympics.

“We expect a lot from people here, so having a workplace that infuses fun as a natural part of work keeps people more motivated and ignited,” Greg Moyer, chief people officer at Snag a Job, told Business Insider.

Paid time off, tuition reimbursement, holiday events, remote work opportunities, and free swag and products are just a few other bonuses that make people excited to work for a business. But remember, it’s not just about doling out perks—it’s also about cultivating a culture that makes people feel comfortable and happy to come into work every day. For instance, although Uber offered its employees plenty of tangible perks, the workplace was often described as hostile and cutthroat.

Show off your culture in your branding and messaging. Blog posts, videos, and social media are great places to share and promote your core philosophy.

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Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is CEOWORLD magazine's executive editor of news, writing analysis, and long-form reporting. In his role, he coordinates and tracks the publication of special packages, magazine stories, and the publication’s signature lists. He's a somewhat long-suffering supporter of Manchester United F.C. and a genuinely long-suffering fan of the Los Angeles Clippers.