Continuous recruiting in a tight labor market

This is Part 4 of our Tight Labor Market Series. We’ve touched on employee engagement, employee retention and growing your business in a tight labor market. In this installment, I’m going talk about continuous recruiting.

I’m seeing the labor supply tightening. In other words, the unemployment for college-educated workers is low, there are fewer and fewer applicants (nevermind good applicants) applying for each job we post. Assuming that this trend could last for a while it’s going to be harder to find talent at the moment in time when we might need it. Searches are going to take longer, and it may be harder to find the ideal candidate.

In a hiring market like that, I don’t want to wait until I have a need (there’s bound to be some turnover coming up). I want to make sure I’m seeing the best candidates in the market all the time. So I start to do continuous recruiting.

Continuous recruiting goes like this.

Let’s assume that if my business is growing there’s one or two positions that I need all the time. Usually it’s an entry level position, or less frequently a project manager. If those positions are typically the bottlenecks for growth, I don’t want to have business coming in the door without having a few candidates for those positions in the pipeline. You see, I’ve started to think of recruiting like I think of sales. I always want to be adding candidates to the funnel – knowing that not all of them are going to come out the bottom.

For the role that is my potential bottleneck, I want to have a job posting up on my site all the time. I don’t have to advertise for it, but by having the position open on my site Google will send job seekers there (if my site has good SEO). A number of folks will apply each week. I review the applications that I’m getting and if the candidate looks attractive I schedule a phone screen. (I have blocked a couple hours each week for phone screens. If there’s no one to screen, bonus! I get that time back.)

I also set aside a half-day a month to do interviews. I don’t need anyone right now, but it’s never clear when I will need someone, so I’m keeping my pipeline full of good candidates. After my phone screen I’ll book the promising candidates into that time slot I already have set aside.

This process means that I’m always looking at new candidates for the one position that can bottleneck my growth. I’ve set aside one day a month to work on recruiting, and that enables me to have a pipeline of candidates ready. So if that new client comes along, or if one of my people decides to move to Australia, I have candidates pre-screened and ready to bring in to fill the gap.

How are you changing your recruiting habits to ensure that you have the talent you need to grow? Are you seeing the labor market getting tighter?

 

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