I keep wondering how low the unemployment numbers can go. Apparently they can go a lot lower than anyone thought! Today’s Washington Post reports that the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in a decade, as the economy added 211,000 jobs in April. The U.S. job market is stronger than it has been in years. That’s great news for job seekers and not so great news for employers who are struggling to fill key positions, or any position for that matter.
Here’s some of the advice I’m sharing with my most successful clients.
Go Get ‘Em. A lot of executives that I work with have a pretty good sense of who they’d like to add to their team. The problem is they are being too passive. Some are hoping and praying these people will respond to their job postings while others are delegating the hunt for talent to HR. Let me ask you something. Let’s say you are not really looking for a new job. However, today you receive two calls regarding job opportunities. One is from Bob in HR and the other is from the president of a company. Which call might you return? I’m betting it would be the one from the president.
Hiring managers should proactively reach out to those they’d like to hire. Now let’s say the person you are reaching out to is not ready to make a change right now. My experience has shown me that talented people hang out with other talented people. I’d suggest asking the following question: Who do you know that might be interested in an opportunity like this? Or, if you’ve done your homework prior, and you’ve checked out their LinkedIn profile and connections, you could say, “I noticed you’re connected with Sam Jones, Martha Smith and Mary Mobley. Would you be willing to make an introduction to these people on my behalf?” Now don’t act stunned when they actually say yes!
Seek out the Underemployed. Few people go to college with the idea that when they graduate, they’ll be working as a barista at their local coffee shop or working on the floor of a retail store. However, it happens. People quickly discover that student loans must be paid, regardless of one’s income. Let me tell you. These are the people you absolutely want to hire. They’re responsible and willing to work hard on your behalf. And if you are lucky to snag one of these individuals, they’ll remain loyal to you for years to come.
Leverage your network. I bet you right, now there are a ton of people in your network who know of others actively seeking new job opportunities. Now clearly they aren’t going to be offering you the names of people who might be a great fit for your company, if they don’t know you are in hiring mode. Pick up the phone and ask for their help. And while you are at it, be sure to offer to return the favor.
Keep your foot on the peddle. The moment you decide you are going to hire someone, you need to keep your foot on the accelerator. I’ve seen too many false starts that result in frustration and empty chairs. To do this, you’ll need to shift your mindset from, “Do I really have to do this? I really don’t have time for this.” to “There’s nothing more important than finding the right person for the position I’m trying to staff.”