How to Hire and Compete for the Best People

Everyone is struggling with how to hire and compete for the best people right now. The tight labor market, the attitudes of the candidate pool, and the skill levels available have made this a very challenging part of a business.

If things have changed … if you’re not getting the best people, then why do you continue to hire the same way you always have? In this article I’ll outline:

  • How the Millennial generation has changed the recruiting landscape,
  • Why you might be struggling with finding and recruiting great employees, and
  • What you need to change in your organization and hiring process to compete.

Millennial Generation

Whether we like it or not the Millennial worker is our organizations future and the more we understand them the better we will do at hiring and competing for their skills. There are lots of studies that have focused on this generational workforce and here are some important statistics we should be paying attention to:

  • By 2020 Millennials will make up 35 to 50% of the workforce, while Boomers will only be 6 to 10% of the workforce.
  • They’re more interested in experiences and less in accumulating things. They’re also waiting longer to get married and start a family.
  • Meaning / Purpose are as or more important than money.
  • Managing other people is very low on their priority list, while individual skill development and autonomy are very high.
  • When asked, what’s the “right” amount of time to be in a role before moving:
    • 66% said less than 2 years, and
    • 25% said less than a year!

If this is a growing portion of the available workforce, is your organization and recruiting process ready for these trends?

Why You Might Be Struggling

Based on my observations, most organizations aren’t prepared for this shift to a younger workforce and are still using the same methods to hire they were using five and even ten years ago. Some of the mistakes I’ve seen are:

  • Your job posting looks like a laundry list of tasks. Instead, create a classified ad that speaks more to the heart of the type of person you are looking for. The posting should focus on the entire person and describe their attributes. The thought is that people will compare themselves to your ad and respond accordingly. Remember, you are selling the position, so focus on the positive aspects.
  • Prescreening candidates based purely on what’s on their resume. When bringing a new person into your organization what’s more important, what’s in their head or what’s in their heart? Well, how are you going to tell that from their resume? Your current process may cause you to “deselect” quality people simply due to something in their resume. Instead, consider doing a group interview that would allow you to personally meet and evaluate more candidates in the same amount of time.
  • Failing to court candidates. The “getting to know you” process should not be just a one-sided interview. Realize you are marketing yourself and your business to candidates too. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
  • Hiring too quickly. You’re probably hiring because you needed someone yesterday! Do the proper due diligence and don’t let the pressure to fill a vacancy force you into a premature decision. Remember the adage, “Hire slow, fire fast.”

If some of these are all too familiar, then maybe it’s time to consider doing something different.

What Needs to Change

Change isn’t easy but if we want our organizations to remain viable, then here are six things I believe are going to be necessary for us to be competitive:

  • Having an attractive vision for your business is going to become even more important. We need to be able to “sell the WHY” we exist and how the organization impacts the community. Since the Millennial generation is making decisions based in part on meaning/purpose this is extremely important to them.
  • Having defined career paths with the required training and necessary skills outlined will be important. In order to satisfy their desire to build their individual skills it’s important we have a plan, with a time line, of possible progression in our organization.
  • Investing more time in your team to show your appreciation and to have career development conversations. The once a year employee review doesn’t work any longer. Employees are expecting more timely feedback and if we’re not giving it to them, they’ll find somewhere else that does.
  • Development of a different management/leadership structure and process will be necessary since they don’t want to manage people.
  • We need to become more results or value-oriented and stop focusing on dollars for hours. If they can deliver the work and results we need in 34 hours, should we care? We also need to get comfortable with them determining the when, how, and with whom they will get work done.
  • We need to be continually advertising and recruiting, even when we don’t have an open position. There needs to be a shift to a marketing mindset in your recruiting process. Much like we need to be marketing when our prospects go looking for our products or services, we need to be out there when the best people go looking for employment opportunities.

The Bottom Line:

If you think your organization’s not large enough, or you’re unwilling to provide some of the things that Millennials are wanting, then you’re going to need to continually hire, train, and replace your workforce, much like McDonalds.

However, if we can provide this next generation with even a few of the things they find important, then we just might be able to hang on to them. Remember, this is how they feel now … maybe this will change as they become older and more experienced. We can always hope!

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