4 Ways to Stay Competitive When Hiring in a Tight Job Market

If you’re having a tough time hiring, take into consideration the following points to see if you can set yourself and your organization up for success when the talent market gets increasingly competitive.
December 21, 2021

After a tumultuous year as organizations continue to shift back into growth mode, it seems like everyone is feeling the pressure coming from a competitive hiring market. Some are feeling the pains of labor shortages more than others, especially in the DC Metro area where unemployment is typically lower than the national average. If you’re having a tough time hiring, take into consideration the following points to see if you can set yourself and your organization up for success when the talent market gets increasingly competitive.

1. Hire Quicker

In a more competitive talent market, it’s more likely that quality candidates will be receiving multiple job offers. The slower your recruitment process is, the more time you allow for other organizations to snatch up that "perfect fit" candidate. We suggest that your entire recruitment process from first identifying a promising candidate to the offer stage take no more than 2 weeks. Scheduling interviews can be challenging, especially when getting the C-Suite or upper-level managers involved. In order to still do your due diligence during your interview process and properly assess qualified candidates, make sure others know the importance of moving quickly without cutting corners. A slow recruitment process can mean missing out on in-demand candidates.

2. Review Your Salaries

When was the last time you, or someone in your organization took a good hard look at your offered salary ranges to see how they compare to the local talent market? If you answered this question by saying “I don’t know”, or “it’s been a few years”, then the time to review your salaries is right now. At ROCS we reviewed all contractor salaries since 2013 and found that since 2019 we’ve seen a 7.7% rise in wages. If your positions are underpriced in the talent market compared to similar openings with comparable organizations, you’ll not only find yourself looking at a smaller talent pool, but you’ll also sacrifice quality in the candidates that you’re able to consider. If you want to do a quick check to see how your salaries compare, Indeed offers a free salary comparison tool that tends to be fairly accurate for the local DC area and can be a good starting point.

3. Consider Your Work Environment

COVID-19 stay-at-home orders allowed many organizations to test out remote work for the first time ever. Now that return to office plans are resuming, we’re seeing that there’s no pleasing everyone. Some people are excited to get back into the office full-time while others are enjoying the new flexibility allowed through working from home. Last quarter we surveyed candidates in our network to find what work environments are most appealing to recent college graduates. Our findings were that the largest portion of candidates preferred some type of hybrid in office/ work from home model. Consider how your work environment compares to other comparable organizations and how this can impact your candidate pool.

4. Look at New Avenues to Find Candidates

For the “post and pray” recruiters out there, we’re seeing job board efficiency steadily declining for large name brand job boards. Positions that 2 years ago might have been posted for a week and received 100+ candidate resumes may now be receiving half the number of candidates expected. To still consider as wide of a talent pool of qualified candidates as possible you may find yourself needing to entertain new and different job boards, actively connect with industry groups and networking opportunities, or connect with student & alumni groups and organizations to find additional candidates who are qualified for your openings.

Moving fast, increasing salaries, creating a flexible environment and seeking new avenues for applicants are just a few suggestions your team should consider. We have seen success with clients who have implemented at least one of these strategies. If you feel you’ve done it all and are still struggling to find the right fit, it might just be time to call up the experts at ROCS!

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