The job creation numbers are slowing down yet I don’t think that is due to a catastrophic economic slowdown. 

The most recent jobs report shows that we have 50-year record low unemployment that is holding month-to-month.  The average hourly wage rate is rising at over 3%.  These factors are signs of a still-strong economy settling in to a cruise control speed for the time being.

What is an ongoing problem is hiring…a problem due to a nearly full (100%) employment situation.  In fact, the latest jobs report revealed there are 6.7 million job openings and a total of only 6.4 million unemployed people available to fill them.  To say it is a candidate’s market would be a gross understatement.

So you are going to have to make adjustments to your hiring process.  Outside of hiring us to do your recruiting, please allow me to make a handful of suggestions to augment your hiring process in this present economy.

Invest the Time
You are going to spend far longer on these activities than you anticipate.  Start by writing, editing and rewriting your job ad.  You are fighting for very few candidates, but one way you can win is to write a better ad than your competitors.  When you talk to the candidates, make sure you know the position well – requirements, expectations, earnings, etc., are all data that you need to have prepared for when those topics arise.  The candidates all have other options so don’t send them away due to your ambiguous answers.

Invest the Money
Job promoting costs are skyrocketing on Indeed and LinkedIn (the two sites I use the most).  This increase is convenient for those sites (and their revenue), but there is no way to change it.  Bite the bullet and invest more money than you expected.  Your well-written ad serves no purpose if if isn’t seen by many candidates.  One more suggestion – repost your ad often (even weekly).  Being at the top of the search list is important and much of that ranking is driven by the recency of your posting.

Compress Your Hiring Process
Your hiring process needs to be moving briskly.  You must assume your strong candidates have multiple opportunities beyond your opportunity.  If you delay, you lose.  I am an advocate for hire slow and fire fast, but you can still run an effective hiring process in a compressed time frame.  Instead of taking a week or two to “get back” to a candidate, you need to make your decision in a matter of 1 or 2 days and get to the next step.  Hiring managers get nervous about these decisions, but that is whywe sell tools to get a reliable measurement of a salesperson’s abilities. To be clear, you should still run your hiring process, but make sure you are not having weeks-long gaps between steps.

Compensation will be Negotiated
Many salespeople will negotiate compensation even in slow hiring markets.  I have no qualms about that move (good sales behavior and a sign they are not weak on discussing money).  You must anticipate any offer you make to a sales candidate will be countered.  It is not an affront to you or your offer…as mentioned, it is just good sales behavior.   Salary is salary – know what your top end is for the position, but you don’t necessarily want to lead with it.  More importantly, make sure you have a solid, and real, commission plan to share at the appropriate time in your hiring process.  Any grey area in your compensation plan will be a red flag for the candidate and could potentially push them to another opportunity.

Prepare the Candidate for the Counter Offer
Good salespeople are always in demand, but never more so than in tight labor markets.  If you have identified the candidate as strong, it is safe to bet other hiring companies have done the same.  More importantly, the strong candidate’s current employer may not want to lose them.  If that is the case, you have to anticipate a counter offer from their employer (I have longstanding issues with counter offers).  The best move is to get in front of it – ask the candidate how they are going to handle the impending counter offer from their current employer.  This move works two ways:  first, you prepare them to say no; second, you set it up that there should be a counter offer.  If their employer does not move to a counter offer quickly, the candidate will be disappointed in that employer.  The same principle works when attempting to derail an offer from another hiring company.  You must do this move in this record-setting labor market.

As you can see, the present labor market presents many challenges to hiring talented salespeople.  If you incorporate these 5 hiring hacks into your process, you will improve your efficiency dramatically.  If you are at your wit’s end in trying to fill eternally-open positions, we can help!

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