The beginning of a New Year often gives us a chance to reflect on the past and plan for the future. You can see what has been working and what’s been working on your last nerve. You can see the things that you’d like to change or you need to change in order to get where you want to be.
The beginning of a New Year can also mean that you’re trying to make a hire. If you are hiring at the moment or foresee the need to hire in the next year, then you should prepare for a challenge. A high rate of employment combined with a shortage of technical talent in the workforce is going to make 2016 another difficult year for making hires, especially hires with advanced degrees.
In 2015, many companies experienced some difficulty finding the talent they needed, when they needed to find it. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the national unemployment rate is at 5%, which many economists consider to be at or near full employment. For professionals in IT, the average unemployment rate is at 2.9% and as low as 1.6% in some states. With such high rates of employment, the supply of available, qualified candidates has hardly ever been lower.
Along with a lower candidate supply, demand for talent is exceedingly high. According to another article from the Society for Human Resource Management, a recent DHI survey found that 61% of hiring managers are planning on making more hires in the first half of 2016. What’s more, a survey from Dice found that 71% of companies are planning on increasing the size of their technology staff by 11% in the first half of 2016.
So, now that we’re nearing full employment, the majority of companies in this country are planning on making significant increases to the size of their staff. Talk about bad timing.
To make things even worse, jobs are growing increasingly difficult to fill. According to a survey from Indeed, jobs that aren’t filled within the first 30 days are likely to remain open for multiple months. In 2015, 56% of job postings remained active for longer than one month. After another month on the job market, 40% of job ads were still left active and 33% of job ads were active for 3-4 months.
When this unfilled position is critical to sales, support or another vital department, then this department will be placed under an increasing amount of pressure as time goes on. The longer the vacancy, the more dissatisfied your over-worked employees will become. With so much demand for talent, you can bet that dissatisfied employees will have no trouble balancing a job search with their increased workload.
Overall, 2016 is going to be a challenging year to make a hire. According to job market experts at Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., businesses will have to tap alternative candidate sources in order to deal with the hiring challenges of 2016.
“They will have to rely more heavily on referrals from current employees. They will have to be more open to considering candidates who might have longer-than-desired gaps on their resumes or whose skills and experience do not perfectly align with the job opening. We could see starting salaries increase, as well as the salaries of existing workers, as employers try to attract and retain the best talent.”
Best Practices for Hiring in 2016
More than ever, it is important to put the candidate first. If you are trying to hire a talented professional in your industry, emphasizing a candidate-friendly interview process will ensure their interest, but won’t be enough on its own. In order to make the skilled hires that you need, you must be sure that your job opportunity measures up against competitors in your industry.
Using video, voice and online interviewing techniques will both shorten the length of your interview cycle and win you points with candidates. With such a high employment rate, it’s important to be flexible enough for employed candidates to participate in the interview process without having to raise any eyebrows where they currently work. Video and voice interviews are generally more convenient than in-person interviews and will allow you to pare down your applicant pool before conducting face-to-face interviews.
You should also use technology as a selling point for technical talent. Skilled, technically-minded workers want to use the most cutting edge technology and hate feeling like they’re behind the bell curve. If you want to attract tech talent, then you will have to invest in cutting edge tech tools for them to use.
Put your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Companies across the country will be raising wages in hope of attracting employees who are already employed elsewhere. In order to close with talented candidates and make the hires you need to, you should always be sure that you’re offering a competitive salary. If you aren’t willing to hire for the going rate in your industry, prepare for even greater difficulty hiring top talent.
Use Alternative Candidate Sources
Tapping into alternative candidate sources can bring you talent when traditional candidate sources fail you. By leveraging referrals from your employees and subscribing to industry specific and niche job boards, you can reach candidates that you would have never sourced through your usual job board subscriptions.
By utilizing technology, offering competitive salaries and tapping alternative candidate sources, you can work around 2016’s difficult job market conditions.