February 18 2019
Like many of you, I’m thrilled to see the US economy improving. It offers a job to nearly every American, who get to enjoy actual salary increases for the first time in years. This is an optimistic era in US economic history, with record GDP growth and low unemployment numbers. With a strong economic foundation, there are stable opportunities for most Americans to make smart career, entrepreneurial, and investment decisions. It could all turn quickly as we have seen before, but that is why it is important to take advantage today. I see this in my three twenty-something kids who are talking optimistically about their jobs and career prospects. My 21-year-old son has already received four incredible offers for internships next summer. That was unheard of not long ago.
Obviously, there is a counterbalance to this growth: how do companies find and hire people to fill all the open positions? It is a tough market for recruitment, particularly in skilled fields like technology, but even positions that usually have an excess of talent, such as long-distance drivers, are desperately seeking candidates.
So, how should businesses be creative in their hiring efforts in this challenging recruitment period? As the CEO of a global background screening company, I am often asked by customers and colleagues how we find the incredible talent that designs our first-to-market innovations. Of course, compensation and competitive benefits are important, but there are other roads to securing quality talent. The following seven tips, evolved through discussions with customers and business owners, are creative possibilities to find and hire great people, creating win-win opportunities for businesses and employees.
1. Be creative with your current employees
At InfoMart, we live the mantra “great people make great companies.” It’s true. Put all those once-shelved corporate career development plans into pragmatic practice. You already have an incredible bench of people already under your roof. Stretch their responsibilities. Give them career opportunities outside their comfort zones. Mentor them. Encourage them. Teach them to develop their careers and, in turn, win their long-term loyalty.
2. Be willing to recruit from untapped resources
There are groups of people willing to work who are not traditionally considered due to biases or workplace challenges. These demographics include older generations, physically and mentally challenged individuals, and people without degrees or experience. As Americans, we collectively want everyone to participate and benefit. Give opportunities to people who would appreciate the consideration and value the opportunity. Of course, be wise about mutual safety issues and understand any legal concerns. Business is not just about business. It is also about doing good.
3. Be open
Hiring people with prior criminal convictions is worthy of passionate debate and consideration. There are a vast array of state and federal laws governing this kind of decision, never mind the workplace safety issues you must consider. But with an average of 620,000 people released from prison every year and millions of people with prior criminal convictions, this is this an untapped talent pool that also has the added benefit of decreasing recidivism rates. There are numerous stories of both successes and failures in hiring the “unhirable.” Go into this decision with eyes wide open.
4. Be thoughtful
My young taxi driver, who drove me from McCarran International to the 2018 HR Technology Conference and Exposition, was from Afghanistan, where he served as a translator for the US military. He was an incredible guy. He was lucky enough to be sponsored as a refugee into the US. He now has a job, a wife, and kids, and is building his American dream. As an immigrant from South Africa, I have thrived in the United States and, hopefully, have contributed positively to my adopted country. Refugees represent a pool of talent worthy of consideration for open positions, especially in current times when there are enough job options available for everyone.
5. Be flexible
In this new world of the sharing and gig marketplaces, people are rapidly becoming comfortable working multiple, flexible, and freelance positions. The gig economy is growing so rapidly that it is estimated that 30% of positions will soon be classified as gig. This is especially true of millennials. For certain companies and certain roles, it’s time to embrace part-time and project-based positions as an option for your company. There are both pros and cons to this approach, so be wise in how you structure this new type of flexible work.
6. Be genuinely hip
Have a positive culture where people can thrive and feel valued by understanding how popular culture continues to change the world. There are a variety of avenues to consider: go to college campuses and begin attracting a younger generation earlier by understanding what motivates and drives them; focus on positive, mission-driven contributions to society; and keep challenging your employees to go beyond average each and every day.
7. Be open to automation
This just makes sense for everyone. It is not simply about replacing jobs in your company. It is about automating and outsourcing basic, process-driven positions that can be completed more efficiently and more cost effectively via technology. In turn, this opens up opportunities for your employees to take on more career-driven, high-paid positions within your growing company.
Leadership is attracting and bringing out the best in people. Be a leader. Motivate. Encourage. Be creative with people’s skills and passions. Create a team and company mission. People thrive when there is a positive, significant mission. Attract the best talent and nurture incredible loyalty. Enjoy the current economic growth. Grow your company. But, most importantly, give opportunities to your existing team and grow your people. Best success!