• eileen@hrxconsultingllc.com

Tips for Good Hiring in a Tight Market



Can you answer these questions, 1) “What’s it like working here?” and 2) “Why would someone want to work for me?” If you can’t answer them, you need to really give that some thought and objective consideration. Ask your employees these two questions! See what answers you get – it might surprise you!

The answers to those questions are, in part, key to your future success – on all fronts, not just successful hiring! (If you didn’t like the answers you got, you need to make some changes! Identify the disconnect from your company’s mission, vision and values, to your employees’ and your answers. This is a topic for another blog!)

If the answers were positive, but not what you were expecting,you’ve just uncovered some valuable recruiting information! Maybe the employees like the feeling of being respected and having fun while working hard! Perhaps it’s the flexible scheduling provided workers as this is really a help for employees who have small kids, or family members for whom they care. Maybe your employees appreciate the investment you make in their continuing education and training. Whatever their answers are – that is the value proposition you need to promote in your job postings!


Does your job description accurately reflect the work the position does? Equally important, does it have the appropriate minimum requirements? This is going to be the basis for the job advertisement, so it needs to be accurate. Many job descriptions have an educational requirement of a bachelor’s degree when perhaps a high school diploma or GED will suffice. You could be removing good candidates just from that alone! Consider carefully the minimum level of experience necessary. Perhaps you can take a good candidate with limited experience and develop them into an excellently-skilled employee.

What are the competencies that make this position successful? If you have someone who is very successful in the performance of the job, what is it about them that makes them so successful: attention to detail; problem-solving; self-starting abilities, etc.? If there is not an employee who is in the position or not quite at the level of performance you’re wanting, identify what competencies would be needed. These are the types of attributes you will want to advertise for and select!

Remember you want to hire for cultural fit – you can train for skills, you can’t train for cultural fit!


Now that you have your EVP, a well-developed job description, including competencies, you have to “reach” potential applicants. Write the job posting to reflect your culture – is it fun and exciting? Is it scientific and exacting? Use your EVP to tell people why they would want to come join your team! You’re not just like the other businesses out there – don’t let your job posting sound like it! Help your future employee picture how they can make a difference by working with your team. What can you provide them to enhance their work experience?

For those of us who love to see what you’re talking about - upload a video showing applicants what the position does and letting them know how a current employee feels about working for you!

You are going to want to provide an overview of the position’s responsibilities, type of work (full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal), whether it supervises others, hours of work, and what benefits are available. You can post a starting salary, if it is an entry level position; you can post a salary range; or you can post the salary is “based upon experience” – applicants really want to have a sense of what the position pays. Applicants are going to be comparison shopping, so you are going to want to put your position in the best light possible.

Offer a signing bonus! That could make a huge difference to a candidate. Pay them half of the signing bonus upon hire and the other half after they successfully complete their introductory/probationary period. That way, if they aren’t quite who they appeared to be at the interview or if another offer steals them away, you have not lost the full amount.


This is the question to which everyone wants the magic answer! You need to be where everyone else is and you need to be in unexpected places. You can post positions on all of the on-line job boards, that’s where everyone else is, you’ll be in good company. This is why it is very important to be “outstanding” in your job posting!

Think of where people congregate electronically: Facebook, LinkedIn, professional/industry groups or blogs, and industry-specific job boards. Don’t forget the “old school” social platforms: churches, schools, community center bulletin boards, etc.

Look to your employees: 1) ask them for referrals. If you find a good applicant, you could provide that referring employee a gift card (be sure to gross it up to cover taxes, as this is considered income per the IRS); and 2) do you have an employee that is ready for a change or promotion? Do they possess the right competencies and can learn new skills? You can promote from within and then back-fill that employee’s position, which might be easier to fill.

In some technical trades, there seems to be a shortage of workers. You may also want to consider bringing in an apprentice, someone you can train to do the job you need done and giving them critical skills to build their career. Reach out to your local technical schools’ placement center. There are also various federal programs through the Department of Laborand/or check with your state’s department of labor.

Another great source of applicants are military veterans. Military veterans have learned skills that can greatly benefit the civilian employer. They are trained on the value of team work, collaboration, and they understand the importance of respecting their co-workers and leaders. They are goal orientated, have a great work ethic, and are comfortable with shifting priorities. For recruiting assistance, check out the Department of Labor’s website Veteran’s Employment and Training Service (VETS). You can also reach out to your local military bases.

Many veterans held specific jobs that can translate easily into non-military roles while others roles might be a bit harder to correlate. O*Net On-linecan help you understand the functionality of the military job into a civilian equivalent.


With the tighter job market, an employer may need to look at previously unexplored avenues. You may need to look at different types of potential employees: people with criminal backgrounds and helping to move people from welfare to work. You can partner with your state employment agency to get assistance in out-reach to these individuals.

For the past few years “Ban the Box”, the grass-roots effort of many organizations have tried to help employers understand the large pool of historically-overlooked applicants, people with criminal backgrounds. “Ban the Box” is when companies do not ask about criminal backgrounds on the application form or early on in the interview process. This allows some good candidates to continue on with the application process, increasing their chances of being successfully selected. When an offer is extended, then a background check would be conducted and the criminal background would be reviewed to determine if it would prevent the person from being able to successfully fill the position.

You should be conducting a background check on all your applicants. When an applicant comes back with a criminal history, there are few things to consider before just discarding the applicant. Review the number of offenses, did something just happen once or multiple times. How long ago was the crime? If it happened 12 years ago and nothing has happened sense, it might be fine. What was the nature of the crime and what is the job for which they are applying? If the job is a cashier and the crime was theft – probably not a good fit. But if the job is a customer service representative at a call center and the crime was motor vehicle theft, that might work.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is partnering with Koch Industries to encourage employers to give opportunities to qualified job applicants with criminal backgrounds. It is called Getting Talent Back to Work. This program provides employers with valuable information and an excellent toolkit for how to successfully integrate a person with a criminal background into their workforce.

Applicants with criminal backgrounds and welfare recipients have traditionally dealt with many barriers to employment. In today’s tight market, many employers are starting to take a serious look at them. The federal government also provides an incentive to employers that hire and retain individuals from these target groups and others, if hired before January 2020. It is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).


This will truly help set you apart from other employers. Keep them informed of the process and their progress. Also, try to keep the hiring process as short as possible – good candidates can be at a high demand, and you can lose good ones to another quicker-acting employer.

If you would like help with recruiting, developing a job posting, developing a job description or any other HR Headache, contact me and I will be happy to be of assistance: 316 -677-7981.

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