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Opinion: How to creatively recruit in a tight job market

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In today’s job market, more openings exist than candidates to fill them, let alone quality candidates. Companies have been reporting that potential hires often do not show up to interviews, and when they do, the next hurdle is seeing them at the scheduled onboarding.

The unfortunate results are businesses being forced to increase pay, decrease laborer count, close locations, decrease hours of operation, increase prices and resign themselves to decreased customer service. Organizations must begin more creative and aggressive recruiting in order to survive in today’s economy.

Here are a few tips.

Market the job
Focus on selling your corporation, job opening and geographic area. Determine the tangible and intangible benefits of working for your enterprise by asking: Why do current staff like working for the firm? How does the community perceive your company? Why would someone want this job? Why would someone want to relocate to southwest Missouri?

Assess your competition, including unique benefits and recruiting techniques. Then, develop your marketing materials based upon the information gathered.

Be available when it is convenient to the applicant. That means treating applicant calls, emails, texts and walk-ins like sales calls. Respond as quickly as possible, and sell the job and the business. Also, significantly decrease the turnaround time from application to interview to job offer to onboarding. Be sure everyone involved in the selection process is aware of the rapid turnaround goals.

Team effort
Numerous recruiting opportunities remain available utilizing resources within the organization. Contact previous team members eligible for rehire, including retirees. Review old resumes and applications. Encourage new hires to refer previous coworkers. Require employees to join relevant organizations in order to network and promote the career opportunities available. Encourage management to perform public speaking engagements, with presentations communicating job openings. Provide management with recruitment-oriented business cards and encourage shopping for new hires while they are consumers in the community. Merge the company’s recruiting advertising messages with marketing efforts for products and services, including recruiting on outdoor signage and at events, newsletters and tradeshows. Post window and yard signage.

Host an open house. Determine a theme, develop displays and use giveaways. Create stations for each phase of the selection process, such as application completion, interviewing and reference checking. 

Develop and implement a worker referral program. Keep the rules simple. Determine the type and amount of reward, as well as payment terms. Continually promote the program, and publicize successful hires.

New audiences
Perform a radio, podcast, TV and/or web ad recruiting blitz. Target the correct geographic audience. Communicate the number of job openings. Do not make it hard for applicants by asking for resumes. Instead, encourage a simple phone call. Be sure to use employee testimonials, and/or have a popular media personality perform the announcement. Execute all advertising within a three-day period.

Take advantage of placement services in colleges and vocational schools. Participate in their job fairs. Reach out to campus organizations and alumni associations. Contact professors in relevant departments and offer to conduct presentations in classrooms.

Promote your opportunity in professional, trade and community organizations. Advertise on billboards, in theaters and on laundromat and grocery store bulletin boards. Consider welfare-to-work programs, prison work-release programs and sponsoring foreign nationals.

There’s  a lot that can be done to bridge the gap between job candidates and open positions. By utilizing creative recruiting techniques and effectively selling your corporation and job, you will see results.

Lynne Haggerman holds a master of science in industrial organizational psychology and is president/owner of Lynne Haggerman & Associates LLC, specializing in management training, retained search, outplacement and human resource consulting. She can be reached at


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