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5 tips for hiring during a talent shortage

Hiring Employees

4 min read

As the pandemic recedes and the economy slowly reopens, small business owners are facing a perhaps familiar question within a particularly unique context: How can I hire the right people during a labor shortage?

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You may be experiencing firsthand the difficulty of finding great job candidates in this moment—when many unemployed workers are choosing to stay unemployed, and others are looking for different workplace situations than they had pre-pandemic. And while recruitment is always a difficult part of management, the stakes may feel even higher as you try to push forward and make up for lost business. So how can you make sure your small business stands out to job-seekers? Here are a few ideas.


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1. Craft a values-based job post

First impressions are everything—this goes for job candidates, but also for your small business. That’s how your job posting has the potential to influence the entire hiring process that follows. To stand out from other brands, move away from bland job descriptions that are nothing but a laundry list of requirements, and shift towards a more personal, direct and magnetic job advertisement. If you want to find the right people, create a hiring process that’s based on your company values and culture, and craft a stellar job post that reflects them. Ask yourself: What type of person am I looking to hire? What qualities should they bring to the table, and what can I help them learn? Show each prospective employee how their future team could support their individual growth. 

2. Offer workplace flexibility

While many folks are resisting a return to the workplace due to concerns over family and health, others are realizing—employers and employees alike—that they actually prefer working remotely. What started off as a precautionary measure is now becoming indefinite and common. In this new normal of workplace dynamics, think about how you can meet your candidates’ needs: Maybe applicants would like the option to work from home or maintain a flexible schedule that meets family demands. If they see in your job posting that you’re willing to connect on a personal level and collaborate on a flexible plan that suits both them and the business, they’re more likely to reach out.

3. Compete with market rates

No matter the job title, competitive pay is mandatory if you want to bring in strong employees. This has become especially true when hiring for entry-level positions with a typically lower wage. Before you start recruiting for a new role, do some research on the average salary or hourly rate for similar job postings, and consider how you can offer a competitive rate while maintaining your payroll budget and minimizing turnover. For managerial positions in your business, think about offering additional perks or benefits, such as a signing bonus. Though your cash flow may dip for that month, it’s a one-off expense that can potentially save time and provide long-term value by helping you to quickly secure the right candidate.

4. Provide enticing benefits

After such a difficult year, it may be fiscally impossible to invest more in your payroll at the moment. If so, turn your attention to your benefits package. Start by considering how to incrementally improve the employee benefits you already provide, such as medical insurance, stock options or paid time off. If even that seems out of reach financially, there are still plenty of ways to entice prospective employees by using what’s already at your disposal. Can you offer them your product or service at a discounted rate or for free? Or could you add on a more experience-based perk, like career development opportunities? If the only thing you can budget today is complimentary beverages and snacks in the office, that’s still something! Whatever you’re able to manage, the important thing is that your employees—current and prospective—feel considered and appreciated.

5. Upgrade your tech tools

Many candidates vet potential employers by the quality of their technology, especially when working in a remote environment. So, if you’re still relying on bulletin boards and sticky notes, maybe it’s time to upgrade to more robust project management tools. Such improvements will not only draw in a different type of applicant, they’ll also improve efficiency in your search and the hiring process, and across your business as a whole. 

As the economy continues to mend, the labor shortage and talent pool is also going to shift. Having the right strategy through this flux will help you find the rockstar employees you need, not only to fill the gaps in your day to day, but to contribute to your company’s vision in the long run. Need some help taking the first step? We’re happy to help you get started.

Tricia Huebner

Written by Tricia Huebner

Tricia Huebner is EMyth's VP of Coaching Emeritus. As one of the leading experts in all facets of the EMyth Approach, her 20 years of experience at EMyth included leadership roles in program development, coaching, coach training and marketing. Tricia’s commitment to helping business owners came from her own upbringing in a family of small business owners. In her time as a speaker and trainer, she addressed business audiences throughout the U.S., and internationally in Canada, Europe and Africa. Throughout her career, Tricia designed programs for the Small Business Administration and consulted with Fortune 1000 companies, and personally coached more than 200 small and mid-sized businesses, helping owners create businesses they love leading and lives they love living. She retired from EMyth in 2022 to pursue her own business within the wine industry.