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A Rock and a Hard Place – Ways to be adaptable in today’s hiring climate to ensure sustainability for your company

No doubt, like many others, you’re feeling stressed about finding exceptional employees to hire. You just cannot seem to find the right person that fits all your criteria, or you find them but can’t seem to keep them. The results? You are stressed, your entire team is stressed, and your overall business momentum is suffering. The hardest part? Knowing how and when to adapt and change what you “think” you are looking for to what you actually need/can find. Below are three things you can begin to do now that will help you adapt to the changing hiring climate, and ultimately lead to the longevity and success of your business.

Look internally at your hiring practices

It is all too easy to keep looking outside, and blaming things like the low unemployment rates, as the reason you cannot seem to find your perfect employee or keep the one you do find. But an important step most companies forget about is looking INTERNALLY at their own processes, particularly hiring and onboarding, as potential causes for the problems they are facing. Make sure you are not victim to some of the common mistakes businesses make that lead to poor employee retention. Look at your job descriptions – are you being too specific or are your requirements unrealistic, potentially causing qualified individuals not to apply because they don’t match one of the attributes you list? Are you moving too quickly or too slowly, not being thorough enough, or too rigorous? An easy way to determine this is to ask your stellar employees how the process was for them, and/or conduct interviews with ones who recently left to see what factors played a role in their choice. It is important, no matter what route you take to finding answers, listen objectively, and be prepared to start implementing plans for resolving the problems you might find. And remember – the issues you find are often not what you think, so learning to adapt them is key…

Be open to modifying your “ideal” list

As mentioned above, while you might feel you are being crystal clear in your job description and responsibilities for the new hire, many companies fall into the trap of actually backing themselves into a corner accidently. While it is critical to know what you need from a new employee, or for a new position, don’t close yourself off to suggestions and compromises that might yield even better results. Just as two people can have very different solutions to the same problem, so two different candidates that don’t meet “all” the criteria you want, can bring even better things to the table. Figuring out how to adapt between the two is going to be a major success move for you, so don’t be afraid to try it. Additionally, ask your current employees what they think might be good to look for in a new candidate/position. Since they are your front-line, day to day resources, they could suggest something you hadn’t even thought of. Try it out – you won’t lose anything in asking.

Invest in your internal employees

While hiring from outside is sometimes the best way to go, companies can miss out by ONLY looking outwardly. If you have a position you really need to fill, especially one that’s a bit higher up or has extra responsibilities (such as management), it can be beneficial to look at hiring for it INTERNALLY first. While someone in your company might not have the on-paper experience you are looking for, they often have something even more important: the company/culture experience, and the internal relationships. With some investment in skill and knowledge training, they will adapt to their new responsibilities exceptionally well. The payoff for internal hiring can be substantial for many reasons, a major one being that it gives the entire culture a boost – knowing that a promotion is possible builds confidence and helps others set goals to strive for.

So, what is the big takeaway? Learn how to be flexible and adaptable! This does not have to mean lowering your standards or expecting less from the people you hire. It means being open to other solutions, other criteria, and other hiring options (i.e. internal vs. external). Learning flexibility will bring about a stronger candidate base, and stronger company buy-in. Take a chance on something new, it will likely reap more benefits than you thought…

If you’re interested in learning more, and discussing other issues, connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook, or email Kim West.


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