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Attracting/Hiring in a Tight Job Market

Many of you know that I am a data junkie.  Each morning I have a routine that includes looking at 3 newspapers (on-line, of course), oil and gas futures, Conference Board reports and stock futures.  I tweet (follow me: @David_Magy) about the economy, especially the job market and its related numbers.  

Today's job market is one of the best I have seen in my years of matching people and jobs.  9 years in corporate HR, 7 in the career transition/outplacement field and 21+ in executive search has give me a LONG perspective.  

A few numbers from today speak to the market:

  • National Unemployment:  4.1% (it was at 4.7% one year ago; it was at 10% in October, 2009)
  • State Unemployment:  3.1% (it was 4% one year ago; it was 7.9% in October, 2009)
  • Twin Cities Unemployment:  2.4% (it was 3.6% one year ago; it was 7.4% in October, 2009)

I took an Economics class from Walter Heller, President Kennedy's Economic Adviser, while I was a student at the University of Minnesota.  He taught us that full employment was between 3% - 5% unemployment.  (More recently, full employment is considered between 4% - 6%.)  Regardless of which range you chose, we are there.  Add baby-boomer retirement and an expanding economy, you have a tight market.  

5 Tips for Hiring the Talent You Need In a Tight Labor Market

A recent article from, 5 Tips for Hiring the Talent You Need In a Tight Labor Market, gives 5 key pieces of information for thinking about adding to staff in this competitive market.  While you can look at the article, here is the quick version:

  1. Recognize that you aren’t the only game in town.  When we call candidates about an executive search we are conducting (and we are always retained on an exclusive basis by our clients), we are commonly told that they have been approached by other organizations about other similar (not the same) roles.
  2. Speed up the process.  We have many 'quotes' in our search firm.  One of our favorites (stated as recently as yesterday when taking on a new search) is, "Calendars Kill Candidates."
  3. There are no unicorns. Stop looking.  There are great candidates out there.  This article points out that there may not be one who meets every single requirement and that is paid below the hiring range.  While compromising is never right, looking at the total picture of a candidate (skills and cultural fit) will be key.
  4. Hire for fit. Train for skills.  The article points to a common HR adage:  “We hire for their technical skills and fire them for their interpersonal skills.”  
  5. Scale back credential inflation.  A person with exceptional experience who may not have the MBA you desire will take their exceptional experience and make it work - either for you or a competitor.  

The Conference Board reported the biggest concern of CEO's:  Attracting and retaining talent (Conference Board – 1/18/18; see Global Survey of C-Suite).  The advice - create a strategy to bring on the best - comprehensively and quickly.  

Wishing you a fantastic and successful 2018!