Conquering the Talent Shortage

hiring shortage

If you’re currently struggling with the talent shortage… You’re not alone.

Men Drinking Coffee in the morning
Photo by Chris Benson

The process of finding job seekers, hiring, driving performance, and retaining people will either amplify your growth or cause your business to decline. The “Great Resignation” era is here and your employees are restless.


You need new strategies for hiring and retaining your great talent!


We always joke that recruiting is like fishing. You must cast a wide net in your talent pool and get them to notice you. But what happens when the fish are jumping out just as fast as you can catch them?  Maybe you try adding some of those fancy fish lures to help (AKA sign-on bonuses and perks).

But how about we flip the tables. What if WE ARE THE FISH?  This is a job-seekers market, and they know it!  They are stringing us along as they seek to get the best offers. Well, if we are the fish…how do we play this game to win?

The problem many HR departments have is that they are trying to do things the way they did in an “Employers market”.  Days are gone when candidates just apply to HR’s posted job descriptions. It’s not working anymore. You have to think more about finding your talent the way your sales and marketing teams would. They would probably start with the following questions:

  • Who are we trying to engage?
  • Are we getting in front of them?
  • Do our ads actually speak to their pain?
  • How can we adjust the type of job structure?
  • How can we improve our benefits compared to everybody else?
  • What is our Differentiator to stand out among our competition?
  • What is our price level compared to our competition?


Once you know your core hiring market, you need to speak to the values that appeal to them- connect on a human level.

Here are 8 mainstay tips to engage your core candidate market:


1. Write great job postings.

Make the job appealing to what they are seeking. Ask yourself- why do you enjoy working here? What makes this company and job unique?  One of our clients saw a tremendous jump in quality applicants when we came up with fun job post titles like “Coding Ninja” for an “AV Code Programmer” or “Chief Happiness Officer” for the HR Manager.

Add fun quirky perks that would stand out. If you are a restaurant and you offer a free meal to your employees, add that in the “Why do you want to work here area”.

Benefit packages need to reflect what your employees want. Make sure to spend your money on what they will use.

Future generations are purpose-driven. Share any philanthropic or passions the company supports. They want to work for a company where they feel a meaningful connection.

Deloitte’s research found that 69% of Generation Z said that diversity was the key to workplace loyalty for them.

You do not have to post the whole job description. If the job description is pages long and has boring details, they will not read it and will not be interested. Simply put “a full job description will be provided prior to your interview” to keep compliant with legal.

Know where your competitors are hunting. Watch them, study them…. And then outperform them.


2. Meet your talent where they are looking.

How and where are you posting your jobs? Is it easy is it to apply to your positions? Are your jobs posted on a mobile-friendly site? Almost 50% of our applicants on Indeed applied via Mobile devices. Zip Recruiter has been the best for mid-level recruiting, and LinkedIn is our go-to for Executive and Senior roles. Social Media is a great source of for customer service and entry-level jobs.

Mobile-friendly recruitment strategy, job seekers increasingly demand the ability to use their phone to find and apply for a job, especially millennials and Generation Y because both generations use their cell phones for everything.  To reach these candidates your company needs to have the ability for them to apply in the manner they are used to, mobile-first over laptop or desktop.

Texting platforms used in your Marketing can also be used to engage with candidates. Social media offers free job posting, posting to local job groups and targeted job ads.


3. Modernize your interviewing process.

If you haven’t reviewed or updated how your team interviews lately, now is a good time to do so.  Do you have a texting platform to schedule interviews? Do you prescreen candidates with questions in the application process? What automation methods are you using to speed up, create consistency and/or engage with them? Many don’t really update or look into the questions they ask every candidate when hiring for the same position openings for their clients.  We suggest Manager training and an Interview Scorecard to ensure consistency.

Post job advertisements vs. Job Descriptions and make your job “sell to your candidates”. Speak to what is in it for them.


4. Make sure it is a match for them.

Retention starts with a mutually beneficial relationship. How far is their commute? What are their short-term and long-term goals? I understand many companies are desperate to fill roles, but long-term success won’t be found in hiring an employee into a position they don’t like.  If they are unhappy that negative energy breeds into your culture. Make sure you are asking the right questions to ensure they will be happy long-term.

Things change, maybe they need to be moved to a different role or they want to be on a different career path.


5. Referral programs work.

Think big!  Driving massive referral marketing with employees and ex-employees, customers, people in our community, influencers, etc. can be a short-term and long-term strategy. It works!  At Agency 8, 50%+ of our hires for temp and temp-to-hire roles come from referrals. How did we do it? We decreased barriers to getting it. We pay $100 for a hired referral that works 100 hours. The faster turn-around increased our volume. Think about the local restaurant you ate at last- did a friend tell you how good it was? You wanted to check it out so that you can share in the experience.  Here are free job referral program templates you can customize then download that you can post or email to your team.


6. Measure, test, and adjust everything.

It comes down to finding not just the number of quality applicants received but some measure to compare it against. Generally, this either has to do with the number of hires, number of openings, or the number of headcounts.  We review our jobs weekly and discuss the performance of our methods. If it is not yielding results after 2 weeks, we change it up. We then look at hires from each site or method and compare each quarter.


7. Always be Selling.

Diversify your approach with candidates and know sales vs. marketing methods to finding talent. Ok, pop quiz time: Job board posting; is that sales or marketing? If you said marketing, you got the A. Job posting is inbound marketing where you post and pray that they apply. But, what do you do when marketing strategy methods are failing you?  You get on the sales hunt. We never take offense to being called a “Headhunter”. Us Headhunters are the Lion or Lioness of the talent jungle, and we will go after candidates you need. We “Sell” the job to people we find that are a match. You can do this too!

Try a Recruiting Business Card

When you are at a retail store, restaurant, getting your taxes done, or buying groceries, sometimes you receive exemplary service.  This is when it’s great to have a business card designed specifically to recruit quality employees you meet who serve you well.  Is the employee you are impressed by at Starbucks happy with their career or possibly looking for something else. Share these cards with high performers.  It is a kind compliment for them to be noticed.

Want to hire someone from your competitor? Connect to them on LinkedIn and ask them if they know anyone that might be looking because you are hiring. Plus, you will make their day and they will feel flattered.


8. Keep them Happy!

Know what matters to your employees and value it as well. If they struggle with getting kids picked up at the daycare by 6, do not keep them past 5:30. Tell them “James I know you want to stay but your son is waiting, and work will be here tomorrow, now go home”. Think of the impact you made on what they value. That is respect.

One of my favorite CEOs had a practice to walk the floor 1-2x a day to visit with everyone he could. The company got so big this might take an hour. But it was worth it. Employees respected him and felt a loyalty to him in particular. One Executive I worked with years ago stopped and wrote thank you notes to her team when they did something great. She stayed late, got in early and wrote us notes to feel appreciated.

There has been a huge shift in remote work capabilities. If your organization has the luxury of any flexibility, explore how you can offer it. SHRM recently reported 78% of employees are wanting telework options. Flexibility has been declared the most desired benefit.

Know what matters to your employee segment. Chipotle‘s college tuition program has increased retention by 3.5x for the employee in the program.

Millennials are called the “restless Generation” and rethinking their priorities as they enter their middle-age. Yes, you read that right… they are hitting the big 4-0 this year. And 34% of them are looking for a job change.

We feel the pressure to increase wages, and 53% of workers surveyed by SHRM site that better pay is their job move motivator. Sometimes that is the simple band-aid. But be careful you are not going to end up in a retractory predicament. Bonus offerings might be the better short-term solution such as sign-on, retention or project goal-based bonuses.

Think of the 5 Rs of Retention


Responsibility. Show your employees you trust them by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow.

Respect. Employees want to know they are respected and appreciated. Value what matters to them.

Revenue-sharing. Tie a part of your employee’s wages to the company’s performance. Engage them to care about how good the company is performing.

Reward. Create a culture of compliments. Praise through words, timely gifts, and perks.

Relaxation Time. Value their time, reward with time, and thank them for their time.


Struggling with Employee Retention, create a retention calendar with monthly activities to keep employees happy and engaged. Small frequent actions make a HUGE impact.

Are you needing help finding talent and want our help?  We got you Boo!!!  Reach out to the 5-star Team at Agency 8 and let us know how we can help. We will visit with you and strategize to come up with a customized recruiting strategy for you. We will review resumes, interview candidates, test candidates and summarize your top applicants to help your managers with a easy hiring process. Your Managers can also take advantage of our Managers guide to interviewing and the FREE Interview scorecard.





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