How to find great employees in the modern economy

The current job market is challenging for both employers and job seekers to navigate. 

With many companies making cuts in the past couple of years and some workers reluctant to return to the labor market, knowing how to find great employees is one of the biggest challenges for businesses today.

However, with a few tweaks to your hiring process, you can gain more visibility for your open role and fill it with the right candidate. 

Keep reading to learn how to find great employees that you can rely on for the long term.

Why is it hard to find good employees?

Struggling to find the right candidate to fill a job position is a situation everyone faces. Several factors may contribute to this issue, from your business process to the economy. While you can’t single-handedly fix the economy, you do have control over other factors.

Two of the top reasons for struggling to find the right employees are:

  1. Wrong skills.
  2. Remote work preference.

Let’s take a closer look at these two issues. 

Wrong skills

You may find that candidates lack the skills you require for the job. But the truth is that you might be prioritizing the wrong skills in your search for the perfect candidate.

Many job seekers and employers emphasize hard skills but forget that soft skills are just as important. Soft skills can even help overcome other skill gaps. 

To find well-rounded candidates, take a look at all of the skills they have instead of relying on your checklist.  Prioritize soft skills such as:

  • Communication skills.
  • Critical thinking. 
  • Digital literacy.
  • Teamwork and leadership skills.

Remote work preference

One of the newest and largest issues in this job market is the desire to work from home.

In a Business Insider poll, 39% of workers said they would consider quitting their current job if they didn’t have the option to work remotely. Almost half of the respondents who said this were born in 1980 or later. 

However, not all businesses are on board for remote work, with many implementing a hybrid model as a compromise. The demand for flexible work has more workers exploring their options rather than settling for a compromise. 

Consider how much flexibility you can give your employees in return for making your business more attractive to job seekers. 

With a few changes to how you recruit employees and operate your business, you’ll be able to overcome these challenges and master how to find great employees. 

Let’s look at how to optimize your business to find the best candidates.

Change #1: Establishing a hiring process

When figuring out how to find great employees, your first step should be to look at your current hiring process. 

The goal is for your recruitment process should be straightforward and organized. So, map out your hiring process steps and track your candidates as they progress. You should have a clear timeline for when you want the position filled and use the right small business software to stay on top of the process.

What’s more is that the recruitment process is a two-way street. Applicants can tell when your hiring process is disorganized, which can cause them to reconsider whether they want to join your organization. The hiring process is your chance to show potential employees why they should choose to join your team.

Change #2: Recognize great talent when you see it

When discussing how to find great employees, you have to start with your ability to recognize what you’re looking for. If you don’t know what you want in the perfect candidate, you’ll never find “the one”.  

Recognizing talent doesn’t just go for your external hiring process. Your current employees may have the skills for a role that you’re struggling to fill. Recognizing the talent of your current employees makes them feel valued and saves you from going through an unnecessary recruiting process.

Change #3: Look for “great” rather than “experienced”

When searching for potential candidates, it makes sense to prioritize experience when reviewing applications. However, experience doesn’t always make for the perfect job candidate in today’s market.

For example, a new graduate may lack experience in the industry but have the drive to learn plus other positive characteristics that a more experienced candidate lacks.

Non-experience aspects to consider in potential candidates include:

  • Growth mindset.
  • Culture add.
  • Personal values.
  • Passion for the industry. 

Consider whether it’s easier to train a new graduate on the technical aspects of a job than make a more experienced candidate fit these criteria.

To guide you during the recruitment process, make a list of the skills and experience that you require from a qualified candidate. Then make a list of anything that is “nice to have.” This ensures that you consider a wider range of well-rounded candidates.

Change #4: Help employees become brand ambassadors

When figuring out how to find great employees, your opinion isn’t the only one that matters. 

When looking to add someone to your team, it’s important to consult your current team. There are several reasons you should involve your team in the hunt for great job candidates.

For starters, your current employees have insights into what makes a great candidate, especially if they are in the role you’re recruiting for. They can also indicate what type of person they think would be a good fit for the team. 

What’s more is that your team can provide perspective on how effective your current recruitment process is based on their hiring and onboarding experience.

Get your employees involved with the interview process to help you determine whether a candidate fits with the company culture. Better yet, consider an employee referral program to encourage your employees to bring in trusted talent.

Change #5: Maximize your job postings visibility

You can create the perfect job posting, but it isn’t benefitting you if the right people aren’t finding it.

When thinking about how to find great employees, you should ask yourself: “Where do great employees search for jobs?”. Restricting your job postings to one website doesn’t provide enough visibility, meaning many great candidates won’t know that your posting exists.

Post on multiple job posting sites to gain the most visibility. Try not to post in too specific of a category to cast a wider net for high-quality candidates.

Some popular places where job candidates search include:

  • LinkedIn.
  • Indeed.
  • Upwork.
  • Industry-related forums.

It’s also a good idea to leverage other tools, such as paid advertising or your social media platforms. 

If you consider each of these changes, you put yourself in a much better position to find qualified applicants.

Secrets to finding employees and keeping them

Now that you know what you have to change to find great employees, you need to create a plan to recruit and retain potential employees.

Here are the top ways to find great employees to keep driving your business forward. 

Look in your own backyard

The first secret to knowing how to find great employees is knowing where to look. But here’s the real secret: the best candidate might be right under your nose.

When looking for someone to fill a role, you should start your search internally. Promoting an internal candidate boosts employee morale and saves you time in the hiring process. 

Plus, an internal employee requires less training, as they are familiar with your business. 

The benefits of hiring internally are not only in time savings. Upgrading the skills of an existing employee costs less than hiring a new employee. Hiring a new employee can cost up to 30% of the job’s salary, while training an existing employee can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

So before you rush to a headhunter to fill an open role, remember that the people you need may already exist within your organization.

Take a strategic approach to the alternative workforce

It can take a while to find the perfect new employee, and every day that passes is money gone.  This is why one approach employers take to the problem of how to find great employees is by recruiting from the alternative workforce. 

The so-called “alternative workforce” includes contractors, crowd workers, and freelancers. These temporary workers can be sourced from traditional staffing firms or online freelancing platforms, such as:

  • Upwork.
  • Fiverr.
  • Toptal.

According to Deloitte, many organizations tap heavily into the alternative workforce for several reasons, the biggest being due to rapid growth.

Companies in desperate need of talent are increasingly drawing on these talent pools to address their skill shortages. 

This can be a great way to keep your business growing without staff setbacks. However, it should be a temporary solution, as alternative workers have a high turnover rate.  

Instead of merely filling gaps, you should think about the alternative workforce strategically and develop the long-term hiring solutions a strong hiring process needs. 

Wrap up: How to find great employees

Figuring out how to find great employees can be tough in the current economy. But the most successful companies know that a solid hiring process is just as important as killer marketing campaigns or strong customer relationships. 

If you’re struggling to find the right candidates, there’s never been a better time to do things differently. Consider the following:

  • Looking at your existing talent in new ways.
  • Leveraging the alternative workforce.
  • Developing new recruitment methods.
  • Revamping your work culture. 

Your future employees are out there. All you have to do is guide them to you.

Learn how one expectant mother successfully navigated this difficult job market in this blog

Image: Tina Miroshnich via Pexels

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