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The good news continues for the U.S. economy.  Strong profits, surging stock prices and brisk business continues for almost every major business sector in the country.  With all this positive activity these days, why are so many hiring managers walking around with a pained look on their face, looking like they just bit into a giant sour pickle?  Here’s why; the U.S. Department of Labor reported that job openings were at a record high 7.3 million and job openings have exceeded the number of job seekers for 10 consecutive months. In January 304,000 new jobs were added and the overall national unemployment rate is 4%, while the unemployment rate for those with a college degree is 2.4%.  Shouldn’t that also be great news for U.S. businesses?  Not necessarily.  In fact, a number of recent business reports and executive surveys indicate that the number one concern for business growth and outlook is the ability for companies to find qualified workers to fill their jobs.

What’s the solution for these candidate-hungry organizations?  Some would say that Human Resource departments just need to “put out more job postings” on the major job boards or be more active on their company’s social media platforms.  Others would suggest that an increase in referral bonuses or media advertising would do the trick.  The reality is that none of these strategies is likely to move the needle significantly on their own in this tight labor market.  Similar to a well-rounded financial portfolio, companies need to adopt a wide variety of approaches, initiatives and sources to be effective and attract qualified candidates. This is why now – more than ever in the last 20 years – is the time for companies to work with reliable, proven recruitment firms to find qualified candidates.

Why work with a recruitment firm?  Simply stated, the vast majority of companies don’t have the time, resources, network reach, expertise, tools or techniques to locate qualified candidates in an historically tight labor market.  Most companies are reactive to hiring and don’t nurture an ecosystem of connections, communities and relationships to find those key passive candidates that are not actively looking for a new position, but may be willing to check out a new opportunity if approached appropriately by a recruitment firm (particularly if it’s one they have successfully worked with before, has a great reputation or comes recommended by a friend/colleague).  Unlike companies that build and deliver products, identifying, locating and connecting with top talent is the business of all good recruitment firms and the best ones relentlessly focus on a candidate-centric business model.  The top recruitment firms prepare for tight labor markets like this by constantly training recruiters on the latest and most effective methods to locate and secure talent while at the same time investing in tools (applicant tracking systems and databases, mobile and responsive websites, wide-reaching social platforms, candidate performance testing and evaluation, etc.) to ensure that clients that have only the best-matching candidates put in front of them in a timely and efficient manner.

The best recruitment firms will also work with clients in a consultative manner, which is a critical factor in a tight talent market. Leading recruitment firms have a grasp of the realities of a local market or national market for talent, skill set availability, pay range, timing and realities of what it might take to a top-performer on-board.  A good firm will help to eliminate any surprises during the process for both the candidate and the client to ensure the proper fit and can advise as to how quickly an organization needs to move in the hiring process to ensure they don’t miss out on someone they are considering making an offer to, which is a foremost consideration in current conditions.  Good candidates expect companies to move relatively quickly if they are going to make an offer and they won’t wait around if they have other opportunities in front of them.

If you or your organization is seeking top talent in this historic job market, consider working with a great recruitment firm to help.  If you’re just going to keep the process in-house, there is a good chance the hiring managers in your company will be disappointed and frustrated…and may end up with that dreaded sour pickle look that comes from a desperately-needed, but yet unfilled position.

If you or your company is seeking to work with a recruitment firm, please consider CEO Inc.  For the past 24 years, we have worked with industry-leading organizations across the U.S.A. to locate top talent, particularly in the plastics, composites, textiles and specialty chemicals industries.  In addition, CEO Inc. works with companies to recruit for senior-level leadership and “C-level” positions across a wide variety of industries and vertical markets on a retained or contingent search basis.

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