The employment market today looks completely different than it did a decade ago. That’s great news for job seekers and the economy at large, but it poses a unique set of challenges for business owners looking to make great hires.
Consider the following:
- Unemployment is at a historic low.
- Job creation is growing twice as fast as the labor pool.
- Baby boomers, who currently comprise 25% of the US workforce, are retiring en masse.
Together, these circumstances mean the employment pool is shrinking and competition for talent is fierce. But although companies are already feeling the pinch, many hiring managers continue operating under the assumption that the job market still operates in their favor.
That’s according to Scott Brinkman and Sandy Zannino, two of the featured speakers in our recent webinar, Employee Experience Best Practices. Scott serves as Vice President of Product at Hireology, a leading hiring and talent management platform. Sandy is the founder and CEO of Innovative Auto HR, a firm that specializes in strategic human resources and consulting services tailored to the auto industry.
“It’s a little difficult for employers to change their old mindset,” said Sandy. “For example, I recently spoke with a seasoned service director whose belief was that people just don’t want to work. We need to understand that that is just not true.”
Scott agreed, adding that many employers have something of a “selective memory:”
“They remember the ‘good times’ when everybody wanted to work for them. It was easy. You had you pick. And as recently as 2009, that was the case. But in a short amount of time, the equation’s flipped.”
Employers Need to Offer More than Just “a Job”
Approximately 84 million people are currently seeking a new position. What too many employers don’t realize, said Scott and Sandy, is that most of those people are already gainfully employed. They’re not just looking for a job, but the best possible job.
And these factors appear even starker in the automotive industry. Data gathered by Hireology reveals that only 5% of the workforce would ever consider a role in automotive, and only 1% of that population would ever consider working in a dealership.
“What that tells me is we have a marketing problem,” said Scott. “We have all these seekers on one side looking for jobs, and nobody would consider working for you, or you have really poor applicant flow. What we’re not telling them is why they should come work for us. Again, we’re in a completely different situation [than a decade ago]. We have to sell the applicant on how they can build a great career with us in our businesses.”
Scott told the audience that almost two-thirds (64%) of applicants visit a dealership’s website to learn about a role before they apply. And these candidates aren’t just scrolling through the homepage and “About Us” section.
“About 99% of them consume all the content on the site,” said Scott. “They’re researching all of the different web pages you have. They’re seeing how you outline your benefits, culture, and community impact. People want to learn more about what it’s going to be like if they do accept a job with you. If you don’t have details beyond the role at the company— the benefits and career path—or you’re only relying on third parties such as job boards, you’re really missing an incredible opportunity to have a conversation with applicants.”
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to improve the ways you attract and speak to applicants. The key is to focus on “telling your story,” said Scott:
“Every business has an incredible story. And your story is the first opportunity you have to attract a better kind of talent.”
The Talent Ecosystem: How to Harness a “Virtuous Cycle”
Scott sees an effective approach to hiring as a “virtuous cycle:”
“If you get proactive and focus on building your employment brand—the ‘why,’ as in ‘Why should I work for you?’—what inevitably happens is you get more and better applicants,” said Scott. “Then hires come to work for you, and maybe they start in a very minor role—maybe they’re a car washer or that front desk person—but eventually they turn into leaders and managers, who are the people who drive and create your culture. And those are the people who then contribute to your employment brand. They become a part of it through their success stories.”
Let’s break that down:
- A strong employment brand attracts more and better applicants.
- More and better applicants means more and better hires.
- Better hires become great employees.
- Great employees eventually grow into phenomenal leaders and managers.
- Phenomenal leaders create a positive organizational culture, which in turn enhances the organization’s brand among applicants.
The only way to achieve this kind of systematic hiring cycle is through a systematic approach to hiring and onboarding.