Record low unemployment: how does this affect your hiring strategy?

In the United States, our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in the last 10 years, really!! the lowest;  reaching 4.3% last month! This is a positive thing, right? Of course it is! But it also creates struggles for some organizations. NOT SO POSITIVE!!! I would describe it as: it has become increasingly more difficult for some organizations to fill their open roles due to a lack of workers. After the recession in 2008, people were lucky if they found work. However, we are now in a situation where many organizations have plenty of work but are having a hard time finding employees to do the work. With so many options available to people, they now have the freedom to be more selective about accepting jobs than they had in the past. So, in the current labor climate, why are some organizations having a harder time filling positions than others?

The most likely cause is not being an employer of choice. In other words, companies may be having a tough time filling positions because there are other similar organizations that are perceived to be better employers. There are many factors that contribute to employer of choice (EOC) status, but some of the primary drivers include:

  • Pay and benefits
  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Communication
  • Perks

If your organization falls short on these or other related aspects, you are likely finding yourself in a difficult situation. In addition to struggling to find talent to fill your available roles, it’s also likely that you’re losing employees to other organizations in your space who fare more positively on some of these aspects. Therefore, organizations who find themselves lacking employer of choice status are likely feeling the impact of the current unemployment rate, and not in a positive way.

If this is you, don’t feel defeated! There are steps that you can take to overcome these hiring strategy hurdles:

Change Your EOC Status

One of the most obvious ways to combat this struggle is to try to change your employer-of-choice status. Research your competitors and consider how you can do things differently. You can obtain some of this information by conducting exit interviews with individuals who have left and find out where they’re going and why. What organizations are they leaving you for? What do they offer that you don’t? You can then do some research on those companies using a resource like Glassdoor to find answers to questions like:

1. What are they offering from a pay/benefits standpoint?
2. Where are they recruiting from?
3. What products/services do they offer?
4. Where are they located?
5. What is the culture like?
6. What does their selection system consist of?
7. What types of positions do they have and are they similar to mine?
8. What is a typical day for their employees?
9. What tools/resources do they provide to their employees?
10. What kinds of perks/rewards do they offer?
11. What are the leaders like at this organization?

You can also look at the company’s online reviews to try to determine areas where they’re lacking and you have the upper hand. Then, begin to implement some internal changes at your organization, focusing on areas that have the potential to impact your “EOC status.” Obtaining a detailed look at your strengths and weaknesses from an outside perspective can provide some great actionable insights.

Focus on Recruitment

Depending on the situation, another potential area to focus on is recruitment. Are your competitors tapping different niches of applicants than you are? If so, how? How can you expand your recruitment strategies to increase your applicant pool? Dedicating resources to finding answers to these types of questions can also help you to more easily fill your open positions. You may have to get creative and think outside the box to achieve your recruitment goals, but these efforts will hopefully pay off in the long run.


The takeaway here is that while you may be experiencing some pain related to the low unemployment rate, there are steps you can take to combat your hiring hurdles. If you focus on your EOC status, recruitment, and hiring the right fit, you should be able to increase the number of applicants interested in your jobs and organization and ultimately fill your open roles.

Contact Jacob Associates, we are here to help!

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