Hey manager, more people are looking for work

The past few years have been tough on some managers looking for workers with an optimistic view about their prospects. That may be changing. Pay increases and better prospects have led to an overall rise in the average outlook of Americans looking for work.

Better still, the economy seems to be keeping up with the trend, offering more jobs. Hiring is up, even as more people are looking for work. The fact that thousands out looking are not settling for the first job they come across is good news for the overall economy — it means happier people in jobs better suited for their skills — but it could also mean some very definite things for employers or hiring managers trying to fill key positions.

Managers need to learn to throw a smaller, more specific net. The days of just interviewing everyone and hoping to come up with a winner need to be over. That’s not to say specific, developed skills should be the big deciding factor in all hiring. While it’s necessary for most highly skilled technical positions, many openings would be better filled with a person who has the right attitude and is willing to learn the necessary skills.

Understand what’s more important in your company — culture or regulations. In some jobs, you just have to Do It This Way. There’s no deviation, and that requires a certain sort of person to be productive in that environment. Conversely, if there’s some wiggle room in “how” but less in “why” you need to set up a recruiting funnel that focuses on who the person is rather than what they can do. Do they have the right approach? Do their priorities match up with what the job will require of them? These questions are much better answered early in the process. You don’t want to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of bringing someone on, then getting them trained and acclimated only to find they will be absolutely miserable and counterproductive to your end goal.

But you can’t only focus on the tight end of the job funnel. There are more people out there looking, but how will they find you? That “attraction” side needs to be out there too, clearly communicating what you are looking for to the most people possible. But don’t just put it out there, offer information that will allow your potential prospects to qualify themselves before they ever enter the funnel. If you’re not getting any good prospects, don’t make a bigger net, make a better one.

So, what about it manager? What are you doing to find the best people for your key openings, and to make those positions as attractive as possible to the right people?

Elie Hirschfeld is a real estate developer from NYC.