In 2018, the United States unemployment rate plummeted to the lowest it’s been since 1969. Sitting at only 3.7 percent unemployment, this is also the eighth year in a row that jobs have been added to the economy along with a steady increase in wages. Obviously, a low unemployment rate is ideal for the economy and health of the job market, but it does create some enormous challenges for small and medium-sized businesses.

One of the most common issues is hiring and attracting a consistent pipeline of top talent. Enterprise businesses who are well known and have an entire team dedicated to recruiting aren’t as concerned, but small and medium-sized businesses don’t want the short end of the stick when it comes to hiring. Candidates have more options than ever making it vital for employers to set themselves apart from their competition. But how? Here are three tips to help attract and retain top applicants even with a record low unemployment rate.

Create a simple hiring process

We’ve all experienced those moments when you start filling out an online job application and you end up answering the same questions over and over again. What many employers fail to realize is that 60 percent of candidates quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. That’s a lot of potential talent lost for something that’s an easy fix. In order to reduce that number and get more applications through the door, executives should focus on building a more streamlined hiring process starting with their online applications. For example, many businesses have moved to “quick apply” options which typically requires uploading a resume, cover letter, and references. This creates an efficient process for candidates and eliminates the need for hiring teams to review multiple different documents. Following this, the rest of the process should remain informative and timely.

Frequent communication 

Frequent communication with new hires and current employees is standard procedure, but what many forget to remember is that frequent communication with potential candidates is a must. When hiring managers or executives fail to keep the hiring process responsive and timely, many applicants move on and think they did not get the job. Applicants are also more likely to move on if the only communication comes from a bot rather than a human. When candidates are talking to a computer there is no human touch in the process and it can make employers seem uninterested. For employers to increase the chances of attracting top talent, executives and hiring managers should communicate frequently and transparently about the process from the moment an application comes through. Following up within a couple days of an interview, or simply letting someone know he or she isn’t a good fit for the position, will help your company build a positive reputation as a responsible organization.

Another way to effectively stay in contact with applicants is by communicating through tools that they’re frequently using. While older generations commonly use email when applying for jobs, young professionals are more likely to use mobile options. For example, the open rate for an email is 30 percent, but 97 percent of text messages are opened within 15 minutes. Through the use of texting and other tools, hiring managers are sure to get in contact with applicants.

Advertise the company culture

Since applicants now have the ability to be more flexible throughout their job search, any advantage is a good advantage for employers. One of the main ones being a positive company culture. Eighty-two percent of candidates believe that a strong company culture is a potential competitive advantage during their career search. For employers to be especially successful within the hiring process they should leverage and advertise assets such as flexible work schedules, wellness programs, or above average employee benefits. In fact, many of today’s applicants consider flexibility to be a non-negotiable when applying for jobs. These options could include remote work days throughout the month or even generous vacation packages. Whatever the incentive is, if your business offers flexibility, you’ll attract more top talent interested in job postings.

While the record low unemployment rate may present some hiring challenges, there are ways for employers to remain strong in the race to attract top talent. By focusing on an efficient and communicative hiring process while advertising a positive company culture, hiring managers will find themselves with a consistent cadence of applications to review.

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