At Denham Resources, we have been providing executive recruitment and temporary staffing for over fifty years. The United States is currently in the tightest labor market we have seen since we opened our doors in 1970. The Unemployment rate sits at 3.6 percent. At the end of march there were 11.3 million job openings. That is five million more openings than the total number of unemployed individuals. One – The Workforce participation rate is at 62.3 percent, Two – the lowest it has been since 1978. A couple of years ago, a Civil Engineering position would take us about a month to fill, our most recent search for this same position took over six months. Wage growth was up 11.67 percent from April of 2021 to April of 2021.
At water districts we have placed general managers, water accountants, hydrographers, water-masters, accounting and administrative staff. We have also filed positions for farms across the Central Valley ranging from every level of accounting, ranch managers, administrative, P.C.A.’s, logistics, maintenance, and everything in between.
With hiring being so difficult the first thing employers must do is maintain a happy and productive staff. Are your salaries competitive? Evaluate the salary of each position in your organization verses what the current market will bear for those positions. An employee may love their job but pay increases of 15-25 percent with a new job are not uncommon. There are tens of thousands of recruiters reaching out every day to people currently employed.
Is your staff happy? Some of the non-salary incentives top talent candidates consider are: benefits, vacation, work from home flexibility, and positive, mission driven environments. On the flip side just one bad apple can cause rot in the whole bushel. Correct or eliminate any bad apples in your office in order to save the bushel.
If you must hire, where do you start?
Your best source will always be you and your employee’s personal networks. If you have a great place to work the friends and families of your current staff will already know about it. Make sure your employees are aware of what positions are needing to be filled, especially those that are a top priority. Additionally, if a person knows someone that is difficult to work with, they will go out of their way to avoid working with them again so this should improve the quality of referrals. Consider referral bonuses a good investment.
Where should you spend your marketing dollars to attract the right people? Every job website will tout themselves as the best and only source of great people. The truth is the right person for you could be found on any of them and advertising everywhere can be very costly. A great place to start is with a professional association specific to the position that you are trying to fill. These associations will often have websites or newsletters where you can advertise career opportunities for free.
If you still can’t find your dream employee, then make them! At Denham we have seen clients that were once able to find people with years of experience, move towards hiring new graduates and training them to the job. For clients that have multiple openings of the same positions, we have helped them set up detailed inhouse training programs that included dedicated classroom time during each work week. Most importantly, don’t forget to consider the skills and abilities of your current staff. Consider if any in-house employees could be promoted or change departments to fill opened positions.
Whatever the source of candidates, be proactive and prompt in the hiring process. In the past you could take your time and candidates would stay with you through the hiring processes that could take a month or more from first contact. Now, we see good people getting hired in a week or less. If you don’t move quickly to hire a good candidate, another company will. You should never take any shortcuts in the hiring process but move through it as quickly as possible. Don’t take weeks to schedule interviews. If the position warrants interviewing with multiple managers, consider group interviews or each interview back-to-back on the same day. Flexibility in scheduling and after-hours interviews can make it easier for the candidates.
Consider working with a recruiter. Recruitment fees are typically 20-30 percent of the new hire’s salary excluding bonuses and benefits. This can seem like a large investment but what is the cost of leaving the positioned open? If it is a vacant position what are your hard costs in lost productivity? What are the less apparent costs such as a stressed out over worked staff? Additionally, most recruiters work on a contingent fee, if they can’t find the right person you owe nothing. A good recruiter will look everywhere for you. They will have an extensive network of great people to source from. They will be subscribed to many, if not all, of the fee-based websites. They will have the time and experience to find and recruit passive candidates that you will never find advertising alone. In addition, if a candidate sent to you by a recruiter is not a good fit, often they will be replaced with no extra cost to you.
Joe Denham is CEO of Denham Resources of Fresno, California. In addition to his passion for matching the right person for the right job, Denham is also an avid outdoorsman. And evidenced by its website Denham Resources is pet friendly. For more information go to: www.denham.net
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