A tight labor market has made it hard for companies of any size to find qualified workers. For a smaller company -- especially one that may not be able to match the perks or pay offered by bigger rivals -- the challenge gets even more difficult.
Hard, however, does not mean impossible. If your small business needs to hire, it's important to broaden your labor pool. The workers who fit most obviously may not want to come work for you because they have other options.
If you look for people who have a harder time finding work, however, you might be able to find exactly what you need. That just means adjusting expectations and being willing to cast a wider net.
1. Go younger
Even in a tight labor market, it can be hard to get started in the workforce. That means that workers right out of college or young folks still in school or who have no college plans may still struggle to find a job.
Be open to hiring someone with raw skills and training them. Don't consider whether someone has done the job before but whether they possess the talent to do it after some training. This takes more work on your part, but it allows you to mold employees as you want them without having to train away bad habits created elsewhere.
2. Go older
Once a worker hits a certain age, it becomes harder to get a job. This was found to be true by a 2017 study that showed that hiring managers regularly overlook middle-aged or older workers just based on their resumes.
Don't make that mistake. Be open to hiring people with experience, and don't automatically assume that an older worker won't want the job.
3. Go creative
Look for workers who might struggle to get hired elsewhere. You might find someone who has a two-year employment gap that has kept him or her from getting interviews elsewhere. Bring the person in and learn his or her story. Don't focus on the gap -- there are lots of reasons why someone might not work for a period, and none of them are your business unless the person wants to share.
Focus on whether the person you're interviewing can handle the job. If he or she can, then what happened in the past does not matter.
Don't get stuck in the box
Hiring managers and even small business owners tend to fall into ruts. They focus on degrees or whether someone has a certain type of experience. In a tight labor market -- and really in general -- it's important to think more creatively. Ask yourself whether a person can do the job and if they bring something unique that may make them actually better than a more traditional candidate.
Hiring has no rules -- at least no real rules. You don't have to do things the way everyone else does them or the way they have always been done. In fact, not doing things the way other people do them may help you find what you need because others have overlooked those candidates.