4 ways to attract talent in a competitive job market

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Small business owners are continuing to hire: BofA Head of Small Business

Bank of America Head of Small Business Sharon Miller on the state of small business in America.

A healthy job market is good for candidates, but for employers, not so much. Attracting talent becomes much more difficult when you're forced to compete with businesses that may have more resources than you do. Still, that doesn't mean you need to give up on hiring the best candidates out there. These strategies will help you entice top-tier applicants.

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1. Offer less-common workplace benefits

There are certain benefits that job candidates expect from employers: health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. A good way to set your business apart is to offer a benefits package with perks that are far less common, like pet insurance, in-office massages, and subsidies for personal workout equipment. Of course, you'll need to provide these on top of the standard benefits mentioned earlier, but doing so sends the message that you care about your employees' well-being and are willing to get creative in the course of making them happy.

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2. Play up your company culture

Given the amount of time workers spend on the job, most strong candidates want some reassurance that they're not going to wind up perpetually stressed and miserable. That's why talking up your company culture can really help draw in qualified employees who might otherwise be inclined to take their talents elsewhere. If you're able to paint an appealing picture of what it's like to work at your company, you'll have an easier time getting your job offers accepted.

3. Be open to flexibility

In today's "always on" culture, workers not only crave flexibility but feel they're entitled to it. If you make it clear that your company is flexible with all things schedule related, you're more likely to attract candidates who value that almost as much as they do salary and benefits. To this end, get on board with the idea of letting employees work remotely, choose their own hours, or condense their workweeks on an as-needed or as-wanted basis. The more leeway you're willing to give, the wider your applicant pool should grow.

4. Expedite the interview process

American companies are notorious for dragging their feet through the interview process, which, at present, takes 24 days on average, according to job site Glassdoor. If you want to convince the best candidates out there to come work for you, let them know that you mean business by making them offers quickly. Granted, you don't want to rush through the process and hire the wrong person, but you should make an effort to evaluate candidates quickly following interviews and present offers as soon as you're convinced you've found a good fit. This sends the message that you value those applicants' time and that you recognize the value they bring to the table.

When competition on the hiring front is fierce, you have to go out of your way to give your business an edge. Employ these tactics, and with any luck, you'll have an easier time filling open roles with the perfect people.

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