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How to Hire in a Competitive Labor Market

Bring in a wider array of candidates by focusing on diversity and using applicant sources other than job boards. Use hiring technology like automated interview scheduling to get in touch with candidates sooner and keep them more engaged.
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For the last year, the U.S. unemployment rate has remained low and steady, but employers are still struggling to find their footing in a difficult hiring landscape. 

Job seekers these days have more options than ever before, and many businesses, especially those in service and hospitality industries, are struggling to compete for employees. In addition to competing with other hotels and businesses in their industry, many employers feel that they are now also competing with gig economy jobs like Uber and DoorDash for workers. 

In my new book, How to Hire, I draw on years of experience starting and running my company, CareerPlug, a hiring software that has helped over 17,000 businesses hire and develop the right people. 

Some of the insight in the book includes how to stand out in today’s competitive labor market and attract more job seekers to your open roles. Let’s go over some of these tips. 

Show Who You Are

Job seekers have never had more choices. They can access millions of jobs from their phones and apply to many of them with just a few clicks. This has revolutionized searching for a job in the same way that online shopping changed the way we buy things.

So to stand out, and attract applicants, you need to answer the main question they have: Why should I work for you? 

Candidates may not ask you this question directly, but they are definitely asking themselves.

Put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes. What would you find if you researched your company online? Would you want to apply for a job at your company based on what you see? What story are you telling them? Are you telling them a story at all?

The first place people look is often your website’s careers page. Your careers page is your opportunity to show why you are a great place to work. 

Focus on what makes your company special—more specifically, what your top performers have told you makes it special. Make this prominent on your careers page and in your job postings. Include real employee testimonials whenever you can. Photos and videos are even better.

Focus on diversity 

A diverse workforce is beneficial for many reasons: Multiple perspectives and experiences result in fresh ways of thinking, new ideas, and increased productivity and creativity. Plus, stepping outside the traditional boxes of looking for employees can yield great results in an otherwise difficult hiring landscape. 

One great example of how hiring for diversity and inclusion can actually improve your hiring process comes from the popular workplace communication app, Slack. Slack has outpaced tech  giants in hiring and stands out with innovative recruitment practices.  

Slack seeks candidates outside of traditional sources, like recruiting at an all women’s coding camp. They also work with a job description analysis company to make sure their job postings avoid bias and appeal to a wide audience. 

Hospitality and service businesses can follow suit. Consider making diversity initiatives a priority in your hiring process. Tools like Mathison, a DEI platform can help. And if you’re already focusing on diversity and inclusion, make sure to highlight on your company’s website or careers page. 

Use Automation to Hire Faster 

In a tight labor market, reaching out to candidates faster than the competition can help you hire the right people faster. Candidates will drop out of any hiring process that’s taking too long or not keeping them engaged. 

At CareerPlug, we recommend using automations to engage your best candidates the moment they apply. The right hiring software can automate things like candidate communication, and interview scheduling. Employers can use new tech to automatically send polite rejections to candidates that don’t meet their minimum qualifications, while inviting the most qualified to schedule interviews right away. 

Work on Your Offer 

In today’s competitive labor market, it’s not enough to reach out to candidates quickly. You also have to ensure that you are bringing a competitive offer to the table.  

You need to think about the questions candidates are asking themselves and the type of offers they might be fielding. 

Look at your compensation and benefits. Is it competitive? What perks do you offer? If you’re not sure how your compensation compares to others in your industry, run a salary comparison on Indeed or Glassdoor.

Consider what growth opportunities you offer as well. How do you invest in training and development? How can employees grow with you?

It’s not enough for you to know what makes your organization a great place to work. You have to show potential applicants what’s in it for them. 

To Sum It Up

The biggest challenge the hospitality industry faces is finding and hiring the right people. When you are no longer just competing with others in the hospitality industry for employees, this feels even more difficult. 

To make your company stand out in a tight labor market, lead with your best foot forward and make your company culture and employer brand prominent online. Bring in a wider array of candidates by focusing on diversity and using applicant sources other than job boards. 

Use hiring technology like automated interview scheduling to get in touch with candidates sooner and keep them more engaged. Lastly, bring a competitive offer to the table, that makes candidates excited to say yes to filling your open role. 



Clint Smith is the founder and CEO of CareerPlug, whose hiring software powers the growth for over 17,000 companies. Clint resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Sarah, and their family. 

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