09/15/2016 Molly Moseley

Household income surges as the battle for top talent rages on

For years the average U.S. citizen has been hearing headlines about economic improvement after the Great Recession. Yet for many, it hasn’t felt that way. Stagnant income has meant less purchasing power as the cost of living has continued to rise. As companies have celebrated gains, employees have been feeling left behind.

A new report shows things are changing for the average American household. Reuters recently reported Census Bureau data that shows 2015 income levels increased dramatically. In fact, “median household income surged 5.2 percent last year to $56,500, the highest since 2007, in large part due to solid employment gains. The jump was the biggest since record keeping began in 1968,” states the report.

What’s more, these increases are being experienced by virtually everyone. Nearly every age group for household heads felt increases, as well as most racial groups. What’s more, further gains are expected in 2017.

This is great news for the American worker, but how does it affect employers? Well, it backs up what we have been saying for a while: America is in full-employment mode. This means the labor supply in many markets is tight. The challenge to attract and keep top talent becomes more fierce every day.

How can companies successfully recruit in this battleground landscape? They need to go the extra mile to come out on top. Here are some strategies that will help you win the talent war.

Recruitment marketing

Recruitment marketing is the pre-applicant activity you use to build brand awareness as an employer to stimulate interest in becoming an employee. Savvy organizations have adopted a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) strategy to deliver their recruitment marketing message. HR will need to partner with marketing to create a robust plan that incorporates powerful strategies, such as creating quality content, social outreach, email automation and re-targeting initiatives.

The application experience

Once candidates are interested in a company, it’s essential to have an excellent application process and candidate experience in place. A clunky, uninformative or time-consuming experience will cause them to turn to competitors. Stock the career page with valuable information. Make sure the application process is headache-free, including on mobile. Maintain clear messaging and good communication about next steps so applicants feel empowered.

Create an amazing interview process

Consider delivering a standard communication package to candidates a few days before their interview with important background documents to ease preparation. Then, plan the entire interview to leave every candidate elated. From greeting candidates to planning necessary snack breaks, you should have a solid itinerary. During the interview, go beyond shop talk. Be sure to convey the culture to ensure a good personality fit on both ends. This is the time to bring up any unique benefits that make your company great to work for (i.e., flex time, onsite day care, unlimited sick time).

Reject with dignity

You can only select one candidate, but how you treat others will influence your future recruitment efforts. Maintain a positive brand image and leave a lasting impression by providing timely and tactful rejections. Some recruiters state how many people applied to convey the level of competition, and if applicable, they tell candidates they’ll keep their resume on file for future openings. You never know when a good applicant will be suitable for a future job opening, after all, so it’s best to keep all options open. Furthermore, people talk, and if they have a negative experience you can bet they’ll tell their network.

These smart recruiting strategies are just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more, consider attending LinkUp’s full employment webinar and downloading the Year of the Candidate white paper.