What the Latest U.S. Jobs Report Means for Hiring

In a huge contrast to January’s gain of 304,000 jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ (BLS) monthly jobs report for February showed the U.S. labor market added only 20,000 total nonfarm jobs last month. Unemployment sits at a very low 3.8 percent (it hit a 50-year low in November at 3.7 percent) which means that the labor market is tight, and companies must work harder to attract candidates. Here are some steps you can take to give your company a competitive edge in the battle for talent.

A comprehensive benefits package is a big plus for candidates who are weighing their job options. Benefits in all forms are important to employees today. Healthcare and retirement packages are key, of course, but don’t underestimate the value of benefits such as free parking, discounted gym memberships, summer hours, free lunches and more. Plus, these types of non-traditional benefits all play into your company culture.

Speaking of, your company culture is one of the things that automatically makes you unique and sets you apart from other organizations. Being transparent about your culture during the recruitment process will help you bring in candidates who are a good fit and weed out those who just don’t seem to vibe with your culture. Share posts that highlight company culture on corporate social media channels and when you bring candidates into the office for interviews, show them around the building and make sure they meet with peers from different departments. Another good idea: take the prospective employee to lunch during the interviewing phase.

Knowing that a candidate is likely interviewing with several companies simultaneously, you should also try to be quick and agile in the hiring process. Be prepared so when a recruiter sends candidates your way you can move them through the necessary interviews and make a “yes” or “no” decision in a timely manner. That way you’ll be less likely to lose out on a great candidate who gets an offer more quickly from another firm.

Benefits, corporate culture, and the need for speed are three ways your company can win in a competitive job market.