The low U.S. unemployment rate dipped from 3.9% to 3.8% in May, continuing a year-long downward trend. While this is excellent news for the economy, on the whole, the tighter job market translates into more competition for businesses to attract and retain workers. This is in stark contrast to the trend where workers compete for jobs that are scarce.

“With the continued tightening of the labor market, finding qualified workers has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes and across most sectors,” Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association, said in a written statement. “Closing the growing skills gap through the training, retraining, and upskilling of the American workforce is the new business imperative.”

Recruiting challenges and solutions

Companies have to modify and redesign their hiring strategies in the current context. Some of the challenges and their solutions include:

Lacks of skilled applicants – Low unemployment rates are making it difficult for companies to find the right talent to fill open roles. It is important to note that making a desperate hire given the shortage of skills is not a smart move. A single bad hire can cost companies millions of dollars that relate to loss in productivity, overtimes, disengagement, damaged reputation and much more. Taking the help of a professional recruiter is the ideal way to seek out qualified candidates through unexpected channels. Professional staffing companies, like Alluvion, with recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services, have the bandwidth and competencies to seek out the right fits through multiple, creative channels that your company may not have access to.

Offers turned down for a different job – If potential candidates are turning down your offer, it is time to review and upgrade your Employer of Choice (EOC) status to attract more candidates. Becoming an EOC means that applicants are eager to work for you and you will likely receive unsolicited resumes. Promoting social responsibility and career advancement among your employees can help shape your company’s culture and brand. Researching your competitors and conducting exit interviews are also ways to know what you can do differently to attract and retain the right talent. Click here for more about becoming a EOC.

Recruitment time takes too long – The average U.S. time to hire is 23 days. In the highly competitive scenario of low unemployment, this is enough time to lose out on the talented candidates. Long processes of screening resumes, interviewing and onboarding can be detrimental to your business objectives. Optimize your hiring process by evaluating recruitment analytics or using a skilled recruiter who has the relevant connections to quickly source the skilled candidates, even those who are already employed. Considering temp or contract employees to fill critical positions may be a great option as well.

High salary demands – One of the challenges of low unemployment rates relate to wages, which have increased to the tune of 2.6 percent as compared to previous year’s figures. What does it take to attract employees over from a current job? The salary should match the position’s responsibility and required skill level, but bigger pay to attract ideal employees is one of the strategies that companies can explore. Other ways to address high salary demands is to consider cross-training employees, upskilling or promoting from within the organization.