Cella and The BOSS Group recently released the 2018 In-House Creative Industry Report which details the fact that 97% of in-house teams will either grow or stay the same size in the coming year. Add to that fact that as of May 2018 the unemployment rate of college degreed professionals falls at just 2% and you have the perfect recipe for a TOUGH hiring market, particularly within the creative, marketing and digital fields.

So, what can you do about it when you are looking to hire?

1. Prepare in advance

When you are launching a search for talent, whether for a freelancer, long-term contractor or full-time hire, take time to properly prepare before you start your search. Ensure your job description is written so that it is appealing and sells the benefits of working for your company and for your department specifically. Remember, you are competing for top talent against other companies who are also hiring. Setting yourself apart here will appeal to the best talent.

Just as you take time to strategize to ensure copy hits the consumer base to produce the best result, your job description and any content via social media or your company's website has the opportunity to shine to prospective candidates. On that note, make use of social media to advertise your opening. Yes, LinkedIn is a standard tool to announce an opening but make use of all avenues at your fingertips; Facebook and Twitter may be especially useful to showcase an opening and attract the right talent. Ask friends in the field about who they may know that could be a great fit for your opening. Always cast a wide net to find the ideal employee.

Truly define what may be "nice to have" skills for the hire and what are mandatory skills. Fewer and fewer candidates are actively seeking employment by applying to a multitude of job openings. Because you are more than likely attracting passive candidates, who can be pickier about where they are applying, it is important to understand that the job descriptions that include "everything and the kitchen sink" as requirements get looked over more often than not.

Because you have prepared so diligently above to sell your opportunity and define required skills, you now have a cheat sheet to help you prepare for interviews. Before it is time to bring candidates in to meet with you or screen them on the phone, be well prepared to speak to the benefits your opportunity presents in your first interaction. The better prepared you are for interviews as the interviewer, the better the experience for the interviewee.

2. Consider transferable skills

The BOSS Group receives a bevy of new jobs to fulfill for our clients every day, including temp, temp to hire or direct hire. Clients who have the ability to open a search to transferable skills fill their openings significantly faster. Define what of the skills you are requiring may have a transferable skill that could substitute for that specific experience.

For example, need a developer with Drupal experience? Could you possibly see the candidate being successful if they are an expert within WordPress, Joomla!, or Django and can learn Drupal? If that IS a possibility you've opened your candidate pool much wider. Not all skill requirements will fit the above logic and some requirements are just that...required. But, if you can identify those that are NOT rigid and open the search to include transferable skills, you will see more candidates.

3. Move fast

The truth is that candidates have more attractive opportunities to choose from now more than ever before. Doing all of the above, including preparing fully to best present the opportunity, holding a productive interview process and opening the search to transferable skills that will suit your need, will do no good if your offer timeline moves slower than another employer who also seeks to hire your candidate.

Condense your interview process as much as you can and when you meet a great talent, HIRE THEM. Gone are the days of a "comparison" candidate or waiting for the right timing to bring someone onboard. Candidates are being hired quickly and the momentum of a candidate's interview experience leading to a swift offer and acceptance is paramount. If your HR department plays a role in hiring, meet with them proactively to understand potential roadblocks to quickly hiring and starting a talent. Work together to minimize these and set candidates' expectations every step of the way to minimize losing someone great to another offer.

All of the above is especially true in the categories The BOSS Group has seen the greatest need for talent. These include:

  • Designers (both traditional print/digital and UI/UX disciplines)
  • Content creators (including copywriters, niche content writers, etc.)
  • All facets of digital marketers
  • Project managers
  • Account services professionals

With proper preparation, a strong definition of requirements to cast a wide net and by moving fast, you will position yourself to meet your hiring need in the face of the tight market trend.