How to compete in this candidate driven market

If you have been trying to hire early or mid-career professionals in Colorado you have likely seen a pretty big spike in salaries lately. If your team has been solid and you haven’t hired in the past two years, you are in for a shock.

We conduct a salary survey each year to keep tabs on the labor market. Since we specialize in Startups and growth companies, our survey is specific to this slice of the market. Across the board we’ve seen a pretty big jump in base salary requirements. Between $10,000 and $25,000 per year – based on the skillset. If you are a startup or growth company hiring manager, you probably haven’t seen a 19% increase in your revenue to accommodate this. So, what can you do?

1. Review your benefits

As a small company it’s impossible to offer the benefits suite that large public companies provide. While I’m not a huge fan of PEOs because they are expensive, the pricing has come down quite a bit due to automation, so taking a look at the opportunity to expand your benefits for everyone can help you compete.

2. Interview for character and values

When you are a small company, every hire you make has a substantial impact on your customers, employees and anyone else they come in contact with. Taking the time to really get to know your candidates beyond their technical skills will serve you well in the long term. Those who are driven by money and status are not the best people to hire into a small company. If they are leaving their current job for money then they will do the same to you.

3. Build a bonus program

Tie some of your employee compensation to your business performance. Instead of stretching your budget trying to be at market, consider putting a bonus plan in place. If the company does well then everyone gets a piece of it!

4. Pay for referrals

This is a no-brainer yet so many companies don’t offer a referral program. Yes, if you have great people and they are happy at work they will refer their friends. But in the whirlwind of life in a startup, this particular item isn’t on top of mind. A referral bonus of $3,000 – $5,000 is enough to get their attention. AND it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a Contingent Recruiter $20,000 – $25,000. ‘nuf said.

5. Pay attention to your current team members

Retaining your current staff is, in my opinion, the best way to navigate this wild job market. If you have folks who are long time, loyal and rock solid technically, then make sure they are being compensated fairly – and that might mean giving them a big raise. It’s better to keep the employees you love than have to compete with higher salaries and better perks on the open market.

Yes, it is, in fact, a candidate market – nationally! The good news is the economy is strong. The bad news is that salary and perks are rising in response to the strong economy. There are ways to contain your expenses and still have the team you need to grow your business. For more thoughts on how to find, attract and hire top talent visit us here!