An interesting trend has happened over the last 9 months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), over the past 9 months the number of job openings nationally has outnumbered the number of those who are hired. This past July there were 5.8 million job openings (an increase of 430,000 from June) but only 5 million people were hired (a decrease of 200,000 from June).

What does this hiring trend mean? In short, companies aren’t finding the employees they want. Business is good, and companies want to grow. However, the talent necessary to fill the positions they are seeking to hire for is in short demand.

So why are talented candidates so hard to find today? With a strong economy and low unemployment rates, attractive jobseekers have the ability to be more selective with their job options. Rather than jumping at whatever job offers they are given, candidates are currently able to create leverage through the ability to either stay where they are or choose from a selection of suitors.

So what can you do to attract talent? What are today’s jobseekers looking for from an employer? At NexGoal we deal with the client and candidate relationship every day and have a unique perspective on what works when it comes to attracting talent.   Here’s our advice if you want to land the very best talent.

Be Unique


What are you doing different that the competition isn’t doing? Do you employ a different cutting edge technology? Do you provide opportunities or benefits that aren’t seen anywhere else in the industry? Is your corporate culture vastly different? All these are selling points to potential candidates and should be clearly demonstrated to them throughout the hiring process.

Corporate culture is especially becoming increasingly more important for job seekers. They want to be able to work in environment that shares commonality with themselves such as similar goals or backgrounds.

“At NexGoal we practice what we preach. We hire athletic talent – former athletes,” says NexGoal CEO and former professional hockey player Kevin Dahl. “What we look for is A-C-M:   Attitude, commitment, and motivation. We can teach our hires what to do, and how to do their job, but we cannot teach these traits. These traits are earned over the years and are even embedded from their upbringing.”

NexGoal employees share a common foundation for work ethic which creates a culture where the employees are motivated to reach their goals.

“Athletes love goals, and strive to obtain their goals, so at NexGoal we walk the employees through the process of setting their goals and give constant measurement and feedback on their progress.” says Dahl.

Having a culture where employees share common traits and motivators can lead to huge returns for the business and also create a major draw for potential candidates.

Be Human

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No one wants to be a number. It doesn’t matter if they are the 2nd interview or 150th interview; treat each person on a case to case basis. People want you to listen and engage them. Fight the urge to rush to the next question or the next step in the process. Get to know the candidate. If that means drifting from the traditional interview or hiring process do it.

Elon Musk for example interviews each candidate personally at his company SpaceX which employs over 500 workers. He does this not only to ensure that each candidate they hire is professionally qualified but also personally qualified. As Musk puts it, there is a strict “no-a$$hole policy” at SpaceX. He wants employees who positively impact workplace culture and work towards their mission.

This may seem time consuming for a man as busy as Musk but this hiring practice ensures he is getting people that he is comfortable will make the strongest positive impact for the company. It also shows the candidate that the most important person in the company has taken time out of their schedule to speak with them. This can be a great source of motivation to see the CEO investing precious time with the candidate as it shows a genuine interest in the candidate both professionally and personally.

Be Negotiable


Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, second from right, and U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan, second from left, shake hands outside the Hofdi at the start of a series of talks, Saturday, Oct. 11, 1986, Reykjavik, Iceland. The other men are unidentified. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
If you have found “The guy” or “The girl” don’t let a few extra dollars or vacation days be the reason why you couldn’t hire them. When it comes to attracting the best of the best, you need to demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to meet their demands within reason.

“Compensation should never be the reason why you don’t hire someone.” says COO of NexGoal Brad Mullins. “If the “right candidate” is $10,000 over your budget, be creative and figure out some other way of bridging the gap. That $10,000 is a small difference compared to leaving a position, especially sales, open for a long time.”

As we said in our previous blog, “How Corporate Culture Prevents Turnover”,  the direct replacement cost of replacing an employee can be 50%-60% of an employee’s salary. This is a huge cost for having to fill a position and a cost that can be avoided by hiring the right people. If it is a few extra thousand dollars that a rock star candidate is looking for, oblige them and remember the amount of money you could be potentially saving in the long run.

Be Resourceful

There are an unlimited amount of tools that are available for you to use when it comes to attracting talent. Perhaps the most important tool to use is social media. The vast majority of candidates actively use social media and a large amount of them use it for job hunting. In fact an Aberdeen study found that 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last job through a social media site. This is a large segment of the population that can be reached simply by creating a social media presence.

If you are having an especially hard time finding the right candidate it might be a good idea to use a third party recruiter. A recruiter that specializes in a certain type of candidate could be very helpful as they may have resources or networks in that area that are not readily available to your company. NexGoal for example has networks and resources that are optimized to reach athletes. We are able to move more quickly to find exceptional talent from the athlete candidate pool than other recruiters and companies.

Talent is out there; let our advice be the first steps to help you reach the best candidates.

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