2.7%. That is the most recent unemployment rate released for the State of Maine. In fact, reports are even saying it is a record-breaking low since recording the date using the current methodology. That’s good news, right? Yes and no. It is fabulous that Maine is putting people to work, but the harsh reality is that it’s now a lot harder to fill your job openings. 

Since we are deep in the trenches of a job seeker market, we want to cover a couple of the options you have.

Wait Patiently for the Purple Squirrel 

You have a perfectly crafted job description and have envisioned the ideal candidate for the role. Problem is, they either don’t exist, or they want twice what you are able to pay for the position – so you wait. Perhaps you invest in another advertising resource, bump up some of your benefit offers, or craft yet another job advertisement hoping to lure in more perfect matches.

The problem with this approach is that while you wait, the work piles up and creates more burden for your current staff, which could result in poor employee morale and increased turnover – leaving you with even more job openings to fill.


Go for Broke And Double The Salary

Okay, maybe not double the salary – but we all know that money talks. The question your have to ask yourself is, how long will the applicant listen? Having a competitive salary and benefits package is an important piece of remaining competitive in the market, and very well could be a quick fix to fill that opening.

The problem with this approach is that it could provide a false sense of security. If a candidate knows their skills are marketable, will they just jump ship and leave you back at square one the moment a better offer comes along?

We hope that by now you are saying, “Wait a minute, this all sounds pretty depressing.” Sound about right? Good. There is a much better way for you to handle this.

Level-Up Your Current Staff

Your current staff has already demonstrated loyalty to your organization, they understand your business, they know what you expect, and they know how to deliver. Why not create a win-win situation by leveling-up your team? By providing training and development programs to skill up your team, you can help transition them into those more specialized roles. Then the openings that remain are likely your more entry-level positions, which have a larger candidate pool for you to pull from. 

Many employees want to increase their skills, try new things, and move up within an organization – so why not show your dedicated staff some loyalty and gain even more loyalty from them in return?

The biggest challenge with this approach is that when you first initiate it, it could take some time. But what is important to remember is that there is a risk with every approach you take; when hiring someone new, you really can’t be sure they have the staying power you are hoping for or that their skills are up to par. With this approach, you know they have staying power and you can train them on exactly how you want the work to be done.

Whether you invest in mentorship programs, on-the-job training, offsite training, tuition reimbursement, use digital learning platforms, or a combination of all of those options – you can build a solid funnel of candidate so you never worry about going without. Also, you will likely be recognized as an employer of choice with candidates banging down your door because you demonstrated a commitment to your staff. What employee doesn’t like to know that their new employer is as committed to them as they are to you?