Top Hiring Strategies in a Competitive Market

Today’s hiring market is more competitive than ever. Unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in 17 years – great for the economy but a challenge for associations that need to hire staff to help recruit and retain members. A recent survey of more than 1,500 associations by PNP Staffing Group shows that most associations plan on growing staff this year.

Gayle A. Brandel, founder and CEO of PNP Staffing Group, says the findings show a demand for skilled people in such critical areas as membership development, program administration, marketing and communication clearly exceeds the supply. She adds that as baby boomers retire, an increasingly competitive market will make hiring replacements a challenge. In fact, 50% of those surveyed said they lost a desired candidate in 2018 because the salary offer was too low.

But Brandel says there are things an association can (and also should not) do to stay competitive:

Good Hiring Practices

  • Offer a competitive salary and benefits compensation package.
  • Learn how to tell your employer brand story and why your company is a good environment in which to work.
  • Fill vacancies quickly; don’t let the hiring process drag on.
  • Hire to complement your team, not just the individual; look for a good fit.
  • Seek to retain good and productive staff at all costs; it’s more expensive to find new staff than to keep the good employees that you have.
  • Always call references.
  • Always be looking, interviewing and networking for talent. Keep a pipeline of potential hires ready to contact when you need them.
  • Make sure you have a good on-boarding process, so you’re prepared when a new hire starts.
  • Hold managers accountable for effective staff management. Real leadership skills are one of the top concerns of associations.
  • Know what’s going on in terms of employment and compensation in your area and in your market.

What Not to Do

  • Never quibble over small amounts of compensation.
  • Never reduce a published salary during the interview process.
  • Don’t over-interview. Speak with two to three great candidates, tops.
  • Never hire the resume only. Hire the person.

Brandel adds to remember you’re building an association where people like to work. When this is in place, both recruitment and retention will be much easier.

Read the full PNP Association Salaries and Staffing Trends report.

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