How to Grow Your Company During the Workforce Shortage

Experts shared their tips for attracting and recruiting top talent as the United States currently undergoes challenges within the labor market.


Air Date: June 29, 2022

Moderator: Jeanette Mulvey, Editor-in-Chief at CO—, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Thau, Senior Features Editor, CO– by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Traci Tapani, Co-President, Wyoming Machine, Inc., Danielle Beckford, Vice President of Employee Experience, Salary.com, Rosanna Durruthy, Vice President of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, LinkedIn

The U.S. is currently facing a nationwide workforce shortage, making it difficult for businesses to find top candidates. To help employers who are struggling to find and hire talent, the fifth episode of CO—'s "Start. Run. Grow" series focused on growing a team during the current labor shortage.

During three interviews, experts shared their tips for attracting and recruiting top talent and adopting best practices to build a diverse and inclusive team.

Consider Using Talent Agencies to Find Qualified and Pre-Screened Employees

As their hiring efforts increase, more businesses are turning to talent agencies.

"The switch to the third-party agency is really driven by a couple of things from my perspective," said Traci Tapani, Co-President of Wyoming Machine, Inc. "The first is those agencies have trained recruiters who are making phone calls, trying to identify people in the market that are either interested in looking for a job or maybe just coming straight out of a trade school and haven't quite figured out the [necessary] steps … to finding a position that they're interested in."

Tapani noted that, as a mall business owner, most entrepreneurs lack the time and resources to find candidates and prioritize recruitment.

"Secondly, I would say that having a talent agency in the mix helps to speed up the hiring process," she continued. "In this current labor market, we have to act quickly when candidates become available … Talent agencies have already screened the candidates and done what they need to, so if I interview them, I could have them in my shop within a day."

Merge Behavioral Interviewing With Competency-Based Interviewing

Attracting the right talent is only the beginning of recruitment. To ensure you're hiring high-quality employees, you must know how to interview effectively.

"My favorite technique is behavioral interviewing," said Danielle Beckford, Vice President of Employee Experience for Salary.com. "Behavioral interviewing is basically the theory that you're going to see how behavior from the past is gonna predict behavior in the future for the role."

This type of interviewing is essentially "real-life interviewing," which asks candidates to provide specific examples and anecdotes from their lives or careers to identify transferable skill sets.

"The other kind of interview tactic would be more competency-based, and you can make a mixture of both," Beckford continued. "It also depends on [whether you] are more interested in the behaviors behind how someone's gonna come into the organization or … more interested in actual skill sets that are very, very necessary."

"One of my favorite questions for a cultural fit is the question: 'Tell me about the best manager that you've had in your career, and why was that relationship so successful?'" she added. "You'll learn what manager style will work for that person, but a lot more beyond that … because how their manager communicated with them is the type of culture that they're looking for in an environment."

Provide Employees and Business Professionals Access to Capital and Professional Networks

During this time, businesses should uplift their employees and professionals by providing them with external resources and opportunities to grow in their roles and careers.

"What we have the opportunity to do is … [help] companies grapple with the fact that they have employees as well who may have entrepreneurial aspirations," said Rosanna Durruthy, Vice President of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for LinkedIn. "In some cases, those aspirations can be supported as a side hustle … [or] can meaningfully be supported through sponsors and mentors [who] can help individuals build networks to better access not only the advice necessary but also access to capital."

Durruthy noted that 36% of Black business owners struggled with access to capital while 29% were carrying significant personal debt due to things like student loans, credit card debt to fund their own businesses, and financially supporting others.

"Mentorship and network access become so critical — the social network and the social capital associated with individuals who are influencers, individuals who can unlock the access to capital," Durruthy said.

"Having access to experienced leaders who can help black entrepreneurs foster successful growth in their businesses and growth in their communities becomes really important," she continued, adding that "23% of Black entrepreneurs cited having a limited network as an obstacle to their career growth."