By Thomas Chavez
As a personnel consultant, one of the biggest complaints I hear from Humboldt County employers is their inability to find “good employees.” My first question back to them is usually, “why do you think that is?” Typically I receive a myriad of answers that usually center on the lack of talent in our rural community. It is a fact that due to our size we have a fewer numbers of candidates compared to California’s larger metro areas. However, I’m here to tell you that Humboldt County does have a great deal of highly skilled employees who are available right now.
As the country recovers from the “great recession” we have seen the unemployment rate drop and employees are again in demand. This means that employers need to do more targeted recruitment and interviewing. Along with this, companies need to research wages and benefits to ensure they are being competitive. When organizations do not offer competitive compensation packages they risk higher turnover rates and poor employee morale. This can create a situation where perception of the company to candidates is poor and it becomes extremely difficult to attract talent.
Some of the most difficult positions to fill are executive level positions. These positions are what we as recruiters are often hired to assist with. As our core industries shift in Humboldt County we are left with many candidates with proven track records who are seeking new opportunities. Executives in particular are aware of their industry’s outlooks and so while many executives aren’t searching the employment ads, chances are they won’t shy away from an opportunity presented to them. This is where a third party, like a recruiter, can step in and help make connections that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Another strategy we use is to recruit executive level candidates from out of the area. While this strategy is effective in can be costly. Employers who want to bring talent to Humboldt County need to consider relocation costs and consider the candidates personal situation. Employers cannot ask questions relating to family when screening applicants, yet if a candidate has a spouse in tow it is crucial to address that spouse’s employment situation and how he/she will fair in Humboldt County. This is where a recruiter is invaluable. Recruiters address and properly vet these situations very effectively to ensure a successful long term hire.
Whatever strategy you chose be certain you are following the most up to date HR compliance laws from applications to offer letters and complete job descriptions. Consider getting connected with our local HR groups such as the Redwood Empire Personnel Management Association (REPMA) and the North Coast Employers Association (NEAC).
Tomas Chavez is a personnel consultant with Sequoia Personnel Services. He is active in REPMA and NEAC, as well as having a leadership role with Sequoia Business and Workforce Solutions, Sequoia Personnel Services’ consulting arm which includes the company’s human resource management consulting practice. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.