How to Evalulate Your Business's Labor Pool

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Every small business owner wants to assemble a dream-team of employees who not only work efficiently, but get along well with each other too. But hiring a cohesive team from the labor pool can require some trial and error. In the end, you may end up with a fully functional team that operates differently than you first imagined. Here's how to evaluate your business's labor pool.

Decide Which Skills You Need

A labor pool encompasses all of the people whom you could potentially hire to do the job. People with the requisite skills for the position make up your labor pool, meaning you need to decide which skills are important for your vacant position. Consider both technical and personal skills, as well as education, in order to create an accurate job description.

For example, if you need to hire a car mechanic for your shop, your labor pool consists only of people with the experience and skills necessary to repair and maintain vehicles. On the other hand, if you're hiring for an entry-level customer service position, your labor pool is extensive. In this labor pool example, you can narrow the prospects further by deciding which skills you'll look for in candidates.

Evaluate the Local Labor Pool

Next, determine whether you can find the necessary skills from the local labor pool. Are people who live in your community qualified for this position? If you live in a big city, the answer is surely yes. But small-town businesses may need to broaden their horizons and recruit candidates from farther away.

The only way to truly evaluate your local labor pool for good candidates is to advertise the position and see who applies. You can also work with recruitment groups and local university career centers to find appropriate candidates. Don't forget about using social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with people who may be casually looking for offers.

Conduct a Broader Search

If you've evaluated your business's labor pool and determined that a local match is unlikely, you should prepare to attract candidates from a national or even international level. Make sure your pay and benefits are competitive for best results, because these candidates likely have their pick of positions. You'll want to extend an enticing offer if you find a good match.

For example, if you need to conduct scientific research for a project, your perfect candidate has already worked on a similar project and is familiar with the background and methodology. Finding someone with such experience and interest would require a national or international search. There are only so many rocket scientists and brain surgeons in the world.

Consider Outsourcing to an Agency or Freelancer

Let's say you only need part-time help in a skilled area, but your local labor pool does not have qualified candidates. It's hard to broaden your search to communities farther away because the commute time cancels out the part-time income for many people. In this case, consider whether the work you need can be outsourced to an agency or freelancer. If you need work that can be delivered electronically, then you can definitely take advantage of this hiring strategy.

If the work can't be delivered electronically, you can still explore hiring an agency. For example, you can hire an accounting firm to handle your taxes without having to vet and hire an accountant who only works for you.

Between evaluating your local labor pool, broadening your search, hiring an agency or contracting with a freelancer, you can find someone to do the job. If you can't, reassess your own side of the deal. Make sure the salary or hourly wage you offer appeals to someone with the level of education or skills that you desire.

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About the Author

Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.