In the last few years, few cities have been hotter and more growth-oriented than St. Petersburg in the Tampa Bay region.  What that community has been able to achieve in the last decade has been incredible. The growth they have generated has turned St. Petersburg into the economic engine for Pinellas County, in my opinion. How do you find top talent in St. Petersburg with an unemployment rate this low?

In today’s market, one of the biggest challenges facing any business in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, in general, is finding qualified, engaged, and focused employees. On a regular basis, we are receiving calls to our office from employers frustrated that they are struggling to find both the quality and quantity of employees needed to take advantage of the growth opportunities in their business. The struggle is real…you are not alone. Here is what you can do about it.

Determine what does it costs you to hire someone, include soft costs

The first thing I recommend to businesses is to look at both the hard costs and soft costs associated with hiring a person for your business.  What is your time worth? If you weren’t spending hours recruiting candidates for your business, could you use those hours to drive more revenue into your business? That’s a soft cost most business owners ignore. Let’s say you run an accounting firm and you bill your time at $250 an hour. Every hour you spend reviewing resumes is yet another hour you are not earning money or developing new clients.  Don’t just look at the hard costs of hiring, soft costs are critical too.

Do you know how you stack up to your competition?

Every business has some form of a budget that they work from. Even if that budget is only in the owners head. They have a price they are willing to pay for an employee based on the budget they have.  But, do you know what your competition is doing? What is your competition paying for a similar role? In a location like St. Petersburg, that is rapidly expanding and bringing new businesses to the market, this is a key component you must be very aware of. It matters! Great candidates are likely going to have multiple companies interested in them.

When an employee has multiple options we know that wages/benefits will always play a significant factor. Secondly, how the employee feels like they “fit in” with your culture and how you treated them in the interview process will make a difference and finally, how the candidate connected with the hiring manager will matter.  If you don’t know what your competition is paying or offering, you can be losing candidates every day because the “budget” you have in your head is no longer accurate in the market in which you are playing.

Be serious about it!

The worst thing you can do in this candidate friendly market is intentional and efficient in your hiring. Regardless of the process, you use to identify candidates for roles, you cannot do it slowly. When you have a candidate you would like to interview, don’t wait to schedule it. Again, in a location like St. Petersburg where growth is strong, people are coming on and off the market too quickly for you to take your own sweet time on the interview process. If you find a candidate or candidates, be prepared to get them through your process as quickly as possible, or lose them. Keep this in mind, every time you “lose” that candidate your soft costs go up due to the time you spent on that process.  Don’t start the process of hiring until you are serious about hiring.

At PrideStaff St. Pete/Clearwater, we enjoy working with businesses who value their employees and recognize the importance those employees have on the growth and stability of your business. I am happy to meet with you at any time to determine if our service could be a fit for any roles you have open. Feel free to continue to follow me at 

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