labor market

2nd Quarter Roundup: It Remains A Tight Job Market

Can you believe that we are already halfway through the year? It’s officially summer and just like the weather, employers are feeling the blaze of today’s job market. While not as strong as the First Quarter, the job market in Q2 experienced steady growth. The unemployment rate has been hovering at 3.6 percent, a near 50-year low. Moreover, June was officially the 105th consecutive month of job gains.

The gap between job openings and available workers seeking new employment opportunities is still a headache for most employers. In April 2019, there were 1.63 million more job openings than available workers. In fact, this was the largest gap ever recorded! As you can see, the labor market is tight and doesn’t look like it’s cooling down as we enter Q3.

Check out our Second Quarter roundup of today’s candidate-driven market and learn a few ways you can navigate it, regardless if you’re an employer or a candidate.

Why Summertime is a Great Time to Hire


Summer is finally here! The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer. It’s a common misconception that summertime is a notorious slow season for hiring. But in today’s job market, this simply isn’t true. Don’t believe us? Check out the Johnson Search Group job board. We have dozens of exciting opportunities across the country.

It’s time to officially get this myth out of your head! Here are a few reasons why summer is a great time for hiring, for both candidates looking for opportunities and employers searching for new talent.

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How to Attract Millennial Talent to Your Organization

How To Attract Millennial Talent To Your Organization

Many well-established companies find themselves with a new problem these days: how to attract fresh talent with new skill sets and new ideas. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Organizations are now having to change their approach to attract and retain these young candidates. So what can your team do to secure this majority workforce? Here are a few dos and don’ts for hiring Millennials.

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How to Negotiate in a Candidate-Driven Market

How To Negotiate In A Candidate-Driven Market

You may have heard that the current job market is “candidate-driven,” but what exactly does that mean? First and foremost, it means that there are lots of great jobs available to a limited number of qualified candidates. For people looking to advance their careers, this results in better-negotiating power when it comes to wages, incentives, location, and work-life balance. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating a new position.

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How to Prepare for Your Next Interview

interview prep

Do you have an upcoming job interview? If so, proper interview prep is one of the most critical contributions to successfully landing a new job opportunity. Today, we want to share what I believe is the most valuable part of the interview process: the prep. Prepping for your job interview helps you as a candidate land your dream job. Getting an interview is sometimes the hardest part. Although this may be true, it’s not uncommon for qualified candidates not to be selected for the job. This is all due to them not being prepared for their big day.

No matter what industry or stage of the interviewing process, it’s always wise to prep for your upcoming interview. Here are three tips to help you nail your next interview.

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These Interview Questions Will Reveal The Most About Candidates

When interviewing candidates, not every question is created equal. If you’re referencing an outdated list of interview questions that you found on the internet, you’re doing yourself (and your candidates) a disservice. A focused list of purposeful questions can reveal a lot about a candidate and how they’ll fit into your open position.

Behavioral questions

These questions typically begin with, “tell me about a time…” Your aim is to have the candidate explain past situations and how they handled them. Try to customize the question to accurately represent situations they would encounter if they were to join your team. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Tell us about a time when you did not meet a customer’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • When you’re working with a large number of customers, it can be difficult to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Explain a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  • Tell us about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
  • Describe your proudest professional accomplishment.

Personalized questions

Questions that directly relate to a candidate’s resume and experience will always reveal a lot about them and how they’ll function at your company. Try asking them to expand on statistics listed on their resume. Additionally, choose projects they’ve worked on that are especially pertinent to the role they’re interviewing for and ask them to elaborate.

We encourage you to continue asking personalized interview questions throughout your entire meeting. If something a candidate says sparks your interest, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask for more information.

Application questions

Every company and every team has unique situations that your employees run into. Be sure to ask your candidates real-world application questions that could be a part of their everyday life if they secure this job. Maybe there’s a project that your team is currently brainstorming. Ask the candidate about their ideas or how they would approach that particular situation.


Why Summer is a Great Time to Hire


Can you believe it’s already June? The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer. In fact, June 21st is the first day of summer. It’s a common misconception that summertime is a notorious slow season for hiring. But in today’s job market, this simply isn’t true. Don’t believe us? Check out the Johnson Search Group job board. We have dozens of exciting opportunities across the United States.

It’s time to officially get this myth out of your head! Here are a few reasons why summer is a great time for hiring, for both candidates looking for opportunities and employers searching for new talent.

For candidates looking for new opportunities

Now is a perfect time to hit the job search hard. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low of 3.7 percent and there are still more jobs than available workers to fill them. Today’s market is definitely a candidate-driven one! There are plenty of fantastic opportunities to choose from. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 7.5 million job openings.

June is the sixth month of the year. In other words, if you see a job posted, it’s more than likely a critical position. That means these roles are essential to the operations of the employer, and thus, they will likely make a decision quickly. Additionally, many people are out on vacations and not even thinking about new opportunities. That’s great for you if you’re on the job hunt! You have less competition out there fighting for the same job opportunities you are applying for.

As a prospective candidate, now is a fantastic time to find the next step in your career. Don’t let this summertime myth derail your job search.

For employers searching for new hires

As employers, we know how you feel, it’s summer. Employees in every department are out of the office taking vacations or enjoying “summer Fridays.” During this time, it can be difficult to get everyone together to form a panel interview or make a hiring decision. However, regardless of the season, you can’t drag your feet when it comes to hiring in this candidate-driven market. You just need to be a little more flexible.

Candidates are only on the job market for an average of 17 days. This means you need to streamline your hiring process to fit within this timeline. This will help you secure the best talent on the market and save money. On average, an open position is costing your company $4,129 every 42 days. The cost of vacancies really starts to add up when you have multiple positions open. So being forced to make quick hiring decisions may actually save your department money and fill your critical needs efficiently.

The stereotype of summer being a difficult hiring season simply isn’t true. Don’t let this age-old myth postpone your hiring needs. Take advantage of your competitors that are buying into this misconception and fill those hiring needs in this busy labor market.

And if your team is struggling this summer to find the talent you need, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Partner with a recruiter that specializes in your industry and streamline your hiring process.

How To Attract Millennial Talent To Your Organization

How To Attract Millennial Talent To Your Organization

How To Attract Millennial Talent To Your Organization

Many well-established companies find themselves with a new problem these days: how to attract fresh talent with new skill sets and new ideas. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Organizations are now having to change their approach to attract and retain these young candidates. So what can your team do to secure this majority workforce? Here are a few dos and don’ts for hiring Millennials.

Don’t Go Overboard On “Years Of Experience Required”

A long list of requirements is a huge reason that companies miss out on extremely talented candidates. While the Millennial generation might not have 3-5 years of experience, they bring a host of other skills to the table. Consider things like modern education, internship experience, and self-education. Younger candidates may be able to prove value beyond strictly years of experience. Leave the job description as simple as possible. Then, during the interview, you can determine if the candidate will be a good fit.

Paint A Picture Of Company Culture Throughout The Interview Process

Millennials like to know what they’re getting themselves into. By showing them the culture of the company and team early on, they start to picture themselves fitting in. One of our favorite ways to do this is by getting your whole department involved. When a candidate comes on site, show them the workspace and have them meet with other team members. Be sure to include any fun events or extracurriculars you participate in. These can range from the occasional team happy hour, to holiday parties, to how you get involved in the community.

Think About Offers Holistically

Younger generations prioritize holistic offer packages. This means they’re looking for benefits like comprehensive healthcare, generous paid time off, and flexible work-life balance. Competitive salaries are still essential to a great candidate offer. Millennials just desire much more than just a steady paycheck. In fact, the average Millennial is willing to take an annual pay cut of $7,600 for a more desirable work environment. The companies that are currently winning the talent war go out of their way to take care of their employees.

Don’t Incorporate Slang Into Professional Settings

It has been proven that businesses using slang is a huge turn off for young professionals. They view it as insincere and inauthentic, and it comes across as force-fed. While this talent market may be young, they still want to be treated with respect! Keep your job descriptions and communication professional.

3 Ways to Ensure You’re Making an Excellent Hiring Decision in 2018.

3 Ways to Ensure an Excellent Hiring Decision in 2018

3 Ways to Ensure You’re Making an Excellent Hiring Decision in 2018.

Fact: The talent pool isn’t as deep as you’d like it to be. You know it, I know it. The national unemployment rate is hovering around 4.1%. In February 2018, the hiring across the U.S. was 20.1% higher than February 2017.

This is great for the country, but it sure makes your job as a hiring manager or HR much more difficult. To ensure your hiring is successful this year, you need to keep these three things in mind.

Proactive Hiring

I’ll give you some insight into what my most successful customers are doing to ensure they are getting high quality hires in this talent-driven market: They have me on the lookout for candidates with certain skills or experience. It makes perfect sense why they do.

Why not have someone who’s shopping in the talent market every single day have your needs on their shopping list?

Don’t undervalue your company culture and values

This is the area I would recommend you put some additional attention and focus into because the importance of a good cultural fit has never been more critical. In conversations I’ve had with hiring managers and HR, by far the #1 reason a recent hire didn’t work out was that they didn’t share the same values.

I can’t tell you how much we here at JSG drill into values just as much as skills when interviewing with potential candidates. We value families, communities, teamwork, and company culture when making hiring decisions. They can have all the skills needed to succeed in the role, but if they are not a good culture fit, they ultimately won’t work out in the long-run.

Hire Johnson Search Group

Here at Johnson Search Group, we have long-standing relationships with our customers because of our ability to consistently provide successful outcomes. We strive to understand your company culture and values just as much as the job requirements.

We work tirelessly for our customers and vet every candidate multiple times before we present them to you. If you’re not used to getting that personal attention from your current recruiting firm, maybe now is a good time to see what you’ve been missing.

3 Reasons You Should Definitely Hire In December

3 Reasons You Should Prioritize Hiring In December

3 Reasons You Should Definitely Hire In December

It can be tempting to put off hiring until after the holidays. You usually have a lot going on between year-end financials, planning for next year, and personal obligations. However, you must prioritize hiring this month, or you’ll be missing out on a great opportunity to secure new talent. Here’s why:

1. Your competition is taking a break.

Many companies slow way down during the Holiday season. They start prepping for the next year, completely forgetting that they still have one (very good) month left to accomplish goals!

Job openings are reaching a 10-year high throughout the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 24 states were over 4% unemployment in October 2017,  which means over half of the country is sifting through the smallest talent pools in the 21st century! So as we head into 2018, an already tough candidate market will be absorbing the “A” talent, and fast!

Take this opportunity to get a head start before everyone else. Historically and generally, January is the strongest month for company’s new hires. Get ahead of your competition by snatching up the best talent NOW, when no one else is looking!

2. Use up that remaining budget!

If your department allocated space in your budget that hasn’t been used yet, now is the time. To keep funds in your budget for next year, you need to hire candidates before the year is up. This will also leave room for additional growth in your budget for next year, and help keep operating costs low.

3. Get ready to hit the ground running in the new year.

Because of the nature of the holiday season, many new projects are slated to start in the new year. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to onboard someone in the midst of starting dozens of new projects. By hiring in December, you get a jump start on getting new talent on board and prepped before you reach the new year. That way, once 2018 hits, you can hit the ground running with an employee who is fully ready to take on new challenges.

Your Job Description Is Scaring Away Candidates. Here's How To Fix It

Your Job Description Is Scaring Away Candidates. Here’s How To Fix It

Your Job Description Is Scaring Away Candidates. Here's How To Fix It

As a recruiter, I spend considerable time reviewing different job descriptions for a variety of mining and heavy industrial related positions. They are usually 1-3 page documents outlining job duties, key responsibilities, and requirements, giving an in-depth explanation of what is to be expected for the position. But even the “best” job descriptions are scaring away candidates. Either they are too long, too confusing, or not exciting enough. Here are a couple tricks I’ve learned to get the most out of your job description and start attracting the best candidates.

1. Keep it brief. In today’s world, people have a lot going on. The best candidates are still employed while they are searching for their next role. On top of that, they have families, social lives, and hobbies that are all competing for their time. They do not want to invest what little spare time they have on trying to decipher your multi-page job description. Remove any unnecessary information or industry standards to keep your job description concise. Things like “communication skills,” “Microsoft Office experience,” and “organization” are a waste of space and your candidate’s time.

2. Share specifics. Some job descriptions are incredibly generic and don’t give too many details about this specific job and how it’s unique within your company. Through experience and research, you can begin to learn what specifics the job generally requires. For instance, when I get a job order for a Reliability Engineer and the job descriptions says, “must have bachelor’s degree,” through experience I know they are generally looking for an engineering degree usually in mechanical or industrial with hands-on experience and preventative maintenance experience. This goes for all job orders, you must know your industry and understand the candidates that you are trying to attract in order to effectively recruit on positions.

3. Add personality. Culture fit is becoming more and more important in today’s world of recruiting. Candidates want to understand how they will fit in with your team, and what the company’s mission and visions are for the future. Take a paragraph in your job description to describe the team makeup and the company. Do you have casual Fridays? Monthly team happy hour? Does everyone get really into March Madness? I’m sure your organization is a great place to work, just make sure to let candidates know that right off the bat!

Is Technology Destroying Customer Service?

Is Technology Destroying Customer Service?

Is Technology Destroying Customer Service?

I recently had the experience of taking my car to my local dealership for a problem with the transmission. Of course, when the technician drove it, the transmission worked fine. They also told me that there was no code read outs on the electronic gizmo they use, so they did not know what to do. I asked if they had looked at the transmission fluid to see if there were any shavings, and the service guy looked at me like I had two heads. The answer was no, they had not but suggested that instead, I should keep driving the car until the check engine light comes on so it will be easier for them to diagnose. The dealership has gotten so used to a machine providing the diagnosis for them, that a simple manual inspection is out of the question. The result in this scenario is that they just lost a customer.

How about your organization? Is the customer service in your hiring processes so automated with keyword checkers, HR Departments that only look for attractive resumes, or an online application portal that is such a pain that the good candidates seek employment elsewhere? I currently work with one organization that has a 42-page hiring packet, and will not allow an electronic signature. Every hire must print, sign, and scan or fax all 42-pages and when discussing it with HR, they seem oblivious to the inconvenience as well as the challenge for many who do not own a scanner. And when was the last time you used a fax machine?

I had a candidate recently tell me that she had gotten hired by a hospital and while she was in new employee orientation, she got a call from HR telling her that they were sorry, but the position had been filled. She said she laughed out loud at the absurdity. Unfortunately, these stories are very common in today’s market. First, the department that is tasked with talent acquisition is also responsible for scheduling interviews, new employee orientation, updates to policies and HR procedures, human capital comparison, annual salary reviews, and the list goes on. Suffice it to say, they don’t have any skin in the game to fill the critical needs of any organization. And in fact, every time someone gets hired, it adds to the other responsibilities on their plate; it an interesting dichotomy.

What does this have anything to do with customer service? Everything! If a candidate is treated as a customer and provided a great experience through the hiring process, you begin the employee/employer relationship with someone who is impressed with your company and therefore the first impression is a great one. If your process does not start with excellent customer service, there is frustration, irritation, and a big fat question mark as to whether they are making the right decision to take the job. This can tank a new employee’s attitude from day one.

Basically, there are three choices:

1) You can attempt to emphasize customer service in your HR department, which of course will require a lot of time to ensure compliance

2) You can take over the responsibility of talent acquisition and recruiting for your own department’s open positions and not get your regular job done


3) You can choose to work with a recruiting firm that specializes in customer service which will take a ton of work off your plate.

As the market tightens for qualified ‘A’ candidates and you want to compete for that top talent, I recommend that you make one the above choices. Technology is great, but when you are seeking the ‘fit factor’ for a new staff member, a computer cannot identify the soft skills you are looking for or the personality that you want.

How To Hire For Culture Fit

How To Hire For Culture Fit

How To Hire For Culture Fit

As a company, we have been putting more and more emphasis on hiring for culture fit both internally and for our clients. “Culture fit” is more than just a buzzword, it is rapidly becoming a standard in business around the world. But… what exactly is it and how the heck do you hire for it? At its core, cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture. (Business News Daily) And as important as it is for us to define culture fit, it’s just as important to define what culture fit is NOT. It is not a way to hire all of your best friends, it is not a strategy to hire people who are all the same. You still need to hire a diverse team that brings different experiences, different points of view, and even different goals. So how do you sort through the thousands of candidates on the market to find the one or two people who are not only going to be a great fit but also make an immediate impact on the growth of your team?


This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but please take a moment to step outside your shoes and look at your company through the eyes of a candidate. Is your company culture obvious right off the bat? Does what you read online align with what you’ll see in the office and hear when you talk to current employees? If the answers to these questions aren’t clear, it’s time to make some adjustments. It may be as simple as making your brand known, or a little more complicated process of defining your culture and getting everyone on board.


So often, we put candidates in rigid boxes because they do or don’t check off every box on our desired skills list. This is resulting in so much missed value! Just because someone doesn’t have every skill doesn’t mean they can’t come into your open job and make a huge impact. Remember, skills can be taught but culture fit cannot. If you’re intrigued by someone’s background, or they fit some criteria but not all, put them in the “yes” pile. You will be amazed at how much you learn and gain just by talking to these candidates.


We’ve all seen the standard list of questions that everyone asks during an interview. “What are your weaknesses?” “Tell us about yourself…” By changing the way you ask questions, you change the type of talent you bring on board. I love this list of culture-fit specific questions from Harvard Business Review. And don’t stop at just changing the questions you ask! Maybe ask the candidate to sit in on a meeting and give their thoughts on a current project, or give them a homework assignment very similar to what they would be doing day to day, or even take them out to a team lunch to see how they interact with everyone. By taking candidates out of the “typical” interview process, you will be able to uncover outstanding talent.


Something that I love to say when I’m interviewing someone is “this interview is a two-way street.” I like to put the power in the candidate’s hands by asking them to tell me what they are looking for in a job or career. Trust your candidates enough that they feel they’re able to open up to you, and you’ll be able to get to know their true selves and if they will truly be a culture fit on your team.

Hiring For Culture Fit: Do Or Don't?

Hiring For Culture Fit: Do Or Don’t?

Hiring For Culture Fit: Do Or Don't?

Cultural fit within a company can be defined in so many ways. According to Business News Daily, “cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture.” 

If you think about it, it is such a simple concept. Companies want to evaluate how well potential candidates will fit in with their team and if they have the same short and long-term goals. Skills have always been an essential part of hiring employees, but hiring for culture fit has rapidly gained popularity in the business world and is making an impact on companies everywhere. But is it okay to completely overlook a candidate’s skills in order to hire a great culture fit?

Let’s look at the potential pros and cons of hiring candidates as a cultural fit over prioritizing their skill set.


Increased Productivity

When you hire like-minded individuals, it can make collaboration and teamwork easier, which can increase productivity. The employee will be less likely to get burnt out, show any signs of fatigue and be better performers.

Mentally Happier People

Studies often show that a culture fit along with a positive work environment promotes great mental health for employees. If an employee is happy with the culture, their self-worth and value they place on their workplace go hand-in-hand.

Employee Retention

By harboring a great work environment with people who have the same morals, outlook, and values as the company, you create more productive staff who are willing to work harder to achieve great results. It has been proven that individuals that fit in well with their company’s culture are less likely to leave their jobs than those who do not hold the same values.

Skills Can Be Trained

Most skills on a job can be trained. What can’t be trained is someone’s values or attitude towards a common goal or how a company operates.


Lack of Diversity

Having a team of all like-minded individuals can create a situation where complacency is imminent. When you have a well-rounded team with different ideas, you have a better chance of having a diverse organization and less of a chance of seeing the same ideas being used over and over.

Missing Out On Great Talent

If you’re so concerned and wrapped up in what type of person you are looking for to fit your organization, you may be losing out on a great potential employee. Many companies miss out of amazing candidates by hiring too many employees that are “just like them.”


Millennials have become the largest, most diverse generation in U.S. History. It would be extremely difficult to categorize any millennial into one sort of ‘culture’. Not only that, but millennials tend to seek a diverse workplace, above anything else. If you have a cookie cutter team in your organization, chances are this won’t appeal to many millennials, making it a less attractive place to work.

Lack of Skills

If you’ve become so consumed with culture fit that you start to completely overlook skill sets, you may be selling yourself short. If they don’t have experience with the skill sets required to complete the job, more training may be needed to get them up and running. Even then, you’re taking a risk that they won’t be up-to-speed like the last candidate you passed on because they weren’t quite the right culture fit for your team.

There must be some sort of balance. A candidate that fits the culture and has the necessary set of skills would obviously be the best-case scenario. Unfortunately, those candidates can be hard to find and secure. Which is why every single candidate search is unique and requires an experienced team with a complete understanding of the job description, desired soft skills, team makeup, and future goals.