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A Conversation with Freeman+Leonard founder, Valerie Freeman


We are kicking off the new year by looking at the subject of Employment vs. Unemployment. With unemployment at a significant low, the workforce is employed and that calls for a different approach to hiring given the smaller pool of available talent.  Our founder, Valerie Freeman weighs in on the hiring challenges in a high-employment marketplace.

You have been in the business of finding people to fill jobs and jobs to fit people for most of your career. What looks different to you as we go into 2019?

VF: I’m glad we are discussing the state of employment. We have seen record low unemployment rates of late. Typically, that indicates a “tight” market, meaning more jobs than people.  That’s really good for candidates, but for clients it makes hiring top-tier talent much more challenging.

I know you work with clients who want to see excellent candidates.  What do hiring managers need to do to ensure they are getting the perfect person for each open position?

VF:  Well, in a tight market, the very good candidates are often already in a full-time, permanent position.  They aren’t necessarily shopping their resumes on job sites or corporate websites.  We call them passive candidates.  That’s when having a partner like Freeman+Leonard can help identify the hard-to-find talent and convince them to consider a move.

What other things do hiring managers need to be considering in a tight job market?

VF: In times like these, there are several things impacting finding and hiring high performers.  Here are some things to consider:

  1. We are seeing that the really good candidate’s are not on the market for long. When a client takes too long to make a decision, they often lose a candidate to an offer that comes more quickly.  Companies should take a hard look at their own internal hiring process to ensure there are no unnecessary steps that may slow the process down.
  2. A tight job market means candidates can demand and often receive a higher-than-average income for that role. We suggest when you are ready to make an offer, consider the entire compensation package and position that to the candidate, versus negotiating over the base pay.
  3. When you feel the overall candidate’s salary requirements are out of line, or there are too few candidate’s available to consider, be open to more innovative staffing solutions. Some companies are looking for candidate’s who may work from home in order to contract out their time versus taking a permanent position.  With a more flexible approach to getting the work done, we can seek candidate’s from across the country, opening a significantly larger pool of talent to draw from and often at a considerable cost savings.

Thank you, Valerie Freeman!  Your experience and insights are essential to the Freeman+Leonard team and to our clients and talent.