The New State of Hiring

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The New State of Hiring

I have been hiring for wineries for 25 years, and without a doubt, there are more qualified candidates for each position than any other time I can remember. The main benefit of this situation is that it is an employer’s market.

Due to the increased number of highly qualified candidates in the job market, it is possible to have a higher set of qualifications for a position and employers can be more selective. Helping my clients recruit and restructure is one of my favorite things to do. I find it incredibly rewarding to help a winery evaluate its needs and hire accordingly.

As the economy and market continue to evolve, here are some tips on to consider when hiring with an eye on retention.

  1. Offer the best salary you can. Wineries that are still feeling financially stretched may feel compelled to low-ball prospective employees in salary. This is a short term strategy. It is more costly to rehire when your new employee quits after 6 months than to hire someone at the right salary.If you can’t afford to offer your perfect candidate a higher salary now, look at the entire compensation package and see where you can compromise. For example, a candidate might be willing to negotiate on salary in return for a more flexible work schedule.
  2. Treat people with respect. It goes without saying that treating people with trust and integrity is very important. You reap what you sow. Avoid attitudes like, “you’re lucky to have this job with so many people unemployed.” Once again, this is a quick way for an employee to feel unhappy and to keep their ears open for the next opportunity.
  3. Referrals are still key. Even with a large candidate pool, referrals are often the best way to fill a position. When I recently sorted through 300 applicants to a job I posted on winejobs.com, I still placed a high value on referrals from my deep industry connections.
  4. Reference checks are more important than ever. I have a dear friend who is the VP of HR at a large company. He has given me sage advice about diligently checking references and conducting background checks (if applicable) in this market. According to him, desperation has resulted in an increase in fraudulent applicant information.
  5. Keep an eye on retaining your current employees. Even with budget limitations, there are still things that small wineries can do to retain and motivate employees. Show an interest in your employees’ well-being and career aspirations. Learn about their career goals and identify ways they can reach them while simultaneously supporting the company’s growth. Employees feel more invested in a company when they feel they are valued and part of a team.

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