Just before the recession we wee in the midst of a labour shortage and I attended a career fair. I spotted a gleeful looking job seeker with a manila envelope full of resumes and wearing a three hundred-dollar let’s-talk-about-it suit. It’s usually difficult to find a hint of happiness at a career fair on either side of the interview table. It’s usually serious business.

 I asked him for his thoughts about the fair. “It was great,” he said. “For the first time in my life, I get to tell the employer what I want out of work.”

 As the unemployment rate drops, it becomes more difficult for companies to recruit employees. Add to that the pending retirement of the legion of baby boomers, expect an increase in competition between companies to recruit and retain employees. It is a job seeker’s market. The career fair attendee looked happy because he was happy.

 To compete for the best employees, companies are beginning to add some things to the table to make their offer more attractive to new hires. Job seekers want to join a company on the list of top 100 employers. To recruit successfully, you need to make that list. Here are some tips:

 1. Create an attractive company culture

Consider developing a leadership style that encourages collaborative exchanges of ideas between employees over company problems. Employees like to be involved in problem solving – especially since they took the time to list it on their resumes as one of their skills

2 Flexibility

Be flexible with time. Offer opportunity to work flex hours so employees can meet the needs of both the company and their families. Consider whether you really need a dress code, and let them decorate their office the way they want.

 3. Benefits

Build an attractive benefit package. Along with the standard medical-dental-superannuation packages, think of adding other benefits such as lunches with the boss or memberships to gyms to wear off the lunches with the boss.

 4. De-emphasise multitasking

Multitasking was a major buzzword of the 1990s when companies downsized. The employees that remained had to do their work plus the work of three others whom they laid off. This led to inefficiency in the workplace as people assumed tasks that were often beyond their comfort zone. This led to workplace stress. It is hard to be on the top 100 list when everyone is stressed. Instead of multitasking, concentrate on allowing companies to focus on their tasks, or perhaps tasks they assign themselves through collaboration.

 5. Salary

It is important to keep current with the salaries to be competitive. Bear in mind that according to the BC Business Council between 1984 and 2004 disposable income in BC only grew by 11.1 per cent while the Canadian average was 19.8 per cent.

 To be really competitive, however, give me a call. I probably have just the person you’re looking for.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Résumé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at

If you’re looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


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