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When the unemployment rate is high, employers can pick and choose their new hires from the ranks of those without a job. Those job seekers may need to update their skills, and they may need a bit of retraining here and there, but they are widely available and anxious for a new opportunity.

Things become considerably more challenging when the economy turns around and the unemployment rate dips. While no one wants a bad economy, it is hard to deny that a good economy presents a difficult environment for those with jobs to fill.

Economists used to define full employment as a 5% unemployment rate, and though things have changed somewhat, that guideline is still a useful one for employers and hiring managers. When the unemployment rate dips to the 5% level and below, an overwhelming percentage of workers who want jobs already have jobs.

Hiring new workers in an environment like that can be challenging to say the least, but all is not lost. Some 95% of the working-age population may have jobs, but that does not mean they love their jobs or their employers. No matter how high or low the unemployment rate, there are always disaffected workers, or employees who would eagerly switch jobs if given the opportunity.

That is where the casual job search comes into play. Employers who are able to reach out to those casual job seekers can fill their open positions while their competitors continue to struggle.

There are a number of ways to reach out to those casual job seekers. Some of them are old school, while others use cutting-edge technology to get the word out. Radio ads have always been an effective way to reach casual job seekers, and radio remains an important part of the equation. For all the talk of podcasts and online broadcasting, traditional radio is still going strong. That means radio ads are a cost-effective recruiting tool, and one that employers should not ignore.

Some employers offer referral bonuses to boost their recruiting efforts and reach out to more casual job seekers. No matter what the size of the company, a good number of workers probably know someone who is unhappy in their job. Offering those workers a monetary incentive to bring those friends onboard can be very effective – and a great way to reach the casual job seeker.

In recent years, social media has become an important recruitment tool as well. Those casual job seekers may not be checking their Facebook feeds at work, but you can bet they will be signing on from home. Seeing a new job opportunity pop up in their feed could pique their interest and send the resumes your way.

It is not always easy to hire qualified candidates. Even when unemployment is high, employers often complain of a skills gap, that those unemployed workers lack the skills and the education to perform the tasks companies need. While some of those concerns can be addressed through the onboarding and internal training processes, that skills gap is very real.

No matter how difficult that skills gap may be, however, it pales in comparison to the challenges employers face in a low unemployment environment. When unemployment is nearly nonexistent, employers need to think outside the box, reaching out to men and women who are already working and using a variety of recruitment tools to get their attention.

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