Competing for Talent in a Tight Labor Market

Jan. 30, 2007

Natick, MA – More than three-quarters (82 percent) of Hot Firm leaders cite hiring and retaining qualified employees as their top operational challenge in managing their firm’s rapid growth, according to ZweigWhite’s 2007 AEC Industry Outlook. “By making several small mindful recruiting changes, firms can avoid the pitfalls that kept them from being a competitive recruiter in the past,” says Jennifer Hu, an associate with ZweigWhite who specializes in human resources advisory services.

Hu shares a few best practices for firm leaders who want to improve their recruiting results:

  • Recruit continually. Set aside time each week to review resumes, interview candidates and meet with your HR manager to discuss the state of the marketplace. Create a formal process to plan for long-term hiring needs, maintain a central database of candidates, stay in touch with potential employees, and leverage employee referrals so you can move quickly when a position opens.
  • Streamline the hiring process. Shorten the firm’s recruiting process by limiting the number of people needed to craft the job description, interview the candidate, draft the offer letter and approve the hire. Firms lose great candidates when they take too long for interviewers to convene, discuss feedback and make a decision.
  • Write effective offer letters. Offer letters should always include a firm response date, start date, direct supervisor’s name and role within the company. Personalize the offer letter to indicate how excited you are to get the candidate on board and require a signature, which reinforces this is a contract.
  • Provide competitive benefits and salaries. Benchmark the salaries your firm offers against the benefits of firms of similar sizes, types, specialties and geographic location. Market the differentiating factors (unusual benefits, perks of workplace environment) that may give your firm the edge to prospective candidates.

ZweigWhite provides business information and expertise exclusively to professionals in the architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental consulting industry, through its proprietary consulting services (merger & acquisition consulting, ownership transition, corporate valuation, business appraisal, strategic business planning, marketing and business development), newsletters, magazines, research, tradeshows, conferences, seminars, books, training tapes and other business education materials. The company serves its clients from offices in Natick, MA, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington.

For further information, contact Anne O'Malley at [email protected] or visit For all other inquiries, e-mail ZweigWhite at [email protected] or call (800) 466-6275.

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