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Insights & Intuition

Four business leaders answer a Prairie Business question for May.

Insights & Intuition
Insights & Intuition
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Every month Prairie Business asks business leaders in the region a question, and they answer with their perspective and insight. The question we asked for May is: "What resources do you use to find talented job applicants?" Here are the responses from four business experts:

Brent Burgard, director of finance and human resources, Ackerman-Estvold, Minot, N.D.

Brent Burgard
Brent Burgard
Image: Courtesy of Ackerman-Estvold

We use a hybrid of traditional and innovative methods to find the next member of the AE family, using word of mouth, networking, radio, employee referrals, social media, and recruitment partnerships. As we continue to grow geographically it is important to assess each market to ensure we are using resources to find the best candidates for us.

One of the most effective ways we can stand out as an employer of choice is investing in staff from before they walk through our doors. We pride ourselves on building strong community relationships and ties to high schools and universities throughout the region, allowing us to recruit and hire top-notch interns. Our program is built around gaining real-life experience and taking learning beyond the classroom.

Competitive labor markets and talent shortage requires us to be an employer attractive to applicants with competitive salaries, benefits, and growth potential. The second step is following through as an employer with a culture created with intention. We provide our employees with challenging and gratifying work and solid team support willing to jump in to assist and celebrate successes together.

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Angela Bolonchuk, director of HR, JLG Architects, Grand Forks, N.D.

Angela Bolonchuk
Angela Bolonchuk
Image: Courtesy of JLG Architects

JLG Architects finds talent through several avenues – updating our website, holding open houses, attending career fairs and networking events, maximizing social media, and posting on job boards. We lead an aggressive employee referral program and hire external recruiters as needed to assist. Our application process is easy for candidates. In filling near-term demands, it's important to consider annual and long-range planning and forecasting; scanning potential candidates for opportunities beyond the positions applied for.

We also continue to expand our collegiate recruitment efforts to increase our entry-level applicant candidate pool. The key to securing talent starts with a good reputation, which we leverage with our culture. As an ESOP with a collaborative and transparent culture, we demonstrate value to our employee-owners by openly sharing the firm's financial information, consistently obtaining employee insight, and identifying ways to make adjustments based on that feedback.

Employee stock ownership is a major draw and helps us stay competitive with our compensation and benefits, assisting individuals with building wealth while providing stability.

Being a great place to work to recruit top talent is a never-ending effort. It requires consistently staying connected to staff to understand concerns, scanning the current marketplace, and evolving, which goes a long way to recruit talented job applicants.

Brandon Salontai, central region director of employment, HDR, Austin, Texas (but recruits for the Dakotas) 

Brandon Salontai
Brandon Salontai
Image: Courtesy of HDR

In the current market, it is vital that we connect with applicants quickly to share information about our company and our open positions. To do that, HDR continues to use several resources when looking for job applicants. They range from LinkedIn, job boards and college career fairs.

In addition, our employee referral program is key to our success in recruiting talent. In 2021, our employees referred over 1,850 individuals for positions available at HDR.

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Betsy Alberty, AVP, senior human resources generalist, Gate City Bank, Fargo, N.D.

Betsy Alberty
Betsy Alberty
Image: Courtesy of Gate City Bank

At Gate City Bank, we’re honored to be consistently recognized as a top place to work with culture and benefits second to none. It’s no surprise that one of our best sources for finding talent comes from our very own team members, encouraging others to come work at a place they love. Roughly one-third of our new hires come from team member referrals!

In this job market, it’s important to be proactive and always on the lookout for talent before positions open. Since giving back is such a big part of our culture, we stay actively connected with our communities and network at a wide variety of local events. Recently we also created “Join Our Team” business cards, so whenever we see talent or excellent customer service, we can give individuals a card right on the spot and encourage them to apply.

We are also involved with many colleges and high schools within our footprint through networking and volunteering. We attend job fairs throughout the year and post jobs on “Handshake” to connect with college students, as well as enjoy speaking to classes about Gate City Bank and conducting mock interviews. We love connecting with students and helping them find a career that fits, fulfills and inspires them. Member FDIC

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