Employers’ search for candidates requires creativity, community connections: Michael G. Hyman


BEACHWOOD — The Great Resignation. Remote working. Pandemic precautions. Caregiver obligations. Changing life priorities.

Daily news stories and employment jobs reports outline a litany of issues that are impacting the job market. These are complex issues that are being studied by economists, research institutions, recruitment firms and think tanks across the country.

While the nation’s unemployment rate is currently down, which is a positive sign that people are returning to the workforce, employers from industries across the board are struggling to find qualified candidates for job openings. Due to the aforementioned reasons or other factors, recruiting and hiring staff continue to be challenges employers are facing.

As a nonprofit organization rooted in our community, the Mandel Jewish Community Center (The J) relies on the talent most oftentimes found in our backyard. Like so many others, we are charged with being creative in our approach to recruitment.

So how does a nonprofit compete for talent with big box chains and the service industry as these employers boost their hourly wages? Part of the strategy is to be more than a paycheck. Beyond income, employers must offer an enticing proposition, including providing a comprehensive benefits package for full-time employees, set hours, a welcoming environment, and opportunities for growth and professional development.

Finding the right person for the right role is a skill honed through time and experience by human resource specialists. When seeking teens and young adults for seasonal positions, how do we attract these niche staff members?

We must shift the message to ensure we are selling the full advantages of joining and being part of a team. What are the pros for the candidate? What will they gain by selecting this as their place of employment? Are they aware of the resume-building experience they’ll acquire? The opportunity to grow their professional network? The chance to meet peers and build friendships? Involvement in outdoor activities and social opportunities?

The J is a place that promotes wellness for everyone in our community of all ages. Everything we do is focused on enhancing physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being. Within The J’s welcoming environment, opportunities abound to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether it’s leading youth; fostering a child’s natural curiosity; providing health and safety; promoting fitness and wellness; or engaging the community in enriching arts and culture programs, there is a rewarding role that checks off the right boxes to meet the right candidate’s needs.

For instance, our seasonal positions play a pivotal role in creating the “best summer ever” for young summer campers. Many of these staff return to work at camp each season since they can’t imagine a summer without it. These jobs offer career-focused experiences and leadership skills not found at the cash register or drive-through window.

As we work diligently to spread awareness about career opportunities in this current environment, we are ever mindful of our mission – to build, connect and strengthen our community. When people work at The J, they are treated in a warm, respectful and friendly manner. Within our inviting atmosphere, people make connections, build friendships and feel involved in the community.

So, while we and other organizations continue our efforts to attract and retain a quality workforce, here at The J, we know that our people are our most important asset. They are also our best ambassadors. Word of mouth and staff referrals have been an invaluable tool in our recruitment activities. It is because of our dedicated staff that The J has been a vital part of our community for more than 70 years.

Michael G. Hyman is president and CEO of Mandel Jewish Community Center, a nonprofit based in Beachwood. Mandel JCC currently employs more than 190 staff and an additional 300 summer seasonal camp counselors and lifeguards. Pre-pandemic, it served more than 5,000 members with an additional several thousand community program participants.

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