Are you one of the countless companies sitting around hoping applicants will walk in the door because you post a hiring notice?

Employers in all industries are reporting difficulties in finding qualified candidates, and the shrinking labor market will not be expanding anytime soon. So, if you’re sitting there hoping to wait this one out, you’ll be waiting by yourself for a long time.

Here’s how to move from hope to action.

Cool culture

Are you just a place to work or are you the place to work? It's no accident that companies like Google and Microsoft have a pool of applicants that stretch the length of the United States and beyond.

These organizations know that it's not enough to offer candidates a place to work and a paycheck. Today's workers — particularly those filling entry-level positions — are looking for the total package.

They want to work at a "cool" place, where there are opportunities for growth and sushi in the company-sponsored dining room.

Take a look at your work environment and look at ways to be creative. You may not be able to afford a sushi chef for your employee kitchen, but you can certainly find a Japanese restaurant that can deliver a few platters of sushi to your office every now and again.

Subsidizing dues

Many job candidates and employees are no longer interested in paying their dues. Yet companies still have policies in place that requires employees to do so.

An example of this is job postings. Often employees must be in their jobs for a minimum period before they can post for another position.

This approach worked fine in the 1980s when there was an abundance of candidates for every job, but it doesn't work today. If you don't allow your employees to move rapidly through the organization, they’ll find a company that will.

Consider eliminating the time employees must spend in their jobs before posting for a new position. Make it a point to hire smart people, train them well, and applaud their advancement as they move up in your organization.

Experience counts

If you were to interview with your company today, would you accept a position, based on your experience with the interviewing process? How long does it take for a candidate to move through the hiring process?

How many candidates are you losing, because you take too long to make hiring decisions? Are your hiring managers more focused on texts, than the candidates they are interviewing?

Not sure? Ask candidates whom you might have lost in the recruitment process for feedback.

Or ask a friend to interview with your company and provide you with feedback regarding their experience. Make changes where necessary, before you lose another candidate.

Pay matters

We hear how candidates are less concerned about pay and more interested in factors like work-life balance and exciting work. Don't believe that for a minute.

Pay still matters. If your compensation plan is focused on putting more pay-at-risk, reducing benefits, and offering minimal pay increases, potential employees (and current team members) are likely to take a better deal elsewhere.

Instead of focusing on cost-cutting, find ways to enhance revenues so you can afford to offer potential employees and your workforce a competitive wage and a stellar benefits package.

Hope is not a bad thing. However, you'll find that it's just not enough to hope for things to change. You have to make things happen.