Do you know of any data scientists or solutions architects looking for a job? Sparkhound is willing to pay you $2,500 for a name.

That’s right—$2,500 per referral. 

“We were brainstorming and said, ‘Why don’t we make everybody in the U.S. a recruiter?’” says Sandy Michelet, Sparkhound’s director of human resources. “We just took our internal referral program and opened it up to the world.”

Creative, yes, but the recent launch of Sparkhound’s external referral program—called HoundHunters—merely illustrates the company’s response to today’s imbalanced job market. The local tech consulting firm is advertising roughly 20 job openings at its Baton Rouge office, and those highly specialized positions aren’t easy to fill.

Though much attention has been given to the labor shortage in consumer-facing industries like hospitality, Baton Rouge’s white-collar businesses aren’t immune to staffing issues. Some of Michelet’s HR peers in town work for companies with as many as 100 job openings.

Local firms are hunting for software developers, accountants, HR professionals, marketing managers and more. Some of these companies are going to great lengths to get more people on their payrolls, whether it’s offering to pay strangers for leads, hiring less-qualified applicants and “upskilling” them, or rethinking their pre-COVID hangups about employees—especially new hires—working from home. 

Read the full story about how Baton Rouge companies are working to recruit employees from the latest edition of Business Report.