Whenever we ask our clients about their most difficult challenge,
they almost always say it is hiring qualified people. This is particularly true, they say, when it
comes to hiring entry-level, unskilled hourly workers. Whether we’re talking about warehouse
employees, janitors, car care technicians, or delivery workers, finding and
keeping this type of talent is very difficult.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, the unemployment rate remains very low for unskilled, hourly workers. As a result, fewer of them are looking for
work and job vacancies go unfilled for longer periods of time. What’s more, traditional forms of recruiting are
no longer effective in attracting them.
If you are experiencing this dearth of candidates for
entry-level positions, here are some approaches to recruiting hourly workers that
Target Your Job Posting
– Typically, entry-level hourly employees rely on their mobile phones, and
not personal computers, to access the internet.
It’s essential, therefore, that your application process supports mobile
interfaces and makes it easy to learn about and apply for positions via a smart
phone. If your current website or recruiting
application is not friendly for this type of device, then consider investing in
an online applicant tracking system, such as ApplicantStack, Zoho Recruit, or
JazzHR, that can support mobile access 24/7.
Many of these systems can be tied into your corporate website or social
media platform and can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis so you can pay for
it just during your active search periods.
You also want to make sure your position is easy to find
online. Various key search terms for the same position can help. For example, if you are looking for
janitorial staff, you may want to include janitor,
cleaning, custodial, housekeeping, maids, and facility services in your key search terms.
Use the Right Job
Boards – Recognize that hourly,
unskilled employees do not frequent LinkedIn, Monster.com or Indeed.com, so
posting on those platforms is a waste of time and money when you are trying to
reach this group. That said, Craigslist.org
can be a powerful, cost-effective tool in some geographic areas. Local penny-saver circulars and the local
classified ads (online and print versions) can also be effective. And when you advertise a position that you
feel has attractive pay and benefits for an entry-level worker, don’t hold back
– promote these and other attributes as strongly as you can.
Consider Deploying Social
Media in Your Recruiting – Using your social media presence can be
extraordinarily effective in finding talent.
Some of our clients are using social media almost exclusively to find
their hires. The best platforms for this
are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – or WhatsApp if you are looking for Spanish-speaking
workers. Be sure to post your position
on those platforms and include the link to your job application. On Facebook, you can even create a career tab
for your company. The key to making
these platforms effective is to have your employees comment, share and like the
posting so that it appears at the top of their feed, thereby using their
network to promote your job to their peers and contacts.
Employee Referrals –
Word of mouth can be enormously effective in building a workforce and your
current employees can be your best ambassadors to the talent pool. But experience tells us that you need to
sweeten the deal for them. Successful
programs we have seen look something like this: $50 if the referred candidate
lasts one month without attendance or disciplinary problems, an additional $100
after three months and an additional $150 after six months, for a total of $300
per employee. Typically, if a new
employee lasts six months without attendance or disciplinary issues, she’s
likely to be an excellent employee going forward, making the $300 investment
Make Use of Local Job
Fairs – If your positions have some technical components, attending a job
fair at a local community college can be effective. Offering apprenticeships,
sign-on bonuses and solid training programs can make your offer more
attractive. And be sure to bring some
printouts of the open position so attendees can share with their friends, and
have a couple of tablets or laptops on hand so that anyone can apply on the
Don’t Forget Low-Tech
Solutions – If you have a company with high turnover of hourly workers,
recruiting is likely an ongoing concern.
That means that you should always be on the lookout for potential
talent, whether that’s at the grocery store, the car wash or the local pizza
joint. Consider making business cards
for all of your employees that have the employee’s contact information and a
link on the card to the company’s job board. Encourage your employees to give
the cards to friends, family and anyone they meet who would make a good
addition to the team.
If you are fortunate enough to have a curbside presence such
as a car wash or restaurant, prominent signage and promo displays are always
effective. Who doesn’t love to watch
that skinny balloon guy flop about in the breeze? Likewise, large hot-air balloons and flashy spinning
sandwich boards can make promoting your position easier.
– I know, I know. If you are struggling
to find entry-level employees, why would you put in place a test that could
have the potential to further reduce the pool of qualified candidates? The answer is that while administering
behavioral tests may reduce the potential talent pool a bit, the talent that
you do find is likely to be more motivated, productive and less likely to
quit. That’s why as recruiters we insist
on behavioral testing when filling positions.
Clearly, there’s no magic bullet to hiring and keeping your
hourly employees. But if you can
identify where they are – online, or within the community – and you leverage
the power of your existing workforce to promote your position, chances are your
funnel of viable candidates will remain full.
By Claudia St. John, President – Affinity HR Group Inc.