In a labor market where employees are hard to come by, recruiting becomes essential. It is no longer possible to just post a help wanted to sign and expect the unemployed or underemployed to line up at your door especially if your business is computer-related or service-related. Many service managers say that they are now in the position of constantly recruiting, even when they don’t have an immediate opening.
The first step to effective recruiting is to fully understand the type of employees you need and what skills and knowledge your employees need to succeed at your business. Skills are those abilities needed to perform the job while knowledge is what the employee needs to know to perform the job.
The second step is to identify potential employees who have the necessary skills and knowledge. It is important at this point that you think beyond the traditional employee groups from which you have always hired. Yes, graduate students and workers with experience in your industry is one place to draw from. But with an ever-shrinking market and with an increasingly competitive economic environment, you need to draw people in from outside your traditional pools.
Consider some of the following categories:
- Former employees
- Family members of present employees
- Legal immigrants
- Military personnel and their dependents
- Older workers
- People with mental or physical disabilities
- Ethnic minorities
- People looking for a new career
- People new to the community
- People looking for part-time or telecommuting work
- People currently on welfare or assistance
Now you have to determine how you will reach the people in these groups and let them know about opportunities at your business. Don’t ignore traditional methods such as job postings or classified advertising, but be prepared to expand beyond this especially if you are trying to reach groups of people who have NOT been reached through your traditional recruiting techniques.
Here are some creative ways you could notify people about your employment opportunities:
- Sponsor work-study programs.
- Invite students at local high schools or colleges to spend a day at your business shadowing an employee.
- Provide mentored internship opportunities.
- Post notices at churches in your targeted communities.
- Meet representatives from minority agencies within the community.
- Post notices at youth centers.
- Advertise on bulletin boards, at the supermarket, library, health club, Laundromat, child care center, family restaurants, etc.
- Place fliers on car windshields in parking lots.
- Speak at English as a Second Language¨ classes.
- Distribute leaflets at immigrant settlement centers.
- Have an older worker whom you employ speak at a senior citizens center.
- Distribute fliers at senior citizen housing complexes and meeting locations
- Publicize in your employee publications or on employee bulletin boards information encouraging present employees to recommend family members for employment.
- Offer a cash award for employees recommending a family member who is eventually hired and remains on the job for a specified time.
- Visit schools that train people with disabilities.
- Become acquainted with directors of local agencies offering services to people with disabilities.
- Speak at adult evening education classes.
- Go to businesses that are closing and tell employees there about your employment opportunities.
- Post on electronic bulletin boards where there seem to be a high concentration of employees with the skills you are seeking.
As the job market continues to shrink, you may find that you need to be creative to reach even your traditional pool of employees.
Managers in the service industry have shared some of the following creative strategies:
- Turn your best employees into headhunters for your business. When there is an opening, ask your high-quality performers to refer people they know who would make good job candidates.
- Look for good service no matter where you are. If you receive good service from a grocery store clerk, bank teller, restaurant, dry cleaning attendant, write them a thank you note that concludes with a comment that you could use someone with the commitment to service that they demonstrated and call you if they are interested in talking about job opportunities.
- Look among your customers. If you have a satisfied customer, find a non-obtrusive way (such as a card or sign in your business) telling them that you¡¦d like to talk to them about job opportunities.
- Set up an employee hotline and keep it updated. When prospective job seekers call the hotline, they get a recorded message giving them a list of job openings and a brief description of each.
- Sponsor a recruitment day each year and advertise it on a local billboard several weeks ahead of time.
- Hold career fairs¡Xnot just at colleges but at high schools with career programs as well.
- Partner with welfare-to-work programs that will train and mentor people whom you can employ.