Having Trouble Finding Employees?

How to successfully recruit during low unemployment times

Can’t find employees? You are not alone. Unemployment is at two-decade low. Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell again in September 2018 to 2.8 percent, down from 3.3 percent a year ago. This means finding and retaining good people can be an obstacle to growth, or even maintaining operations. When small and midsize companies have to compete against big corporations for employees, lack of recruitment resources and fewer incentives are major barriers.

If your company is facing an employment challenge, it is time to get creative. There are also some pretty simple methods that many employers overlook. Here are the basics for good recruitment:

1. Use your website as a recruitment tool
You can do ongoing recruitment on your own website without diminishing focus on your customers. Create a Careers page with a tab on the main menu. In addition, put a short blurb with a link on the home page, at the end of “Who we are” text, something like this:

+ Join Our Dedicated Team (include an employee group photo or use a stock footage photo and link Current Openings to the Careers page)
“As the largest manufacturer of XYZ products in Anytown, MN, we rely on our diverse and talented team to provide outstanding service to our clients. We love to talk to people working in the industry that may be looking to join us. Check out our Current Openings for more info.”

Also, include the Careers link in the footer of your website.

On your Careers page, include a positive, upbeat introductory paragraph about the company, including information pertinent to employment, such as “We operate three shifts for a 24 hour- 7 day a week operation.” Remember, this is a competition for human resources. You want to paint a positive picture of the company so the prospective employee can visualize himself or herself working there.

If the positions you are hiring for frequently become vacant, state “we have an ongoing need for” Include information such as if there are part-time and full-time opportunities and whether benefits are available to attract a wider pool.

Include a job description for open positions, and take the job descriptions down when they are filled.

Have your webmaster add a form so candidates can upload a resume and cover letter right on your website. If you are self-managing your website, there are apps that you can plug in to serve this function.

2. Use job sites and social media
As a former employment coach, companies still ask me for advice. Recently, one company said they were not getting a good response from their help wanted ad on Craigslist like they had in the past. It is fine and free to post on Craigslist, but it should not be your only tool. The higher level of skilled labor you need, the less effective Craigslist will be, so it is often not my first choice for recruitment. Here are my recommendations in priority order.

Indeed.com
Set up a free account through Indeed.com at www.indeed.com/hire. While larger companies may want to do ongoing paid recruitment on Indeed, there are ways to use the platform that are appropriate for smaller businesses:

+ Post Jobs
Create a free account and you can post jobs for at no cost. Job posts appear in general search results and allow you to accept mobile applications. You can manage candidates’ applications from your Indeed account.

+ Sponsor Jobs
By paying for a sponsorship, your job ad will appear at the top of search results. You pay only when an applicant clicks on your jobs, and the cost is reasonable.

+ Review Resumes
You can review resumes of job seekers for a fee. But you can also search for candidates using keywords (such as the job title you are recruiting for). Indeed shows a brief outline summary of the person’s resume, and whether they have updated it recently. You may recognize names of job seekers and contact them outside of the site. If there are many interesting and current resumes, you can pay $30 to access resumes on Indeed for a month.

Facebook Job Post
This relatively new feature of Facebook can reach a potentially huge audience. It is still underutilized, so your post will stand out.

Here’s how to post a job on Facebook and attract quality applications:

+ Access the Jobs on Facebook feature
To access this feature, log in to your Facebook business page and navigate to the content badges just below the text area where you “write something” to create a new post.

Click the “Publish a job post” option.

+ Add details about the job opening
Once you click “Publish a job post,” you will be presented with a menu that allows you to customize your job posting. Add relevant details about the opening

Tip:
 Ask custom questions to learn more about why the applicant thinks they are a good candidate for your company in the “Additional Questions” text box.

+ Review and publish your job post
Review your job details and click the “Publish Job Post” button on the bottom right of the window. You will get a notification informing you that your job post is under review. It should be posted live on Facebook within 24 hours if approved.

+ Boost your post
This is a paid ad that will put the post in front of many more people. It is pay per click. Set a budget of $20 and an audience of your local region, or the whole state if that is where you want to recruit from.

+ Add more posts
This is a paid ad that will put the post in front of many more people. It is pay per click. Set a budget of $20 and an audience of your local region, or the whole state if that is where you want to recruit from.

+ Include a photo for each post
Posts with photos get more clicks.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn also has a paid recruitment tool that you can learn about here.

LinkedIn Jobs, however, may not be the best option if you are looking to hire locally, as the service does not allow you to filter for local candidates. Instead, do this to connect with local candidates already working in the industry here:

+ Update your LinkedIn Business Page.
+ Create a post about the job opening.
+ Search for and connect with people on LinkedIn in Minnesota that have credentials you are looking for using the job title in the search, then send them a message. Here is how to do that:

1. Click in the search bar (top left) and select “People”.
2. Below the search bar you will see People, Connections, Locations, Current Companies, All Filters. Choose All Filters.
3. Under “Connections” choose 3rd+.
4. Under Locations, type Minnesota.
5. Under Industry, enter your business type or choose from the list.
6. Click “Search” in the upper right corner.
7. You can view profiles of people you already have a first or second-level connection to and email them right away if they have a personal email listed under contact info. You can see limited profile info and ask to connect with third level and above connections.
8. Send them In-Mail (LinkedIn message) or a direct email (if you can access their contact info) about the job opening. Even if they are not looking, they may know someone who is.

Craigslist
As with many forum type sites, Craigslist offers no formatting for job ads, so you have to get a bit creative in the layout. It does matter that your ad looks professional.

The layout of the ad needs to have a list so it is more readable, but since you cannot use bullets, make sure to enter an extra line space after the opening paragraph, then make a list like this, using dashes:

+ “–Job requirement one description”
+ “–Job requirement two description”

Specialty Job Boards
Many industries have job boards aimed at specific candidate pools, such as environmental jobs, agricultural careers or manufacturing positions. Don’t overlook these focused, and often free, resources.

There are other job boards you can try, but the above sites have proven to be the most effective for small to mid-size companies.

3. Create an effective job post
Here are the basic elements to a good post for job sites.

+ You want to portray the company in the best light and convey it is a great place to work in your opening sentence.
+ Keep the tone positive. You can clearly state info such as working weekends in a factual way, not as if it has been a problem in the past. Avoid negative phrasing such as “so yes, weekends will be required.”
+ Include a complete job description.
+ Include complete compensation information. It is an employee’s market, and candidates will be comparison shopping. An example would be: Hourly wage plus tips and overtime over 40 hours. Full medical benefits after 30 days of full-time employment.
+ Include any physical requirements for the position, but do not include any wording that may be considered discriminatory (on any of your materials). It is illegal to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
+ You can state a preference to hiring local candidates, and whether relocation costs will be paid.
+ Always include a nice photo with your ad. This can be a group photo from a company picnic, an image of the workplace, or a smiling worker on the job.

One thing companies should avoid is lowering their sights—at least at the recruitment stage. Weakening some things, such as desired credentials and college requirements, can backfire, according to industry giant ZipRecruiter. While a company may end up hiring someone with lower credentials, weakening the requirements in a job announcement may signal to some that they are overqualified and prevent them from applying. Always aim to attract the best.

4. Tell people you are hiring
The CEO or department manager should be actively recruiting as they make connections in the community. This can be at a seminar, non-client business meeting, business club such as Rotary or the Chamber of Commerce.

5. Consider international candidates
Though certain government restrictions have made it more difficult, under certain visa types you may still be able to hire qualified foreign workers for up to six years. You can go through a broker to hire workers, or hire an attorney that specializes in H1a and H2 visas. While there is time and cost to set up a program, if you need to hire a large pool of candidates, it becomes very affordable.

Just as hard as you work to earn new business, you need to put effort into finding quality candidates in a low unemployment market.

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