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Your business needs good employees. It’s a simple truth. But as simple as it is to state, the reality of trying to find employees is so much more difficult.
Where should you go to look? What tools should you use to spread the word? What should you say and do to make the process easier?
This article will answer those questions and give you the 9 best ways to find employees.
Finding employees often starts, not with a job posting or a help-wanted ad, but with your business’s identity. Your identity is your culture. Your identity is your message. Your identity is the answer to the question, “Why would someone want to be part of my team?”
Maybe your business is “work hard, play hard”. Maybe it’s “refined with a dash of irreverence”. Maybe it’s “classy and upscale”. Maybe it’s all of those things. Only you can say for sure.
So before you hang that sign in the window, take a few minutes and craft your business identity. When you’ve done that, be sure to convey that identity in whatever method you choose to find employees for your business.
That way, those prospective employees will know right away if you’re the kind of business they want to work for.
Facebook is still one of the best ways to find employees for your business.
Facebook has powerful targeting features that let you advertise your job opening(s) to people based on their skills, their location, their age, and countless other variables.got
For example, you can specify the area you want your ad to cover. Let’s say it’s Boston. Then you can specify “waiter” or “waitress” as the job title.
When you create your ad, it will be distributed to everyone in the Boston area who has “waiter” or “waitress” in their job title. And that’s just a very basic example.
There are so many other variables you can include, it makes targeting and finding employees a breeze.
Asking your current employees to spread the word is a quick and easy way to find employees for your business. Yes, you can send out your own ads on Facebook (or anywhere else for that matter) but you can’t reach everyone.
With the help of your current employees, you can widen your reach, not just on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, but through other channels you may not even consider.
It’s as simple as something like, “I work at (insert business name here). We’re looking for a great (insert job here) who wants to work for a (insert some part of your business identity here). If you are that person, or if you know someone who is, please share my contact info.”
You might even consider incentivizing the process by offering a reward to the current employee who brings in a new employee who lasts a set amount of time. It’s a win-win for all involved.
Yes, in an age when pretty much everything is digital, this may seem like an extremely old-school method. And it is. But that’s why it can be an effective way to find employees.
For one thing, it’s pretty much free. All it takes is the cost of the paper, the printing, and the time to post them in your area. For another thing, it’s different than the flood of social media your prospective employees receive on a daily basis.
A sign in a window or a flyer on a bulletin board can stand out amidst the mass of ads and data they’re bombarded with from minute to minute.
Non-profits like the Wounded Warrior Project can be a great resource in your quest to find employees. These organizations serve veterans, immigrants, and other groups who just want to work.
What’s more, these people are often willing to work hard for the chance to get back on their feet.
In addition to their willingness to work, they’ve also likely received some job training from the non-profit so you don’t have to start from scratch.
Background checks are also common practice for non-profit organizations and the people they serve so you know a potential employee has been vetted, if only just at the basic level. That can be one less thing you have to worry about.
Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, explains to FitSmallBusiness.com:
“When I led a large retail sales team on the east coast, my radar was constantly up for great talent…you can teach specifics, but innate empathy and a strong service orientation are hard to fake.”
This method of finding employees for your business involves looking for specific skills or traits wherever you go. When you see what you like, consider giving them your card and asking if they’d be willing to talk about a job with your business.
So, for example, if you’re looking for a waitress with great customer rapport, remember that the latter skill is much more difficult to teach. If you find someone with such a skill—even if they’re working in an entirely different industry—offer to teach them to work in your business.
Regardless of what channel you use to find employees, always be on the lookout for “great” rather than “experienced”. As a business owner, you may be operating with the belief that experience trumps everything.
Unfortunately, this is false. The old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is, on the other hand, often true. So “experienced” may not be the best fit for your business.
Look, instead, for “great” people and give them the experience they need. In most cases, a “great” employee is simply excited, willing to work, and teachable.
Hiring with an eye to those qualities rather than looking for the most experienced, can go a long way toward getting you the best employees for your business.
Job board websites, like signs and flyers, may seem old-fashioned, but they are still the go-to sources for both workers and businesses involved in the food-and-beverage and other service-oriented industries.
Keep in mind that posting an ad on one of these job boards can quickly bring in triple-digit responses in no time…all to your email inbox. You don’t want that traffic clogging things up so set up a separate email account just for this purpose.
Oh, and be sure to leave your phone number out of the posting so your phone isn’t ringing off the hook during business hours.
Having a ‘Careers’ page on your business website is a great way to reach motivated job seekers. David Batchelor, president and co-founder of DialMyCalls.com, elaborates on FitSmallBusiness.com:
“Create a ‘Hiring’ (or ‘Careers’) page on your company’s website in case talented people ever come check you out. Even if you currently don’t need someone in a specific role, it’s a good idea to keep job postings on your site. If someone is that interested to look up your company and find the job posting, you know they are already one step ahead of the game when it comes to being a A-Player.”
Aside from just being a great stand-alone resource on your website, a ‘Careers’ page can be included in all the other ways you choose to find employees. Plus, it can turn up in the search results if someone is actively looking for jobs online.
A ‘Careers’ page on your website is also a great place to elaborate on your business identity in more detail. You can’t (or shouldn’t) include paragraphs upon paragraphs of information in places like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Craigslist.
But one your own website? Write as much as you like. Your ‘Careers’ page is a great place to really tell everyone what you’re about as a business and what you’re looking for in potential employees.
While most of the tips on our list give you resources outside of your business, one of the fundamental ways to find employees is to focus your attention inside your business first.
More specifically, review, revise, and perfect your job descriptions before you start actively searching for new team members.
Not only will this give your prospective hires a more accurate idea of what the job entails, but it will also help you identify your target audience. With that target audience in mind, you can focus your efforts on the methods that reach that audience best.
For more information on crafting the best job descriptions possible, take a few minutes to read these articles from the Sling blog:
Another great way to find employees is to connect with local colleges and universities.
Most of these institutions have career centers with dedicated staff to help their students find jobs after (and sometimes before) graduation.
In many instances, the career center will even have its own job board and email distribution list for promoting employment opportunities that might apply to its alumni.
Getting your job included in this resource is a powerful way to reach a large number of individuals quickly and, often, without cost.
To start, make a list of all the higher educational institutions within 60 minutes of your business. Then, contact the career center of those institutions and find out how you can get your job added to their system.
While you’re there, find out whether they host a career fair and what it takes to attend. Career fairs are the perfect opportunity to meet high-potential employees and conduct impromptu interviews for your business.
Send out an email blast or an SMS sharing your hiring needs and asking your customers if they know of anyone who might want to apply.
A great way to motivate a response to this inquiry is to pair it with a small giveaway of some kind.
For example, all customers who respond with a lead will be entered to win a free product or service from your business. The prize doesn’t have to be anything mind-blowing — it could be a free t-shirt, appetizer, or cup of coffee.
Even something small like that will motivate those on your mailing list to refer qualified candidates.
To reach even more customers (and find more potential employees), you can also ask for referrals from all customers who walk into your business.
Include a referral form (name and phone number/email address is enough) on the bottom of your receipts and have your cashiers mention that all responses will be entered for a chance to win a prize.
Once your referral program gets going, you’ll be surprised how many potential leads you get and what a great way this is to find employees.
If you’re looking for a unique way to find employees, take a page from your nearby college or university playbook.
No, we’re not talking about a football or basketball playbook. We’re talking about the career center we mentioned earlier in this article.
While you might not have as extensive a mailing list as they do, you can certainly organize your own career day.
Give potential candidates the opportunity to visit your business, talk with current team members, experience your company culture, and learn about the careers you have to offer.
Of course, hosting a career day at your establishment might require that you close down for the event.
If you’re loath to do that, consider partnering with other businesses in your area to organize a career fair at another location. That way, you can keep your business open while still drawing in potential employees.
All the ways to find employees we mention on this list are nothing without the ability to recognize potential.
It may take some practice, and you may not always get it right, but identifying potential in prospective employees will go a long way toward helping your hire the right team.
Key aspects of employee potential include:
Once you identify one or more of those traits in an individual, you’ll start to see how (and if) they fit into your existing team, your culture, and your business as a whole.
Keep in mind that you can train existing employees as well as new-hires to improve these key traits. So if an individual exhibits autonomy and persistence but is not as adaptable as they could be, you can make it a goal to strengthen this skill.
For more on identifying high-potential employees and keeping them in your business longer, check out these articles from the Sling blog:
There are so many social media websites that we can’t list them all here.
You probably know (and may already be a frequent contributor to) the big ones such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, Snapchat, and Instagram.
When brainstorming ways to find new team members, why not tap the power and reach of those social media sites by advertising your employment needs. Of course, you can go big and produce an elaborate campaign to find employees for your business.
But some of the best and most effective efforts aren’t anything fancy. Sometimes, all it takes is a brief posting about the positions for which you’re hiring and contact information the interested individuals can use to get in touch.
Some social media platforms will even let you target specific groups (e.g., skills, location, experience, etc.) so you can tailor your employee search to those most suited to your business.
These targeting efforts may cost your business money, but they can pay dividends in the long run when you find the right employee for the job.
The best thing about these methods of finding employees is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one. Try two, three, or all to find out what works best for your business.
Maybe posting flyers didn’t bring in what you wanted but Craigslist gave you three or four great employees.
Next time you’re looking, focus on what works and discard what doesn’t. That really is the best way to find employees for your business.
Organization is key whether you’re trying to find employees or manage the ones you’ve got. And, in many cases, the organization necessary to conduct a new employee search comes down to scheduling.
Don’t wait for a free moment that never comes. Find the right tools and carve time out of your busy day to sit down and focus on perfecting your employee search.
What tool will give you unparalleled control over your schedule and the schedule of your team?
Sling is a suite of tools built on the foundation of helping you simplify and streamline the scheduling process — be it for you or your employees.
With Sling, you can do in minutes what used to take hours.
Sling even includes a powerful artificial-intelligence feature that helps you schedule even faster by providing reminders, suggestions, and solutions to conflicts and problems within your staff rota.
In addition to the industry-leading scheduling tools, Sling also offers a whole host of other features to make your job easier, including:
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Try Sling for free today and find out what your business has been missing and what it won’t be able to do without.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.
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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.