January 7, 2008

Non-Traditional Ways to Attract Employee Aplicants

By Paul Bieber

So, you hang a sign out the front door, put an ad in the local paper, and the same job applicants keep on showing up. Read on, and you’ll learn some unique ways to bring job applicants to your glass shop.

Sure, hang out the sign, and even spend a few bucks on the newspaper. Unless you are spending big bucks for the larger ads in the newspaper, you will not stand out. So, place a display ad in the home improvement section of the paper, where you normally sell mirrors or store fronts. Your ad will say…normally in this space we advertise to sell products…but we are so busy because of the good work that we do, we are hiring special people to help us…if you are special…come on down… Or something to this effect. You are spending the money for the ad, all you are doing is changing the copy, and yet this will still say to your customers you are a busy shop because you do good work!

If you hang a sign outside your shop, invest $50 bucks, rent a chicken suit, and hire a kid to stand at a local intersection and hand out flyers describing your help wanted needs. You will get noticed, and people will laugh with you. If you hand out flyers in regular clothing, you won’t get attention. Instead of handing out flyers, hand out one-page employment applications with this headline: If you need a job, read on. If not, give this flyer to your best friend who is looking for a job.

When the kid is out there with the chicken suit, call the newspaper and the local TV station, tell them there is a guy with a chicken suit, and a photographer will appear, and you get publicity about hiring, which will bring in applicants!

Call your past customers, checking in if they need further work done, if they do…that’s a home run. If not, and they were happy with your work, ask them if they would recommend a friend to work with you…since you did such a good job, they will be proud to recommend your firm to someone who is looking for a good job!

Hiring has to be spontaneous to some degree. We are all consumers, going into many types of stores. Any time you say, “I wish my employees were as good as the person who took care of me”, go back to that person and tell them what you thought of them, and since they have the right attitude, ask them about their friends, who will usually have the same attitude. Are their friends looking for work? The hardest thing to teach is attitude…we can teach the glass business, teach how to price a piece of mirror…but if you come across someone with a positive smile, offer them a job, and definitely ask about their friends. Be sure to hand out a lot of business cards!

Never be too busy to quickly interview a potential employee. Prepare your own three minute interview. If the person is good, ask them to come back tomorrow when you have more time. What is a three minute interview? Ask them why they like working…if they don’t know, or say, they have to pay the bills, say goodbye. You want the person who says they like to build something, or they like working with customers, or the like whatever it is your are hiring for.

The only other question I ask in a short interview is: What job benefit is most important to you? Vacation…show them the door. Smoking break? Again, show them the door. Just about anything else passes this short test.

Call the leaders at each local church, temple or mosque in your neighborhood. A leader there will often know of someone who is down on their luck and looking for a career change.

Unfortunately, I had few good results from state sponsored employment job banks. Nonetheless, list your job and make sure that anyone referred to you is well prescreened by the job bank to meet your job needs.

If you are looking for second shift work, go to every hospital in your area. Hospitals draw a lot of workers who need shift work to match a spouse’s work pattern. Day shift workers will be glad to find a reliable place to recommend for spouses second shift work.

One of the best things you can do is ask current employees to recommend someone, and give a bonus of $500 if the recommended person stays for six months. $500 is cheap to hire a good person.

People who presently are working have a hard time coming in, if your ad says apply in person. So, have a walk-in time at the end of the day, or on a Sunday afternoon, when people don’t have to lie to leave a current job. Yes, give up a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, and you will hire better people–many people won’t lie to take time of for an interview, and those are the ones you want. If your ad says to call, make sure you take the calls…don’t take numbers and call back. You have just a few minutes to get a feel for them on the phone, and then invite them in for an interview.

Sometimes the applicant wants to know everything up front, on the phone, before talking about themselves…if the job pays enough…or some such…if the conversation is not 50/50, don’t offer the interview. If they have to know the salary, present a realistic range, telling them the final figure is based on a discussion at the interview.

If you have an automated attendant type of phone answering, put a number in to hear about current job opportunities. People are curious and will press to hear this. If you don’t have any opportunities at this time, be sure to leave a message saying to check back in the future.

One thing that usually burns you is to ask a salesperson in the trade who calls on you, if they know of anybody looking for work. If they do recommend someone, that person is beholden to them, and may influence future work. If they recommend a person who is not presently working, that’s OK. But, never use a trade contact to take a person who is presently working for a competitor. Also, it will empower the salesperson to take someone from you, just to even the deck. If an insurance salesperson walks in, it is fine to ask them for a referred employee…just keep away from the glass trade.

Do you have any other tips…go the the USGlass News Forum and write a post…we’ll be glad you did!