April 6, 2015

Step One: Find Great People to Hire

By Paul Bieber

It’s easy… place your ad in the local newspaper, and you’ll have 15 candidates in your office by 10 a.m. Monday morning. Oh, wait a minute… that was last year, when our industry wasn’t too busy. Everything has now changed. Here are some plans for the busy season in 2015.

Yes, you have to think about things like: which candidate to hire, drug tests and physicals, starting wages and 90-day reviews. But not one of those things can happen until you have candidates.

In no special order, here are 18 ways to get candidates for employment in your glass company. There are probably 18 more, and please drop me a line with any other programs you have used that worked.

  • Contact the local high school shop teachers for recommendations on graduating seniors who have mechanical abilities. Contact the guidance counselors for people to work in your office.
  • Meet with the placement officers of any technical schools in your area. You may be looking for glass or metal workers, or computer or cad operators.
  • When you are at a job site, watch the other tradespeople and how they work. When you see someone who has spring in his step, give him a business card and say that if he is ever looking for a job, give a call.
  • Probably the overall, number one best way to hire is through personal recommendation. Ask your current employees to bring in anyone they think would be a good match for your company. No one knows this better than your current employees. A current employee will not recommend a weak employee, as that will just increase the workload. Give a $500 bonus for any referred employee who stays past 90 days. This is heck of a lot cheaper than using a head-hunter.
  • One of the greatest sources of knowledge is a retired person from our industry. Maybe someone wants to work 20 hours a week. Their 20 may be more productive than a know-it-all’s 40. In all of your advertising, stress that part-time jobs for very experienced people are part of your program.
  • If you are a union-shop, always contact the union hiring hall. They should provide you with candidates at no cost.
  • Have you come in contact with a great customer service person? Maybe at the local pharmacy, or a mechanic working on your lawn mower, or just about anywhere. Give that person your business card and ask them to stop in to your place and discuss job opportunities. I did this often and picked up a couple of great employees.
  • Look at va.gov, the Veterans Department of the U.S. Government and you will see many leads to job boards. Hiring a vet is just about a rock solid chance to get a great employee.
  • Contact your local churches, asking the religious leader if there is someone who has recently left a job and is looking for a new one. This is a top way to get a good worker.
  • I had a very good relationship with the police precinct covering our plant location. In my years working there, the police brought in a half-dozen people to work with us. These were folks down on their luck and needed a new chance. They never gave us a bad person.
  • In today’s world, you have to do job advertising on the internet. Craigslist is great and easy. Do you have a Facebook page? Use it. Do you have a website? Place a big, banner headline on it that you have job openings. Many of the job boards, such as Monster, can be pricey. Look at your costs here before you hit the send key.
  • And don’t forget traditional advertising. The Sunday paper is till a great place to start a hiring program.
  • Your state department of labor will often have job fairs that don’t cost anything to be in… just some time from you or one of your people. There will be a lot of people who don’t fit your needs, but after all, you are looking for maybe one or a few candidates. They might just be there.
  • Do you know some freelancers who help you, maybe with machinery repair, or marketing or computers? Ask them if they want to come on board with you—get a regular paycheck and benefits! I hired all my computer people this way.
  • Is there a great salesperson calling on you? Ask him or her if they are happy where they work. If they are, can they recommend a friend who would work in sales at your shop?
  • Hire a couple of people for summer interns, very low cost, and at the end of the summer, you may have one or more great people to take on full-time!
  • When you go to the Chamber of Commerce meeting, or the Rotary, or whatever, let the real estate agents know you are looking for workers. They are the first people to know that new folks are moving into the area and may be looking for a job.
  • Do you operate a two-shift company? Go to the hiring managers at other two shift operations, like your local hospital. They will know of the spouse of a current worker who is looking for a job on the opposite shift. I’ve used this with great success.

I will expand more on these ideas in a future blog. The whole point is to ‘think outside of the box’ in order to get new employees.

P.S.  I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the Glass Expo on Long Island on April 23 and 24. Hope to see you there.