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Finding People When There Are No People

Turn the heat up on your recruitment practices.

hire - installers - empty office
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Why on earth can’t we attract people to work in our companies with still record high unemployment rolls? We’ve been trying to hire installers and sales people for the last three months and the candidate flow has been lackluster. What gives?

Related: Staffing Up!

I started ticking off a mental checklist to rule out easy culprits. We already pay the best wages in our market, so I crossed out comp. Our reputation is solid, with pretty decent Glassdoor reviews and a 4 out of 5 TinyPULSE employee happiness rating, so it wasn’t that. While there may be a bloc of folks staying home because unemployment benefits are still in place from Covid-19, those aren’t long for this world and I can’t imagine that represents the majority of the job-seeking population. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of jobs out there and a labor shortage. Instead of wailing and complaining about it, we’ve decided to flip the script in a couple of ways:

  1. Cash for referrals. That’s right, it’s all about the Benjamins, baby. I posted an offer on LinkedIn last month offering $1000 for any candidate who turns into an employee for at least 90 days.
  2. Turn it into a game. Last week we kicked off the call for entries to compete for a $2000 cash prize and a chance to join Team Livewire July 9-11 at our new training center in Richmond, VA.

You might be thinking, “Clifford, I don’t have $2000 lying around to blow on employee recruitment.” I hear you, but let me throw out a little something here: Let’s say you’re swamped with work (you are) and don’t have enough people to get all the work done (you don’t). Let’s also say you would ultimately onboard and start billing that installer out at a 70 percent utilization (28 hours billable out of 40) weekly after their four-month training period. Depending on your bill rates, the new guy is now bringing in anywhere from $3-5k weekly at a 50-point margin. That means they’ve cash flowed your $2000 in their first billable month of work in the field.

How can you afford to spend $2000 to recruit? How can you afford NOT to?

Also by Henry Clifford: Hire More Now

I wish I could say these new ideas have swamped us with candidates, but they haven’t. It’s a good thing we aren’t looking for swamping; we’re looking for solid values-fit candidates who will want to build a career with us. That’s where cash for referrals and competitions come in handy. We can start to be picky again. Great hires are transformative and bad hires are like a malignant growth. To that end, no matter what, we’ll continue to hire slowly and fire quickly.

What are you doing to flip the script on attracting great people to your company?

Stay frosty, and see you in the field.