Hi, it’s Shane again! If you’ve been following the KCYP blog lately, you may have seen that I have written several entries pertaining to KCYP and non-profit involvement. While that is something I’m passionate about, I do actually have a day job and thought I could share some insights that may help business owners or those in positions to hire.
First and foremost, I need to make a disclaimer. All the thoughts and ideas expressed in this blog are from my own experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, nor does this blog post contain any proprietary information.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s jump in.
I’ve been in leadership positions for the better part of the past decade and have had to do my share of hiring in states like California, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, New York, and Georgia. If there’s one thing that I have learned over the years, it’s that not one workforce is the same as another. The strategies used in California may differ from strategies in Georgia, which again are different from those in New York. But let’s talk Idaho.
As many of you are well versed, the job market is challenging in our region. Many businesses are actively hiring and are actively competing with one another to attract the best talent. While it’s easy to point fingers at the “big guys” for snatching up the workforce (don’t @ me) the reality is that the needs and desires of the workforce are changing, and businesses need to keep up with those changes. Now, it’s not my place to discuss my views on this situation here nor is this going to be an op-ed. I simply want to provide you with ideas that may help you attract and retain top talent.
So, what should we consider?
First and foremost, be prepared to make an investment. Even in my line of work, we look to do the most with the least amount of money possible. But this does not mean that we’re able to satisfy a need simply by posting for free on our business’ social media page or hope that someone is truly interested in working for us. We do have the benefit of a reputation and offering stable work as it’s needed, so we have luck with candidates simply knowing that we will have jobs available and will naturally seek out open positions on their own without the help of ads.
But what if you don’t have the reputation of a multi-billion-dollar business?
This is where that investment needs to happen. This is a time, energy, and yes, monetary investment. Before you start writing checks to printing companies or uploading your credit card information to Indeed, do your research. Start with free and work your way up to the most expensive option. Talk to your current employees and learn what makes them tick. What do they love about working for you? What do they see as an area of opportunity? Listen to what they have to say and be ready to act on it.
Understand that there is a difference between making modifications to the workload or adjusting how business is conducted, and simply throwing money at a problem. Often, you’ll find that the most effective changes that have a positive impact on your team are the ones that cost no money at all.
Once you have their buy-in and you feel confident in their satisfaction, use them as a resource to talk about open positions with their friends and family. Word of mouth costs nothing unless you want to offer a referral bonus (more on that later). Then, use your social media platform to share that you have positions open and allow them to work naturally that way. Moving away from that, be ready to invest time into your hiring efforts.
Believe it or not, there are several free resources available for posting your jobs. The Idaho Department of Labor does not charge for posting jobs on their website, or for having flyers put up inside their local office. Additionally, if you build a relationship with them, you’ll find yourself invited to their quarterly job fairs which are free to attend. AND, they have a free-to-use meeting room that is PERFECT for giving presentations about your business to prospective employees. Periodically, other organizations in town will offer job fairs in hotel banquet rooms or other venues, and a nominal charge is applied for attendance. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about spending money on this hiring effort.
Start with a budget. Look at historical spending, research the cost of job boards, and identify what you are comfortable spending. The goal is not to spend thousands of dollars on attracting the masses so much as it is about bringing the right people to your business.
Create attractive ads. If you have a graphic designer, put them to work and let them build out ads that accurately represent your business, or utilize a free service such as Canva to create your message. Keep several variations with different messages in your arsenal. Eventually, your audience will fall deaf to your messaging, so you want to keep it fresh.
Once your graphics are ready, decide where you’re going to post. Services like Google display ads, paid search, and social media allow you to set your own budget based on the length of the campaign you want to run and what you’d like your reach to be. This is a great way to keep your budget in line as you can set your max spend and know that the services will not go over that amount unless you choose to do so.
Do keep in mind that these are typically awareness channels. This means that you are bringing awareness to the fact that your business is hiring so you’ll want to ensure that anyone interested has direct access to your job application or to instructions on how to apply.
Up next, we have job boards. These tend to run on the more expensive side of things, but the algorithms used by sites like Indeed allow for maximum impact and they even provide different options for visibility. With Indeed, you can manage your entire hiring process and only pay for the applications that you’d like to move forward (caveat here is that you have 48 hours to decide before you’re charged). With this service, you do not set a budget of what you’d like to spend so it is important to monitor on a regular basis to ensure you’re not blowing the budget. You can then use the service to communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process.
The last one- and the most expensive option (if you’re a large business with a large budget) is to use a programmatic vendor. These vendors will use their software to cross-post to multiple job sites and will deliver applications to you based on a goal and a target cost per application (CPA). Do note it is not unusual to spend thousands of dollars on a weekly basis to use this service. So be careful if you choose to go this route.
So, to wrap up, there are multiple ways to attract and hire talent for your business. It’s all a matter of what you have access to or bandwidth to do. I know I’ve covered a lot here so feel free to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. I’m happy to answer questions about the hiring process. Good luck!
Shane Solorza has been a KCYP Member since 2019 and has served on the board since Jan 2020. By day, he is a Project Manager for Amazon.com Workforce Staffing supporting Marketing Experiments. Strike up a conversation with him talking about your dogs, his dog Aspen, or your favorite coffee shop!