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    Now hiring, except you aren’t

    This topic will not go away any time soon, and this week, we want to share some thoughts on what you, as a business owner or operator, should do if you’re struggling like the rest of your contemporaries to hire employees. First the numbers: There are now 10.9 million open jobs in the United States. There are 8.4 million people technically listed as unemployed. Not good odds from the start.

    Here’s what you need to know about the available employees who are NOT applying for jobs right now. First, they saved a lot of money staying at home and not working or going anywhere. They didn’t pay for gas to and from work. They didn’t eat out at lunch. They didn’t go to happy hour after work. And that’s not even the biggest perk.

    Those who worked at home, and would normally be candidates for a new job, have even more money – because they have been working multiple jobs. Half of the respondents to a survey in the Wall Street Journal said they worked full-time for two different companies. They doubled their earnings. Those people certainly don’t want to go back to the normal 9-to-5.

    So here are five things for you to consider as you desperately try to find employees.


    Don’t veer too far off course

    A lot of businesses are panicking right now. They’re advertising in places that have never produced results, and they’re hoping something different happens. Right now, the most important thing you can do is MARKET YOUR BRAND. Use consistent marketing efforts (not one-off job listings) to let potential employees know you’re a good business with a stable future. Tell them you’ve been around longer. Tell them the employees you have love where they work. Just resist the urge to splash your marketing dollars in places where you’re competing against 5,000 other open jobs.


    Be creative where you market your jobs

    Again, going to places like Indeed or ZipRecruiter may be the cheapest option, but those are usually the results you’ll get too. Consider putting your ads in places where you can be consistent and where you can stand out. Have you considered doing a bulk mail piece in the area around your business? Newspapers still work. Making sure you are using your own social media accounts is a good option. You have to do more than post a free ad on a website and put a “Now Hiring” sign on your front door.


    Change the parameters for candidates

    In the past, every business owner had the “perfect” candidate. We have vetted their resumes based on specific experience, education levels or community accomplishments. Of course you don’t want employees who can simply “fog a window,” but you may be surprised if you consider talent that has a different skill set than what’s normal for your company.


    Are you offering current employees bonuses?

    The best recruiters you have are the people who like working for you already. The first thing we all must do is make sure they’re taken care of, that they are fairly compensated, and that they like coming to work. But you also may find that offering a current employee $500 to find a new employee will work as well as any marketing campaign. And you don’t pay unless you find a new employee.


    Email your customers

    Any good business today has an email list of its current and former customers. Have you emailed them and asked for their help? While most businesses are fighting the same battle, you never know what you’ll hear back. And in terms of cost-effective marketing, sending out an email or two and telling your current customers that you’re looking for help could lead to surprise results.

    What’s most important to know about hiring right now is that there are no short solutions. The 8 million people unemployed are not rushing back to the work force. It’s going to be a trickle, most likely through the end of the year. So as you continue pushing to find more help, don’t do things that have never worked in the past. Be unique in your advertising. Be in places that help you build a brand. And whatever you do, take care of the people who work for you now.



    Jonathan McElvy is president and CEO of McElvy Partners, a company that owns media operations in Texas and North Carolina. His company publishes The Greensheet, which reaches more than 1.5 million readers each month.

    1 thought on “Now hiring, except you aren’t”

    1. All great comments Jonathan! We took a vacation in Northern Minnesota this year – the sheer volume of Help Wanted signs on the storefronts was amazing! Small to medium businesses have been struck down with labor intensive work hours for the owners. Thanks for the input of solutions!

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