As an industry, we make a lot of excuses as to why it’s difficult to “find good people.” We tend to point the finger at the job force at large or at Uncle Sam. Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?
- Poor attendance at job fairs and career days
- Fewer students in vocational and technical schools
- The labor force isn’t “energized” by our industry – it’s beneath them
- The younger workforce today just won’t – or cannot – handle the manual labor
- Poor leadership in Washington DC and an unstable H-2B program
I didn’t make these up. I pulled these challenges directly from Lawn & Landscape’s 2014 State of the Industry Report. Let’s take a look in the mirror and be brutally honest with ourselves for a moment: It’s difficult to find good people because most of us stink at recruiting. Let’s take some responsibility in this, shall we?
Our websites stink.
Your website is the front door to your company’s virtual home. And in our industry, most are about as welcoming as the dilapidated house at the end of the block.
I’ve said many times that your website should be your number one salesperson. It should also be your number one recruiter. (Notice I didn’t say your only recruiter – but it’s a big one!).
Here are three reasons to invest in your website from a recruiting perspective:
- You know what’s not awesome? Employee productivity tanking because they’re on the phone answering, “Are you guys hiring?” Or, worse yet, dealing with people walking in off the street asking for an application. I’m not being anti-social, but there is a better way. It’s called the Internet. And your website – not your people – should be facilitating this screening process in an automated way.
- Your website can operate 24/7/365 educating visitors and keeping them abreast of current openings and opportunities in real-time.
- Connect with candidates and build trust through transparency. That’s a word more of us need to embrace, especially considering the needs of the millennial generation. Be up front on your website about compensation and benefits. Talk about your people, core values and company vision. Don’t be vague and boring like your competitors.
1st step: Put the basics on your website.
There’s much yet to be said and written about “inbound recruiting” as we call it at Landscape Leadership. Much more than can be laid out in a single article. For that reason I want to start simple and introduce five basic best practices for implementing an inbound recruiting strategy on your company’s website.
No. 1: Create a home for career-specific content on your website
A lot of companies are starting to add a “Careers” page to their websites and you should do the same. And don’t make candidates dig for it – make it easy to find.
At a minimum this page should showcase current openings and tell candidates how to apply. Should they fill out a form, call you directly, email you, stop in? Explain the process.
No. 2: Create secondary content of interest to job candidates
I mentioned the importance of transparency. If a candidate is on your website, they’ll dig deep doing their research and determining whether they want to reach out or not. As an example, the last four job candidates I’ve interviewed for Landscape Leadership visited our website five times each and viewed 27 pages on average.
Here are some ideas to appeal to candidates:
- Create a “Team” page featuring your employees. Include images. Candidates want to see who they could potentially be working with. Team pages like this are often the most-viewed pages on a website.
- Create content or a blog specifically for recruiting purposes where you share company information and insight. At Landscape Leadership we have a separate “Culture Blog” for this.
- Share your core values. Every candidate I talk to mentions how he or she appreciates the way we present our core values on our website for all to see. You can do the same.
Give your candidates a chance to get to know you. Otherwise, like a terrible first date, you’ll never get a second chance.
For part two of this article, check out next month’s Hire Power.
The author is a former landscape contractor and the founder of Landscape Leadership, a digital marketing agency for green industry companies.
Hire Power is a monthly column designed to help you recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your company. We’ve got a rotating panel of columnists ready to give you practical, tactical advice on solving your labor problems. Email Chuck Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org with topic ideas.