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I go to a lot of recruiting conferences each year, and I've noticed recently that I can find a large number of sessions at those conferences on how to recruit technical and IT talent, nurses, and other white-collar professionals. But what I never find is a session on how to recruit the hourly worker. Remember Joe the plumber? Yeah, that guy!
Hourly workers are increasingly becoming some of the most difficult hires we make in our organizations. Does this sound familiar? "Oh, anyone can do that, Tim! Just put up a job posting and schedule some interviews. The ones that actually show up get the job."
Unfortunately, you would be shocked at how many organizations still believe this is how you hire your hourly staff. Frequently, very little attention and resources go into these hires, and yet they can make up a majority of your workforce. Take a look at your recruiting budget right now. What percentage of your budget goes to hourly hiring versus professional hiring, and how many hires is that for each?
What I see in my business is that most organizations spend anywhere from four to five times as much on professional hiring as they do on hourly hiring, and I've seen that run as high as 10 to 20 times more! There's no doubt that professional hiring is more expensive, but should it be five to ten times per hire more?
Organizations need to understand this difference in cost-per-hire between hourly and professional positions. In many cases, great talent acquisition leaders can find extra money in the professional hiring budget to incorporate some new techniques and tools to better hire hourly employees.
Advice from a Pro
Robin Schooling, vice president of HR for Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La., does a lot of hourly hiring. The casino business is booming, and it utilizes hourly workers across a number of industries: retail, service, dining, security, maintenance, building services, hospitality and hotels. Schooling needs a robust hourly recruiting strategy to fill all of her company's needs.
Here are some methods Schooling uses to meet the hourly hiring needs at Hollywood Casino:
And here are some ways I've had success in recruiting hourly employees:
One tip that rings loud and true in hourly hiring is that you don't have to give up on vintage methods of recruiting. Most recruiting advice over the last 10 years has centered around social media and expensive technology, which is all great stuff, but maybe not the most useful when hiring workers who make $10 to $18 per hour.
Hourly recruiting is much like the positions you are hiring for: It's hands-on; it's difficult; it's sometimes dirty, grinding work; and in most organizations, leadership even devalues those recruiters who take on the task of filling these kinds of roles, as compared to their professional recruiting counterparts.
What we know—those of us who get it—is that hourly recruiting has as much, or an even greater, impact on the success of our organizations as any of our professional hires. Hourly recruiting isn't the same as professional recruiting, and you should have a very different recruiting strategy for each type of hiring.
Yes, we are in a digital world. That doesn't mean we should throw out all of our analog recruiting techniques. Take all of the best new-school recruiting advice and mix in your best old-school tips and tricks to create a strategy that is completely you!
Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, is president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and IT staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich., and writer of
The Tim Sackett Project blog.
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