By Tom Crouser
A good advertisement is just one step part of your recruitment campaign. Second part is your response process, especially these days when you are apt to have numerous people apply. Here’s a system that I have often used which should be useful to you.
In the ad, ask them to call a telephone number or go to your website. Most of the standard printing websites we use allows you to accept incoming inquiries on jobs. But just like email broadcasting doesn’t replace direct mail; don’t let your website be the only way a potential employee can contact you.
Consider the many folks who would prefer to call. Okay, dedicate a telephone number to your campaign. This number should NOT be your main shop number. It can be any number with an answering machine. It could even be your home number if you wish.
On the answering machine or on your website which you have directed them to, ask them for their name, address and telephone number and the times they can be reached (evenings or weekends). You may want to repeat some of the benefits of applying. Something like this:
“Hello, you have reached the jobs line of Pretty Fast Printing. We are looking you if you can run our Ryobi two-color in Smithville. We offer $13 an hour, 2 weeks vacation, 7 paid holidays including the day after Thanksgiving, many insurance benefits and a retirement plan. We’ll be glad to send you full particulars of this exciting opportunity if you will leave your name, address and telephone at the sound of the tone. Please also tell us when it is convenient to contact you – nights and weekends are just great with us.”
Then prepare some informational packets along with an application that you can mail to them. The applicant may substitute a resume if they wish (many mechanic skilled folks don’t have resumes even today). And remember, we are trying to get as many applicants as possible, not limit them.
Once a day, strike while the iron is hot and mail the packet to them.
What’s in the packet? Include an application, a description of the job, description of benefits, working hours and conditions (similar to the ad above). If there are any non-negotiable “deal killers,” such as the person must work Saturdays, then state them as pleasantly as you can.
Now, you get back applications from people who know the parameters of your job and you have done it in a rather expedient fashion.
What if you don’t get a packet back from a good-sounding prospect? You may call them. To do so, be sure to record the basic information from all who call (you also have this information from the website as well).
I have found this process to work well, cut down the amount of time you need to spend in talking to folks who don’t fit and allows you to pick and choose those you wish to process further.
But, don’t rely just on this process (classifieds, website applications and telephone calls) to handle vacancies. This process mainly is used to bring applicants out of the woodwork.
Here are some other ways to really stir up candidates.
Networking: Best source of new workers is the workers you have now. Who do they know? Who have they worked with at another print shop that impressed them? Track these people down, tell them about the job and ask them if they know of anyone who might be interested in this job. Fax them your ad.
References: When you interview those that apply, ask for working references. Those are the names of three other workers who are familiar with their work such as another press operator. Then call these people. “Peter Press Operator has applied for a position at our shop. What can you tell me about his work habits?” And, you should add, “Do you know of anyone else who might be interested in this job?” Doesn’t hurt to tell them about wages and benefits you offer as well. More than once someone has said, “Heck with them, I’d like to apply.” This brings you to the same position as in the networking scenario above.
Equipment Repair People: Ask them who they could think of that might be interested in changing jobs. They’ll tell you about any “announced” job seekers. If you don’t have much of a rapport with the technician, you’ll never get them to open up. After all, to do so would be to betray a friend’s confidence. If, however, you are a friend of the technician, then they will go further and tell you about folks whom they would try to hire. If you’re not really close to the technician, perhaps one of the other folks working for you could approach them on the team’s behalf. This is pretty effective. Be sure to give them a handful of flyers advertising the job, if they will take them.
Schools: Fax the ad to EVERY vocational-technical school in your part of the state, especially ones training skills you need. Yes, I’ve heard all of the stories about how these schools turn out slovenly workers and how graduates really don’t know how to print. That’s not what you are after. You want to get the word out among a network of people engaged in printing and this is a good place to start. Graduates of these programs that have been in the work force for awhile sometimes keep in contact with the schools. If your offer is attractive enough, you will get some response here. Also your name will get around for further consideration later.
Suppliers: fax to all equipment repair firms, paper companies, printing supply companies and anywhere you think printers would gather. Obviously tell all salespeople who call on you about the job. Paper salespeople, however, generally are not as good of a judge of technical competence as a repairperson.
Well, this isn’t all we do when helping our clients find workers. And this, by itself, may not solve your problem. But it is clear to me that most of the reason we can’t find qualified workers is that we don’t go after them in an aggressive manner and we expect the perfect person to answer a mediocre ad. If you’re not doing what I’ve outlined above, then you haven’t begun to recruit. Remember, finding workers today is as important of a sales job as selling our printing in the first place. Hope this helps.