Recession-proof industries need employees: 11 strategies to recruit quality staff

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Unemployment is at an all time high, but many industries are still scrambling to find quality employees. Healthcare, technology, trade contractors, medical equipment companies, and others are all looking for help. And while there are candidates out there, the best ones are in demand.

So where do you find the quality people to do the job? The search and recruiting techniques depend on what level you are attempting to fill. Many entry-level jobs are recruited through newspaper ads and other want ads. Middle management is often "home grown" by developing people within the organization and promoting them. Top executives are usually recruited through search firms or executive networking.

Regardless of the position you are attempting to fill, here are some ideas that will produce quality candidates:

1. Contract with a placement firm that does all the screen for the new position. There are many firms that do much of the up-front legwork and forward only qualified candidates for interview. While the price may appear costly, it saves precious management time. This is especially helpful for small companies who have only one or two management personal performing multiple tasks. Placement firms often offer a "guarantee." If the new employee does not work out...you don't pay.

2.Pay current staff to refer their friends. Chances are good that your employee who is already doing well in the job will know other people with similar talents. They may have worked with them in another setting or mingle with them socially. An added bonus: if they already like each other, you eliminate the "learning curve" and time of having employees get to know each other to establish a working relationship.

3. Pay higher wages. No, I don't mean break the bank. A little money will do. It is amazing that a dollar or two will often be the deciding factor for job seekers when considering multiple offers. This is especially true in entry-level positions where wages are more the driving force than benefits or retirement planning. By paying slightly more than the competition, you will attract higher caliber employees, have shorter training time and less turnover.

4. Advertise in industry/trade journals. It is likely that your competitors have these journals available in the break room, on the bulletin board or as a pass-around. Good employees keep tabs on what is going on in their industry and may contact you for additional information. This provides direct access for an employee already familiar with your industry.

5. Create a brochure specifically for staff. A simple folded pamphlet that can be given to job applicants will enhance the perception of your organization. Include the benefits, both tangible and intangible, of employment at your firm. Outline any special events, or unique opportunities of working at the company. Highlight existing staff in people-friendly pictures. Your employees will love the recognition.

6. Distribute the brochure at conferences and trade shows. Have a company booth at high visibility conferences or share booth space with another vendor. Leave the brochure on tables in the lobby and where participants have their coffee breaks or meals. This leads to positive PR and buzz about your organization. Even folks not looking for a job may consider a change if the "grass looks greener." Attendees may also forward the brochure to a friend or relative who is looking for a position.

7. Provide additional benefits. Consider offering additional (but inexpensive) benefits to sweeten the deal. Some ideas: adjust the summer hours for longer workdays Monday through Thursday so employees can have Friday afternoons off. Allow one employee per month an extra afternoon off based on productivity. Make it a policy that staff does not have to work on their birthdays. Arrange for travel or vacation opportunities at a discount through the company.

8. Emphasize flexibility. Many workers are drawn to jobs that allow some flexibility to schedule appointments during the day, catch a soccer game for the kids or just take a mental health day. Let recruits know that family time is a priority and management understands the multiple demands that most workers have. Relatively inexpensive, it provides big bonuses for recruitment and retention. Make it clear you evaluate performance on results...not counting the minutes.

9. Advertise online. Post positions online at local job search services. Update the information frequently and present some of the value added items of working at your organization. Testimonials for current employers enhance the credibility of the company culture. Many firms leave some openings online at all times just in case it produces a quality applicant that they want to pursue.

10. Provide valuable training for their resume. Make it clear that you are interested in employee development and their long-term career. It is relatively easy to offer additional training for staff at very little expense. There are numerous training programs available through seminar companies and continuing education departments of local universities. For smaller companies, it may make sense to collaborate with other groups to arrange speakers for on-site education.

11. Partner with a local day-care to offer subsidized childcare or special access. Many day-cares will offer special arrangements to companies that will guarantee a number of customers. Adjust work hours to make sure that quality daycare is available. Staff will often make employment choices based on the ease of coordinating care for children.

Barbara Bartlein is The People Pro. For more management and leadership tips, please visit: The People Pro

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