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The HR Manager: Creative Hiring

The challenge of an unprecedented job market call for new ways of finding employees

By Karen Hawkins

Diverse Business People on a Meeting

The hiring landscape for the last 18 months has been like no other most of us have ever witnessed. Due to a myriad of reasons, employers are not able to have a full staff on hand in many cases. As recruiters and hiring managers, we must become creative to attract and retain the best and brightest talent out there. Check out some ideas below to increase the success of your hiring campaign.

Sign-on bonuses
These should be substantial enough to attract someone’s eye and resume. A suggestion here is to “gross-up” the bonus. In other words, the company can offer to pay the employee’s income taxes on the bonus in order to put the full dollar amount listed in the new employee’s pocket. For example, a bonus of $250 minus taxes may be roughly $165 net or less. If the company pays the employee’s taxes, the new employee would deposit $250, making it much more attractive.

Employee referrals
This is a tried-and-true way to get some good employees. Who better to use than your internal soldiers and cheerleaders who know your business best? Many of my clients offer referral bonuses if an employee is hired and remains with the company for a period of time. As mentioned above, these types of bonuses would be best given “grossed up” as well.

Give a stipend for an employee’s cell phone usage
Many employees these days use their own personal cell phones to receive business emails, texts, phone calls, etc. The cost per month would be minimal ($40-50) and provides a nice perk.

Yard Signs
Be creative with eye-catching signs and be sure to use large enough letters for drivers-by to be able to read. This may seem like an old-school approach but sometimes we have to get back to basics in advertising. There are thousands of employed or employable people driving around every day. There is a reason that real estate agents still use yard signs. They work! (Of course, be sure to ask permission from landowners before placing any signs.)

Job fairs
Everyone has heard of job fairs, but the key here is to make them accessible—maybe even conduct them on the weekends, from early morning until late in the evening. Call them something else to entice jobseekers and set your company apart. I recruit for tour guide type of positions on occasion. Some time ago, we called the job fair a “casting call” since we were seeking employees with theater-type backgrounds. It was a great success! The point here is to be creative, stretch, stand out and do something different. Grill hot dogs, give out company merchandise, do whatever it takes to bring people in.

Coordinate efforts with other employers and/or educational institutions
Nearly every employer is having difficulty recruiting during the pandemic. Join forces and collaborate—discuss what’s working for others, benchmark the right things to do. Colleges have onsite employer gatherings for prospective graduates. And don’t forget high schools! They often welcome employers to visit classes or set up in the hallway during certain events during the school year to discuss job opportunities that can include co-op arrangements. This is an untapped area for sure.

Social Media
This is not a new idea but how you present your openings may be new to you. Video ads are becoming more popular. Prospective employees can see what your workplace looks like inside. It puts a personal touch to the search and gives a person the opportunity to hear your voice, see your smile, etc.

Seek employees in their own habitat
Take business cards with you and hand them to employees who are doing a great job. Maybe they have friends or possibly some personal interest themselves in making a change. Some companies even print “recruitment cards” with QR codes or websites to drive traffic to their online presence.

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