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7 Ways to Ramp Up Your Distributorship’s Recruiting Game

7 Ways to Ramp Up Your Distributorship’s Recruiting Game

If your online application is too difficult to wade through, or if you’re not taking advantage of Google My Business™, then you’re missing out on some great new recruits. Here’s how to change that.


You’ve heard the news: unemployment rates are at historic lows, both skilled and semi-skilled workers are getting harder to find, and the “old ways” of finding new recruits aren’t working anymore. “Good talent is scarce; people have choices,” says Ira S. Wolfe, president at Success Performance Solutions and author of Recruiting in the Age of Googlization.

Electrical distributors and manufacturers that need people with technical and/or technology skills are in a particularly tight spot right now, he adds, because most of them are also going up against non-industrial industries in the shrinking labor pool. To position themselves for success, distributors have to think beyond their usual recruiting methods and come up with more creative ways to find, recruit, and retain new candidates.

Here are seven ways to ramp up your recruiting game right now:

  1. Make your online application user-friendly. Bringing your online application system into the 21st Century is the mandatory first step, according to Wolfe. If, for example, your online application isn’t optimized for mobile use—the medium of choice for many job seekers across all generations—then you could be missing out on some good candidates. “If someone can’t even view your company’s website, let alone the application, from his or her mobile device,” says Wolfe, “then your application abandon rate (i.e., the number of people who start and never finish the process) will be huge.” In fact, that rate is as high as 75%-90% for some companies, he points out, which means that up to nine out of 10 potential candidates never even make it to the interviewing stage. “Even if I could give companies a resource where they could go to attract hundreds of new candidates,” says Wolfe, “a lot of those firms would still mess it up because their application processes are so difficult.”
  2. Stake your “Google My Business™” claim. Type your company’s name into Google and take a look at what pops up on the right side of the page. This box is known as a “knowledge graph,” and it usually includes the picture of the company’s facility along with its hours of operation, address, phone number, and website. If your company doesn’t have a knowledge graph, it’s time to claim it and use it as a recruiting tool. “About 70% of small companies haven’t claimed their Google My Businesses, but Google literally created it for them,” says Wolfe. It’s as easy as having an authorized person hit the “claim my business” button that pops up when you Google your company name. Once that’s done, Wolfe says to 1) make sure the information is correct and then 2) use the “Google Post” section to post job profiles, a help-wanted video, or some other type of recruiting tool. “An applicant who is interested in learning more about the company will see these pictures or posts on the bottom of the knowledge graph,” says Wolfe, “which is yet another free resource that, incidentally, also helps companies rank higher on Google.”
  3. Create a career page on your website. This is one inexpensive (or even free) way to attract candidates by listing current job openings, spreading the word about your corporate culture, and posting short videos of employees (talking about what it’s like to work there, for example). Along with a shorter, easier online application, having a dedicated career page lets candidates know that you’re serious about hiring them. “It really doesn’t cost a lot be very elaborate,” says Wolfe, “but it can go a long way in helping you attract new workers.” (Summit Electric Supply, Standard Electric, and Main Electric Supply Co., all have career pages to check out.)
  4. Hold a virtual career fair. In today’s virtual world, there are a lot of opportunities to get face-to-face with job candidates without having to leave your physical location (or, making people leave theirs). Using a video conferencing platform like Zoom, for example, you can hold a virtual career fair. It’s a fairly cheap strategy that appeals to millennial and generation Z candidates who have smartphones in hand and plenty of experience using Facetime and other interactive apps. “You can get multiple people together to talk about the opportunities, your culture, the company, and so forth,” says Wolfe. “Give them an easy way to apply for jobs on the spot.”
  5. Run a hackathon. In the high-tech world, hackathons are events where people come together to solve problems. Participants typically form small groups (usually two to five people), take out their laptops (if the event is technology-themed), and dive into problems. Wolfe says electrical distributors can run their own hackathons by coming up with a problem or task that’s handled on a daily basis at their companies. This helps show candidates what its really like to work for an electrical distributor and gets them interested in potential opportunities. “Pick a problem and then invite people to come up with ways to solve it,” says Wolfe. “To get people interested, give out participation or achievement awards (i.e., Starbucks or Visa gift cards).
  6. Stop weaving stereotypes and gender bias into your ads. This one is more of a warning than a strategy, but Wolfe sees it as mandatory in today’s world, where stereotypes and bias simply aren’t tolerated. It’s an important point to keep in mind in the male-dominated industrial distribution field, where even seemingly-innocuous phrases like “ninjas wanted” or “team sports” can make female candidates think twice before hitting the “submit application” button. “You have to remember that you’re operating in a highly competitive environment, and that any language that comes across as having gender, religious, or racial bias can hurt your chances of finding good candidates,” Wolfe points out. “Sometimes just changing two or three words in a job description can make a difference.”
  7. Don’t be afraid to try the unorthodox. Successful recruiting in today’s labor market takes a little extra oomph. To stand out, distributors can borrow a page from IKEA Australia’s playbook. According to Undercover Recruiter, the company printed career instructions out and placed inside of their flat packs (the flat boxes that hold the company’s ready-to-assemble furniture). “Customers literally delivered the mailer to themselves. They could then also share it with friends and family,” the publication points out. The effort paid off: IKEA got 4,285 new applicants and hired 280 of them. “That was an ingenious idea,” says Wolfe, who tells distributors to use a similar approach with their own packaging, invoices, or “anything else that they send out to customers.”


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Bridget McCrea  is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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