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8 Ways to Fill Your Employee Pipeline for 2016

By Bridget McCrea

The labor pool is shrinking, projects are coming out of mothballs, and business volume is picking up. Here are 8 ways to make sure your distributorship has the manpower to handle business in the year ahead.

Today’s labor-related headlines are enough to scare the pants off any distributorship that’s currently in hiring mode:  The 78 million baby boomers are heading into retirement in droves; the millennials are looking for “meaningful” positions where they can add value and leverage their vast technology skills; and skilled, experienced workers that really know their stuff are getting harder and harder to find.

According to ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey, 32 percent of U.S. employers are having a hard time filling job vacancies due to talent shortages. Forty-three percent say those shortages are having a negative impact on their ability to meet client needs, with the consequences including reduced competitiveness and productivity, increased employee turnover, higher compensation costs, and reduced employee engagement and morale.

When ManpowerGroup asked these companies why they are struggling to fill certain jobs, employers cite a lack of applicants (33 percent), lack of experience (19 percent), and lack of technical competencies or hard skills (17 percent) as the key culprits. Overcoming these challenges isn’t always easy in an industry where knowledge is often passed on from one generation to the next, and where most distributors are still in the early stages of figuring out how to integrate technology into their operations.

“As the labor market shifts away from the baby boomers and over to the millennials and Generation Z, companies really need to be able to ‘speak the language’ of their preferred candidates,” says Steven Rothberg, College Recruiter’s president and founder. “Unfortunately, a lot of companies overlook this fact and just continue to use what they feel are tried-and-true recruiting methods.”

If your employee pipeline is drying up and you have open positions that need to be filled in 2016, here are 8 strategies that you can start using today to improve your results:

  1. Google yourself. That’s right – go ahead and key your company’s name into the Google search bar and see what pops up (use “quotation marks” around the name and include your city and state for more refined results). If you don’t like what you see, chances are good that job prospects won’t like it either. Before embarking on a full-blown employee search, consider a web upgrade or overhaul that best positions your company for hiring success. “It’s no secret that active job seekers are using Google to learn about the companies that they’re applying to,” says Rothberg.
  2. Test out the popular job search boards. The same candidates that are reviewing potential employers on Google are also looking up information about their target occupations, job titles, and locations (city, state, metro area, etc.). If your company doesn’t pop up on the first page during these types of searches, then good candidates won’t even know about your openings. “If you’re on page 17 of a Google search, no one is going to find you,” says Rothberg. To help capture your fair share of active candidates and ensure top billing on the search engines, consider using a job search board like Indeed, SimplyHired, or Monster to target candidates within your geographic area or in a particular occupational field. These companies funnel big bucks into SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) advertising, both of which translate into better placement on Google.
  3. Form partnerships with area schools and colleges. In Glassdoor’s 5 Tips for Filling Hard-to-Fill Positions, the job search site notes that “the more you can do with interns and recent grads, the better.” A few good moves include implementing job shadowing programs for high school students, creating internship programs for high school and college students, participating in college recruiting, and hiring entry-level grads for as many positions as possible.
  4. Get them in the door with an open house. There’s nothing like a lively pizza-and-beer party to help get job candidates in the door, touring your facility, and mingling with your existing workforce. Advertise your open house on your website, on social media, and via local media outlets. “Get your executives and at least some of your existing employees to attend the event,” Rothberg says. “When a candidate can come in and spend a few hours with your team in a casual setting, he or she will know pretty quickly whether the workplace will be a good fit…or not.”
  5. Borrow from the professional recruiter’s playbook. According to U.S. News & World Report, 78 percent of recruiters found the best job candidates through referrals in 2015, up from 60 percent the previous year. In Here’s How Recruiters Really Fill Jobs, the author says companies frequently rely on employee referrals and offer incentives to fill open positions. She tells job seekers to “Reach out to people who work inside companies you would like to work for and ask about opportunities. Don’t hesitate to jump into social networking sites and enter into conversations with people who work at companies you are interested in. Finally, decrease the amount of time you spend trolling job boards, as they are a lower priority for recruiters.”
  6. Look at Facebook as the “New Classifieds.” Companies that traditionally found new hires via local classified ads need to shift those efforts over to Facebook, which recruiter Marissa Klein calls the “new classifieds.” By setting up a business Facebook page and populating it not only with basic company information, but also with regular updates, you can give your distributorship a 21st Century “facelift” at no charge and in exchange for very little effort. “When you wrap up a successful job or hold a holiday brunch, post it on Facebook with photos,” says Klein, head of New York-based recruiting firm, Choice Fashion & Media. She sees this simple step as a great way for veteran executives and workers to connect with prospective millennial employees. “The old way is the job fair and the new way is social media,” says Klein.
  7. Give your company a great image. “Every organization has an employer brand, which is how your employees and candidates perceive your organization as a workplace,” according to BountyJobs’ 5 recruiting trends that will gain more traction in 2016.  Your “employment brand” can determine how well you attract and hire top-tier talent, or it can deter candidates from considering your opportunity or accepting your offer. “As the talent shortage extends into 2016, more organizations will monitor, steer and promote their employer brand to make sure it reflects the image they want to portray to candidates.”
  8. Embrace the mobile movement. If you’re the type who thinks a mobile phone should be used only for personal interactions, client emergencies, and travel purposes, listen up! A growing number of job candidates are applying and communicating via mobile phone. This trend will continue over the next two years, according to a recent Glassdoor survey. In 2015, for example, 44 percent of hiring decision makers received zero job applications via mobile devices, even though 16 percent of job candidates apply via mobile device. Over the next two years, hiring decision makers expect an average of 26 percent of job applicants will come through mobile devices. “As the economy has improved there has been a shift of power from employer to job seeker…” said Steve Roop, general manager of Glassdoor for Employers, in a company press release. “The old methods of recruitment and job search just aren’t working well enough. Potential candidates are researching opportunities through new, interactive channels, and hiring decision-makers are planning to invest more in these channels to attract more qualified candidates.”

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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