(This article first appeared in Hardscape Magazine August 2017)

If you own a contracting company, finding reliable and affordable employees has become the number one challenge to business growth.  There’s significant reasons why it’s a challenge today.  There’s also an emerging technology that makes finding employees much easier than anytime in recent history.  I’d like to introduce you to this process.

Since 1972, our country has had four brief periods where unemployment rates have fallen below 5.0% nationally.  I’ve had the good fortune to be an employer during 3 of these 4 periods.  I’ve taken copious notes along the way about what works during these “low unemployment” markets.  But what every employer needs to understand is that employers (we) have new (and much better) tools available for recruiting today.

As an employer for more than 30 years, I understand how frustrating it can be to find reliable employees.  It’s time consuming work.  Recruiting employees can be very expensive.  Often, employment prospects promise you much more than they can really deliver.  But, these challenges disappear when you combine a series of online and offline techniques to attract, screen, evaluate and hire top talent.  I call this process the Automatic Hiring Machine™.  Here’s the condensed summary:

  1. Avoid the biggest hiring mistake
  2. Create your story
  3. Automate recruiting & screening
  4. Only interview & hire those who are qualified

The biggest hiring mistake employers make is advertising for “experience”.  When you advertise for “experience” you’re asking for problems.  First, you dramatically reduce the number of prospects for your job opening.  Second, you’ll find yourself in a bidding war for talent which instantly raises your costs.  Third, you’ll find employment prospects who have developed bad habits and are unwilling to comply with your policies & procedures.

Instead, you need to realize that YOU and YOUR COMPANY are special. (reference previous article “Are Hardscapers Special”).  You have a unique story.  You and your company have created a place where others love to work.  Your story explains that you’re not begging for “experience”.  You’re looking for people who appreciate work conditions that are friendly, professional and create significant opportunities for those who come onboard.  And you create this 100% true story by simply asking your existing employees one powerful question.  “What do you like most about working here?”

Imagine that you have a roomful of employment prospects.  You’d like to explain to this roomful of prospects what they can expect while working at your company.  And most importantly, why others love to work here.  The words you gather from your existing employees allow you to build your perfect recruiting story.  It’s a story that reveals the little things your company can provide that makes working at your company a great opportunity.

When you think carefully and create YOUR STORY, you’re ready to record this story.  You’ll share your story in audio or video format using today’s technology.  And as you share this story with hundreds or thousands of employment prospects, those few souls seeking such an opportunity will find you.  Automation frees you to spend time with your family at night and allows those seeking jobs to hear (or see) your story at the precise moment they are looking for employment.

Since you have their attention and they have invested some effort in learning about YOUR COMPANY,  you invite well-qualified prospects to follow specific instructions on how to apply.  Regardless if your instructions require the employment prospect to show up at your office at 8 am on Saturday morning for your job fair or make your phone ring at 12 noon on Tuesday, you have complete control over your schedule.  This is dramatically different than “fill out an application” or “send us your resume” or “stop by between 8 -5 M-F”.

Failure to follow very specific instructions during pre-employment is a really good sign that an employment prospect won’t follow instructions after you hire them.  So just ignore any and all applicants who can’t follow pre-employment instructions.  Your screening process is your friend!

Listen, employers like you and I have to learn things that 98.1% of the population never have to learn.  We have to do things that 98.1% of the population never have to do.  Developing an automated recruiting, screening and hiring process is easy with today’s technology.  I think every employer needs to re-think recruiting to gain efficiency and compete with armies of high-paid recruiters on a mission to steal your best employees.

The Automatic Hiring Machine™ has transformed the recruiting process for large contractors & small contractors.  It’s streamlined the hiring process for older, well established companies and young growing companies.  This approach will work for you too.

By Tony Bass, co-author of The E-Myth Landscape Contractor. 

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