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Are you struggling to hire enough experienced technicians to keep up with customer demand? You’re not alone. Across the country, home service businesses such as yours are having trouble recruiting qualified, experienced techs. According to Entrepreneur magazine (www.entrepreneur.com/article/339978), the skilled labor shortage will see 2.4 million jobs go unfilled from 2018 to 2028. The economic impact of the skilled labor shortage is projected to reach $2.5 trillion.
But while local and state governments, as well as the business community, strive to encourage young people to pursue careers in the trades, your company needs good hires today. Many home service businesses are responding by simply raising pay and benefits. While this is certainly a good tactic — and attractive to technicians — beware of getting into a bidding war when it comes to hiring. Salaries and benefits should be part of a broader strategy.
Great public relations can make your phone ring, not just with customers, but with experienced, qualified technicians who want to work with you. Here’s how.
Stand out in your market
Start by establishing yourself as the trusted professional in your local market. Showcasing your company’s professionalism doesn’t just attract customers. It makes you more attractive as an employer, too. The skilled labor shortage means that qualified technicians can pick and choose where they want to work. Make sure they choose you.
Appearances in local media outlets such as television, radio and newspapers can boost your credibility with potential employees. Consider offering interviews on a variety of topics, not just plumbing do’s and don’ts, but hiring best practices, too.
For added benefit, get a professional to frame or make a plaque of the stories featuring your business and display them in your reception area. When technicians come to your office for interviews, the articles will show that business is booming. They’ll feel good about the number of work hours they’ll get at your company.
In addition, pursue speaking engagements with local business organizations and civic groups to boost person-to-person networking. Prepare some presentations on the same topics as you would for a news interview. These opportunities will help with word-of-mouth referrals and indicate that you’re a valuable member of the local business community.
Open your doors
Consider hosting events such as open houses and career fairs to let potential new hires check you out. In the current labor market, technicians can afford to be cautious before applying for a new position. Give them plenty of opportunities to check you out, and be sure to put your best foot forward.
Career fairs and open houses let potential new hires see your operation from the inside and meet your team in person without the pressure of a job interview. Make sure to have well-written materials on hand with information about your company, including hiring process info. You can also invite local media to the event and promote it online.
Make your online presence stellar
Another way to bring in the best applicants is to showcase your company culture online through your website and social media. Again, technicians can pick and choose their opportunities these days. The best, most savvy techs are checking you out online long before they fill out an application. They’re looking for a good work environment just as much as they’re looking for a high starting salary.
Fill your social media with smiling photos of your professional team. As a general rule, pictures and videos of people are the most engaging posts for social media. And don’t forget to have some fun! You can be more relaxed on social media, so fun or funny posts will show your company has a great work environment.
Make sure your website shows your company in the best light. When was the last time you updated it? If that question is making you scratch your head, it’s past time to do something about it. Get the latest, mobile-friendly web design, or risk looking like you’re behind the times.
While you’re updating your website, be sure to have an online application process available. Make it easy to find on your site and easy to fill out. If you make the initial application process too frustrating, you’ll end up losing qualified candidates.
Attracting and retaining the best talent is challenging, especially in the current labor market, but using public relations strategies can make it easier. Remember, it’s not just about what you’re offering technicians. It’s about helping them find you and highlighting the reasons they should work with you.
These hiring PR tactics can be employed in-house, but a public relations agency with plenty of experience in the home service industry can take the workload off your team. An agency’s industry expertise and contacts can help you get the results you need, positioning you as the best home service provider and the premier employer in your market.