It’s 2018. Do you know where your qualified job applicants are? The answer is simple. Online.
Social media is becoming an indispensable tool for companies in all industries to reach prospective job applicants. This is critical for home service businesses as recruiting skilled employees has grown into a challenge for all businesses in the industry.
Between the lengthy licensing requirements in some states and recent generations of young people being pushed away from the trades in favor of pursuing college degrees, most companies struggle to recruit. Finding skilled technicians and service experts grows more difficult every day.
By the numbers
The labor squeeze is being felt everywhere. As of August 2017, 70 percent of companies reported having trouble recruiting for hourly craft labor positions, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)( http://bit.ly/2vGW0sg). This number jumped by 10 percent from the year before.
There is hope. Most businesses throughout the U.S. are turning to social media to find job applicants. In fact, about 84 percent of organizations are using social media to recruit employees, according to a 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Your own competitors are probably doing the same. Don’t lose out because you’re not.
Where to look for job seekers
Many companies focus their social media efforts on reaching so-called “passive” job candidates, those people who already have a job but could be tempted to take a better opportunity. The question is how to reach them and where to find them.
Social media platforms are now where Americans can most easily be reached. Facebook reports that it had 1.37 billion daily active users on average for September 2017. About 79 percent of online Americans use the platform, according to the Pew Research Center. Twitter had about 330 million monthly users as of late 2017. LinkedIn, a business-focused social media network, reported about 500 million users last year.
Have a social media presence? Use it.
Have you already set up a Facebook page for your business? Do you have a Twitter account? If you do, don’t ignore them. Neglecting social media accounts for weeks or months does nothing to reach new customers or job applicants.
There are several steps that businesses can take on social media and on their own websites and blogs to help reach the largest number of job seekers:
• Let employees create social connections. Facebook is continually changing the algorithm it uses that dictates what content shows up in the news feeds of its users. By encouraging your employees to share the news and career opportunities you posted to social media to their personal profiles, it increases the number of people than can be reached.
• Use social media best practices. Make use of popular hashtags and keywords to maximize your social media reach. Learn the best times to post. Avoid dishonest tactics such as clickbait headlines or trying to buy likes to grow your presence. It will backfire and cost your business visibility on social media platforms and the web.
• Show off your good news. Bad news may sell newspapers, but good news sells your company. Using your social media presence to showcase positive media coverage and spread word about your company’s achievements will boost your reputation. It will give potential job seekers the impression that your business would be great to be associated with.
• Use videos. Online videos attract attention. You can use them to give potential applicants a look at the image your technicians present. Are they professional? Are they experts at what they do? Videos can also showcase your business as a fun place to work.
• Share your company culture. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun or use social media posts to share the accomplishments of your employees. You can use social media to show that your home service business is a great place for techs with good opportunities and a great work environment.
• Make your website mobile friendly. Make sure your website, including any job postings, is mobile friendly. Smartphones have become the way that the majority of internet users access social media. It not only helps visitors to your website, but it contributes to your visibility. Facebook penalizes posts that link to content that loads slowly on mobile devices.
• Make sure that your website career page is accurate. If your social media posts link to the career page on your website, make sure it’s useful for applicants. Provide accurate and detailed job descriptions. This will also help with search engine optimization to ensure your company’s job listings show up high in search rankings.
• Publish testimonials and reviews on social media. Social media is a two-way street. Not only can you use it to learn about potential applicants, but they can research your business as well. If your company’s online reputation isn’t good, potential employees will find out. By promoting positive testimonials and reviews on social media, you can build your business image and give job seekers a good impression.
• Nicholson Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, based in Holliston, Massachusetts, promotes good reviews on its Facebook page on a weekly basis.
• Gold Star Service, located in Hicksville, New York, regularly posts job openings on its Facebook page.
• Roanoke, Virginia-based Southern Trust Home Services promoted television coverage of a charitable act on Facebook.
Promoting your company’s culture and social responsibility
Generations change. What a baby boomer considers a good job might not appeal to a member of Generation X. And, the same goes for millennials, who as a group are very concerned about quality of life issues. Younger workers are keenly interested in how businesses treat their employees and customers, and job applicants are no longer solely looking for the biggest paycheck.
In addition to seeking a good salary and work environment, workers in 2018 want to know that that potential employers are doing good in their communities. In an article about recruiting millennials published on Forbes (http://bit.ly/2mz1rrn), Jimmy Rohampton writes that the good name of your business matters more than ever:
“More than previous generations, millennials do not want to be associated with businesses that have practices that they find to be morally questionable. They also don’t want to be associated with brands that don’t offer up great products and amazing customer service. Because of this, you can expect that they will research your business just as intently as you might research their backgrounds.”
Social responsibility matters to younger workers. Use social media to post about your charitable giving or talk about the good deeds of your employees or the business. A good reputation will help attract more job applicants.
If you need help
Like any other business function, using social media to recruit skilled workers for your home service business takes time and attention. Do you or any of your staff members have adequate time to consistently promote career opportunities on social media?
Partnering with a home service public relations agency can be a cost-effective way to pursue a social media recruitment strategy. A team of PR experts can relieve you of the administrative burden of creating and publishing the necessary content and monitoring reviews to protect the reputation of your business.
In the end, social media recruitment is a tool that you can use to benefit your business, or you can let your competitors have that advantage. For the foreseeable future, recruiting skilled workers will remain a challenge for home service businesses. Do you have the tools to succeed?