Recruit Relentlessly

Trying out new strategies, and spending the right amount of time on recruiting, can help you attract quality labor.
By Kim Lux at Lawn & Landscape

The labor struggles plaguing the green industry aren’t anything new. But with a little innovation and a persistent attitude, one can make their company stand out and recruit high-quality individuals.

“People are our most important resource — it’s become so trite, but you can’t grow your business if you don’t have the right people working for you,” said David Heimer, senior vice president and co-founder of Service Nation, an organization of contractors in the HVAC, remodeling, electrical and related industries.

Heimer highlighted several recruiting solutions during his “Relentless Recruiting” session at ServiceTitan’s Pantheon event.

Despite all the outside factors that businesses can blame a lack of qualified labor on, Heimer said at the end of the day, it’s on the business to seek out its own success.

“I don’t think it’s about the economy, the government, COVID, lazy workers — frankly it’s all about you. And that’s good news. It’s under your control,” he said. In fact, Heimer said business owners should be spending about 30% of their time on recruiting.

Heimer gave countless examples of strategies companies can take to recruit. Here are a few unique approaches:

• Diversify your search: Heimer said make sure you’re looking beyond the industry norm when trying to fill roles within the company. “We all have a natural tendency to want to hire in our own image,” he said. “When you do that, you’re narrowing the scope of what you’re looking for. Stop doing that. Look for everybody.” Heimer added women often get overlooked, especially in the trades, and that companies should aim to hire more women. “Why overlook 51% of the population?” he said.

• Offer relocation support (and other perks): It doesn’t matter if your business is in a bustling city or out in a rural smalltown Heimer said someone’s looking to move there. And if a company offers relocation reimbursement, then they have even more applicants available to them. “Think about casting your net a lot further,” he said. Heimer adds that benefits such as subsidized transit passes and gym memberships can help set a company apart. But things like competitive pay and plenty of family leave are still paramount.

• Have a dynamic online presence: Making sure your website and social media presence is engaging is critical for marketing, but equally so for recruiting. “Recruiting should be prominent on your website,” Heimer said. “Put it out there front and center.” He suggests using videos or other multimedia elements to make it eye-catching. “Make it fun,” Heimer suggested. For social media, Heimer says just posting static graphics advertising employment opportunities isn’t enough. “Do more than just run ads on your Facebook page,” he said. “Show them what a wonderful place you are to work. Show you giving back to your community and employees having fun together.”

• Take recruiting on the road: Everyone knows one of your best advertisements for new business is your fleet — so Heimer says make it recruit for you, too. “Your vehicle should recruit for you. If you’re driving around in a bad, beat up van then pretty it up,” Heimer says. He also suggests adding QR codes that mentions hiring is also a unique, interactive element to add to trucks.

• Get back to school: Heimer said one of the best places to recruit new talent is at colleges. “Recruit at colleges,” he said. “The great thing about colleges is they’ll help you. They’ll promote your businesses for you.” Heimer added that attending college career fairs regularly is a good idea. “You can find anything you’re looking for there,” he said. “Go to these events and be well prepared.”

• Ask customers for help: Heimer said that well-managed, professional businesses should have no problems asking customers to recommend new hires. He suggested leaving postcards that customers can send in. “Tell them about the people you want to hire and who you want working for you,” Heimer said. “It’s a two in one. It’s a hiring piece and a marketing piece.”

• Be the best: Everyone wants to be the best and work for the best. It’s that simple according to Heimer. He recommends taking full advantage of local, state and national Best Place to Work contests. This is something he said is underutilized and few people apply for. “Most people don’t bother to enter these, but you absolutely should,” Heimer said. “Once you win, advertise that all over the place.”