Where to Find the Employees You Need

By Ben Northcutt, CNGA Staff

Finding and retaining good employees has never been more challenging. In today’s labor market, more attention and effort on creative recruitment and retention strategies are essential. It’s no longer easy to find employees with a single job post on a single job board. Knowing which outlets prospective employees use for their job searches requires a variety of job posting efforts to identify where your best leads come from. And beyond that, there are still other options which you might want to consider.

This article taps into CNGA’s labor resource guide Creative Staffing Ideas for a Changing Labor Market, a publication available to members for free and referenced at the end of this article.

Your Online Presence

The reach of today’s internet has never been greater and has become highly segmented in the world of job posts. From your website to your social media platforms, there are many opportunities to get your hiring message out there. But since there are so many outlets, you need to make sure your hiring pitch is consistent, accurate and up to date on all platforms. Never underestimate the importance of keeping this information current and engaging. Your company’s online and social media platforms are often the first-place potential employees will look to see if you are hiring and what kind of company values you have.

When reviewing your online/social media presence, consider the following. Does your website have a clear and obvious way to locate your employment page? If not, take the time to create one. Describe all job opportunities clearly and make this information available in the languages for the communities you draw on for labor. Downloadable applications and the ability to apply directly online are equally important, again in all relevant languages.

Also, describe your company and why it is a great place to work:  Do you have ice cream Fridays? Celebrate birthdays? Provide a flexible work schedule? Or provide transportation? If so, mention them. These subtle details send a message of appreciation and inclusion to your potential employees and can separate you from competing companies.

Job Posting Sites

Next to your company’s website, social media and other digital platforms, online job boards offer a popular place to post jobs and find employees. From industry specific job boards to more general sites, take advantage of them. Most charge a fee to post a job, so be selective in the sites you start with. Note: CNGA members can post Help Wanted ads for free on the Classifieds web page. Depending on your results you may want to expand or revise the number of sites you post on.

Make sure your job descriptions are thorough, explain the position well, identify the hourly wage/salary and benefits and provide instructions on how to apply, remembering to be consistent across platforms. In addition to describing the position, provide a good overview of your company and the benefits of working there. Is there a defined culture? If so, describe that. Are there special perks available to all employees? Describe those. Provide compelling reasons why someone would want to work for your company. For a list of industry specific job boards, click here.

Physical Locations

Despite the many online outlets for posting jobs, sometimes the standard bulletin board post in a grocery store or “Help Wanted” sign on your company’s front door can be surprisingly effective.

When posting at physical locations, consider the type of employee you’re looking for when choosing a location. Placing an announcement for seasonal/unskilled workers may be more appropriate for a bulletin board post than one for an upper management position. At a minimum these postings should be bilingual and reflective of the community and culture you want to attract.

Possible locations include your company’s front window/door/employee room bulletin board, grocery stores, recreation centers, apartment/condo complexes, libraries, churches, laundromats. Also ask your current employees where they shop and for the community gathering places they may frequent.

Community Fairs and Festivals

It seems that you can find a local/neighborhood festival or fair taking place almost every week from late spring to early fall. While the timing may not coincide with your hiring schedule, they provide good opportunities for outreach and bringing people on board to be ready for the next available hiring session. Depending on your connection with the event, you may get a free display table, or you may have to pay an exhibitor fee. Use these events to advertise employment opportunities and handout job applications, exposing your company to a large audience and hundreds of potential employees. In addition to handing out bilingual job applications, create a bilingual flyer that highlights why someone would want to join your company. Involve your staff. Have them wear company uniforms and make sure both Spanish and English-speaking staff are at your booth.

Refugee Resettlement

Colorado has a long history of leadership and support for refugee resettlement. Successful integration depends on employment and educational opportunities. Resettlement Agencies (RA) are available to set up housing for the refugees prior to arrival, meet them at the airport and transport them to their new home. Additionally, the RA connects the refugees with English as a second language (ESL) classes, employment and general case management. Each RA is staffed with Career Counselors and Job Developers. The Career Counselor’s role is to work with the client on soft skills, job preparation, and expose clients to the types of available jobs. A Job Developer works primarily with the employer to identify the type of people and skills they are looking for, and links the client to the employer. The Job Developer assists the client with job applications, new hire paperwork, drug tests and determining transportation options. The RA will guide the employer with cultural and/or religious considerations as well. When reaching out to a Resettlement Agency, ask to speak with a Job Developer.

Spanish Language Radio Advertising & Newspaper Ads

Radio advertising targets specific demographics and market segments. Be sure to hire the right person to translate your ad and the right person to speak. Print ads may seem a bit ‘old school’, but it may be worth the investments to get your company name out in the community. To best determine where and how to get the most benefit from your advertising money, ask your current employees which radio stations and newspapers are their favorites.

Hiring a Veteran

One advantage of hiring a veteran is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). It is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups, including veterans, who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The WOTC tax credit is a one-time tax credit for each new hire – and there is no limit to the number of new hires who can qualify an employer for a tax credit. WOTC can reduce employer federal tax liability by as much as $2,400 to $9,600 per new hire.

If you would like help finding veterans, contact your local workforce center and see if there is a Local Veterans Employment Representative who can help your business connect with qualified veterans.

Previously Incarcerated

Former prisoners face substantial barriers trying to find work. Stigma and bias are attached to criminal records. Many employers may not understand the laws related to hiring people with criminal records.

There are numerous groups who help the previously incarcerated find employment. These groups are experienced at matching employers and the previously incarcerated and should be trusted advisors when looking at previously incarcerated candidates.

Employers are advised to use a job application form in addition to resumes. An application ensures uniformity and that all necessary information is collected. It may help employers avoid requesting and receiving impermissible information. It also provides employers with a place for applicants to sign certain necessary statements.

Include a statement on your application form saying criminal records do not automatically disqualify an applicant. You may require a release for a background check in the application process. Have each applicant sign a consent form, including a check for criminal records, past employment and education.

People in the process of transitioning from incarceration to independent living are an often-untapped labor force. Most counties in Colorado offer some type of a work release program. Similarly, community correctional centers and halfway houses offer job services for residents.

For more specifics and details about any of the above categories for finding employees, please consult CNGA’s free labor resource guide Creative Staffing Ideas for a Changing Labor Market. It is available for download on the Member Resources page (log in required) on CNGA’s website or you can request a copy by contacting CNGA.