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Tony Bass
Tony Bass
By Tony Bass

Finding reliable and affordable employees has become the number 1 challenge to business growth. Since 1972, our country has had 4 brief periods where unemployment rates have fallen below 5% 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 an overview:

Avoid the biggest hiring mistake
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 and procedures.

Create your story
Instead, you need to realize that both you and your company are special. (See my Oct/Nov 2016 editorial 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 make working at your company a great opportunity.

Automate recruiting & screening
Once you’ve created your story, it’s time to record it in audio or video format and share it online 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.

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

Tony Bass is co-author of The E-Myth Landscape Contractor. Watch a video or listen to a podcast about the Automatic Hiring Machine at SuperLawnToolKit.com/AutoHire.