Blue collar recruitment
While I do not have ample experience in hiring blue collar skills (low- to medium-skilled labour), some things about it must be clear. For example, it is obvious that assuming they are abundant in numbers (they usually are), then following the 2-step recruitment process, they are not as hard to reach as they are to process. What I mean is that due to the number of applications,
Reach, though, is not always very easy, especially if the skill is common, but excellence is rare. Or at least reach is hard if the right attitude is more important that the physical skill itself, or if channels of communication are not well known. But more challenging is the process – how do you manage a huge amount of applications (imagine thousands) that by law you need to regret professionally and in a timely fashion? The sheer volume is a problem purely because without looking at them, you cannot find the right applicants hiding like a needle in a haystack. Some companies even complain about their fax machines running out of paper. While ironically part of that management is using the right reach, there are some tools one can use to make things a lot easier.
Outsourcing the process
One move is to shake off the responsibility and hand over to a service provider of blue collar recruitment expertise. These are common and often hire out the people as contractors. I’m not going to get into discussion around labour brokers, however the risks and benefits with using someone else to supply immediate staff should be clear. This article mainly talks to permanent blue collar skills.
One such service is giraffe, which “recruit[s] screened, vetted workers faster and cheaper than any other way“. They use a web application that runs communication only through mobile (SMS), meaning that all workers are reached. Workers fill in a short CV with only their basic skill details (why do companies still need CVs?) and the giraffe algorithm matches them with vacancies, getting the process going. While the website still says they are in beta, the company has organised over 30,000 interviews already and therefore many placements.
Shortening the process
For some, hiring a blue collar worker is not a common necessity, or even if it is, they treat the process like dipping their hands in a hot bucket of water to retrieve a gold ring. As soon as they find someone, they simply cull the process and regret every candidate immediately, washing their hands as fast as possible in cold water again. There are risks to this strategy, such as the person not working out and them having to start looking anew. However, this is often a good tactic, since the HR or recruitment division stays focussed on the task and moves on once completed.
Improving the process
While also a form of shortening, some companies make sure that they simply don’t have to handle the fluff. Another service, called txthire, requires companies to advertise using an SMS shortcode, such as “Send APPLY to 31313“. Job seekers are then run through a few back-and-forth SMS questions, either allowing them on to the next question or regretting them right away. Applicants spend little time and money to find out if they are right or not, and with good qualifying questions, the company receives a fraction of the applications it usually would have, at a far higher quality of applicant.
Using the idea of txthire in a broader sense, one can see that by placing a qualifying barrier to applying makes it much easier for the company to sort out those applications they do not need in the first place.
Hiring blue collar workers is not necessarily extremely difficult, it simply requires a bit of thought around how to get it more effective before one starts. I’ve previously hired for a call centre, where interviewing is a daily occurrence and “employee churn” is a metric that may not dip too low. By streamlining the process to accept only certain applications and only use certain manager’s time when absolutely needed, the hiring was just as successful as before with only half the time used to achieve this. And it really isn’t rocket science – just use the three tips above and apply whatever your company requires to the mix – you should have a recipe for better blue collar hiring!