Where to Find Employees For Your Small Business
Business is booming, and your company is ready to grow. But when you’re looking for employees to hire, you don’t get any applications—or worse, you hire someone who no-shows on their first day.
Whether you’re hiring your first employee or you’ve been doing it for years, it can be frustrating trying to find the team you need to grow your business.
The struggle is real, and you aren’t alone. The home service industry has been in a labor shortage for some time, with 77% of tradespeople saying it’s been getting worse this year.
The best way to tackle this problem is to position a job posting the right way, share it in the right places, and follow hiring best practices. Here’s how to do it.
Where to find employees for your business:
What kind of job posting attracts employees?
Before you do anything else, ask yourself, “What kind of person would do well in this job?” Do you want a hard worker who follows directions well? A leader who knows how to delegate?
Decide who you’re looking for, then write your job description with them in mind. Market to applicants the same way you would market to potential clients. You can even hire a freelance copywriter to make the ad more appealing.
Then show the finished job posting to your current employees. If they’d apply for it, based only on the way it’s written, you’re ready to share it with applicants.
When your job posting is ready, you can share it with potential applicants. But where do you find them? And what’s the best way to share your posting?
First, think about where your ideal employee might be spending time, whether they’re looking for a job or not—for example, on social media or at the grocery store. Then make an effort to reach them in those places.
Try sharing your job posting on these platforms to find the employees you need:
1. Company website
If you’re sharing your job posting on other platforms, some of them need a web page where they can send interested applicants. A Careers page on your business website will meet that need.
This page should describe what it’s like to work at your company, list any open positions, and offer a way to apply. Here are a couple of ways to collect job applications:
- Provide a web form where applicants can add their contact details and resume. This format requires everyone to enter the same information, so applications will consistently include everything you need.
- Share a dedicated email address so applicants can quickly send you their resume. Use a separate email address just for hiring so your inbox doesn’t get flooded—for example, [email protected].
Pro Tip: Whether it’s only on your website or shared on other online platforms, your job description can show up in Google Searches if it’s formatted the right way. It’ll take time to set up, but your effort will make it easier for potential applicants to find you.
2. Job boards
Job boards are websites where employers can share job postings and job hunters can apply for them. Some sites are free, while others need you to subscribe or pay a fee per posting.
These are some of the top job boards for home service businesses:
- Indeed: Indeed is one of the most-used job boards, partly because it’s free to use. Just upload your job posting, and when applicants apply through the site itself, you’ll receive the applications in your email inbox.
- Craigslist/Kijiji/Oodle: Craigslist is a big favorite with home service professionals, and you can’t go wrong with other online marketplaces like Oodle and Kijiji. If you don’t have a website, you can use your marketplace listing URL on other platforms that require a web page link. The cost for these marketplaces depends on your area.
- Monster: Monster is another popular site for business owners and job searchers. Plus, it offers career advice and salary tools, which are useful for both sides of the interview table. Monster operates on a monthly subscription model, so you’ll need to pay to play.
- Glassdoor: Glassdoor also offers job postings, salary information, and career advice, as well as employee reviews that give applicants an inside look at your workplace before they apply. You can get started for free or upgrade to a paid plan for extra features. And if you do, encourage your current employees to leave their own reviews!
- ZipRecruiter: Like Glassdoor and Monster, ZipRecruiter offers tools for people on the hunt for a new job. It also sends regular emails with job recommendations based on the user’s personal profile, so your job posting will appear in front of qualified users. It’s free to get started, but you can choose to upgrade later for more features.
- Facebook Groups: If your city has a Facebook group for jobs (or even just topics that your ideal employees are interested in), you can share your job posting for free. There might be restrictions around what you can post, so check the group’s rules before you click “Post.”
Because many of these platforms offer tools for job seekers, they see a lot of applicant traffic. Sharing your job posting on more than one platform will help more people see it.
If you’re on a tight budget, think about starting with free platforms, or adding only one paid option to the mix.
Pro Tip: Set up automatic text messaging to follow up on submitted applications. Thank them for applying and tell them when to expect a follow-up phone call for an interview. This can boost your phone pick-up rate.
3. Social media
Do you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms? Use them to tell your followers that you’re hiring, and include a link to the job posting on your website.
You should also use hashtags that are relevant to your industry and to the job. This will help you find people who might not be following you (yet!) and could be interested in a similar role.
Pro Tip: You can also create a job post that lets job hunters apply through your Facebook business page. You can then manage applications and contact applicants through Facebook Messenger.
4. Flyers and signs
The classic “Help Wanted” sign is a great first step in telling the world that you’re looking to hire. You can build on that by sending out hiring flyers and placing branded signs in your area.
If you have extra budget to work with, you could even consider renting out ad space on a bus bench or billboard to get your hiring message out there.
FREE TOOL: Make free flyers using our Tearaway tool
Usually, the hard workers you want to hire already have jobs. When you’re at another business, like a big box store or chain restaurant, keep an eye out for people doing good work.
Then give them your business card and ask them to contact you if they’re ever looking to make a change. This shows you’ve noticed their effort—and would keep noticing it if they worked for you.
6. Client and employee referrals
When it comes to hiring, your employees can be your number-one advocates. So it’s a good idea to set up an employee referral program to reward team members who refer candidates!
Just like your employees know who can do a job properly, your clients know who they’d like to have working in their home. You can ask them to recommend applicants, then send a thank-you note after a successful hire.
7. Past applicants
Maybe you had a job applicant in the past who had potential but wasn’t a top candidate at the time. Or maybe they just didn’t have the right skills for the role you were looking to fill.
Whatever the reason, you can go through past applications and see if there’s anyone you’d like to hire. They might have more experience now or be a better fit for the position you’re hiring for.
It’s important to note that your country might have restrictions around storing personal data, so make sure you’re compliant with local legislation if you’re keeping past applications on file.
8. Former employees
When someone leaves your business, whether it’s one-sided or mutual, it’s a good idea to have an exit interview. This tells you what kind of experience employees have at your company.
If you lost a good employee you wanted to keep, you might be able to hire them back if you can resolve the reason why they left. And even if not, their insights can still be valuable!
9. Friends and family
Hiring friends and family members can be stressful for some business owners, but it doesn’t have to be! It can work if both sides act professionally and if you set clear work/life boundaries.
If the person is someone you’d hire even if you didn’t already know them, go ahead and do it. Just set expectations for the role, communicate clearly, and treat them like you would any other employee.
Want to learn more about how to navigate working with family? Listen to the Masters of Home Service podcast on navigating conflict and boundaries at work.
10. Job fairs
Go to job fairs and career days for local schools and trade programs. Set up a booth with branded signs, print business cards, and bring applications for attendees to fill out on the spot.
You can also prepare pre-screening questions to ask during your conversations with attendees. This helps you weed out people you wouldn’t want to hire—or move others into the next stage of the hiring process.
11. Professional recruitment
Have a little extra budget but not enough time? Share your job posting with a recruiter, and they’ll use their networks to find job candidates. Their fee can vary depending on the position’s wages.
12. Talent pipeline
A talent pipeline is a list of qualified candidates that you can draw from in the future when you’re hiring for a specific role. You can open this pipeline by stating on your Careers page that you’re always hiring.
This will allow job searchers to send their resumes even if there isn’t an open job listing, add them to your pipeline, and open the door for a future conversation about a job.
Best practices for finding home service employees
Your hiring process should grow as your business does. When you’re hiring, follow these best practices to make sure you’re learning and improving as you go:
- Brand your business. Employees are more likely to apply if a company looks like it’ll still be operating in a few years. To start building a brand, get a logo and apply it to your website, vehicles, uniforms, and anything else your employees (and clients!) will see.
- Screen applications. Even if you only get a few applications to start, go through them carefully and screen them well. It’s better to hire one employee you can retain than to invest time and effort hiring three employees who don’t work out.
- Focus on values, not experience. You can teach someone to do your job, but you can’t teach them to be a hard worker. Choose your candidates based on who they are as a person—they’ll get the necessary experience while they’re on the job.
- Communicate with applicants. For an applicant, the hiring process can be their first interaction with your business, so make sure the experience is positive. Make it easy for them to apply, and contact them regularly so they know where they are in the process.
- Track your efforts. Take note of where you’re getting both the highest quantity of leads and the best quality (that is, applications that turn into hires). Focus your efforts on these areas, but don’t be afraid to try new channels as you learn about them!
- Fill roles internally. Depending on the role, you may already have the right person for the job on staff. Say you need a foreman, and one team member shows leadership skills. You can promote this motivated and engaged employee if they’re open to it.
- Make time for hiring. It takes time to hire the right person for the job. It’s not something you can squeeze in between client visits—at least, not if you want to do it right. It’s your job to help your business grow and succeed, and hiring is a big part of that.
During the hiring process, you might be feeling the growing pains that come with scaling your business. But remember, this is only temporary, and knowing where to hire employees will help.
Take the hiring process one step at a time and focus on keeping your day-to-day operations efficient. That’ll help you stay on track as you take your team—and your business—to the next level.