Exploring new ways to find employees
By Angela Wakefield
Finding good employees can feel like swimming in endless, expensive circles. For maximum return on investment, several approaches are working for pool industry companies that seek to reach a new applicant base.
Mason Guarino, vice president of South Shore Gunite Pools & Spa in North Billerica, Massachusetts, says they have good luck with Facebook ads in particular, because he can directly target the audience. “We regularly recruit from all over the country,” he says. “The owner of the company is on social media heavily, so Facebook and LinkedIn are two places he regularly looks for people involved with our industry.”
Marti Norris, office manager and co-owner of Luke Pools in Cumming, Georgia, found the best candidates come from free resources. “We’re all about looking at things that are free to advertise on, like our Facebook business page, Indeed.com and local county job posting sites,” Norris says. She has even gone so far as to reach out to a high school guidance counselor with job listings. One of her most recent hires was a graduating senior who plans to go to college but needed a good job with flexible hours and a decent wage to help pay for classes.
Both Norris and Guarino advise against expensive advertising sites or recruiting services, saying that the cost can be prohibitive and the return is simply not there for the types of positions they most often need to fill. “We have horrible luck with the bigger job circuit,” Guarino says. “It just doesn’t seem to deliver those really specific, skilled employees who we’re looking for.”
However, if you are willing to spend money to find good employees, Guarino says to consider implementing a referral bonus plan. “We find a lot of people that way,” he says. “We pay a bonus if a current employee recommends someone, we end up hiring them and they stay on for at least three months.”
Rick Woemmel, president of Bi-State Pool & Spa in O’Fallon, Missouri, also likes this approach to searching for new co-workers, as he prefers to call them. “We find most of our co-workers through word of mouth, friends of employees, etc.,” he says. “We do attend technical school open houses and recruit through online resources as well, but we find it most effective to grow employees organically.” Woemmel says networking with current employees and others in the industry is one of the best ways to find quality candidates with good retention.
Norris also has good luck with networking to find new employees. “We’re always talking to other people in the industry who demonstrate the type of growth we’d like to achieve and implementing the same types of methods,” she says.
While networking has amazing benefits to offer, there is one thing to be leery of when looking for new candidates to employ. Woemmel would caution others about poaching employees from a nearby pool company. “This practice fosters bad feelings between companies,” he says. “We have certainly found some great staff who had been laid off or fired from other companies, but never have we recruited from another company [directly].”
When using out-of-the-box hiring methods, some may worry that the candidates might not be as reliable and that retention might be lower, but that does not seem to be the case. According to Guarino, about 60 percent of new hires stay on longer than a year. “It’s almost half and half [with retention and who leaves], no matter how you find them,” he says.