Skilled Trades Recruiting: A Research-based Approach

There’s a reason that advertisements for trucks feature construction workers rather than people in suits talking about KPIs.

You wouldn’t get your VP of finance (sorry Karen!) to sell your product on TV, so why would you try to hire an electrician the same way you’d hire an exec?

At Fitzii, we tailor the entire recruitment process to the industry and the target candidates. Everybody is looking for something different, and we’ve found success by creating unique hiring strategies for every kind of job.

After deeply researching all the ins and outs of what tradespeople are looking for—and what they definitely aren’t looking for—we’ve developed an airtight approach that eliminates the guesswork.

Here’s some tips for attracting the right tradespeople for your business.

 

#1 Know your ideal candidate’s priorities

Most tradespeople are looking for good pay and benefits, job security, and opportunities for advancement.

Recognition is another key element that tradespeople crave. No one likes working for a company where no one knows their name, and no one cares about all their hard work.

If you’re a small business and the boss knows everyone who works there, let your candidates know. If you’re a larger business, mention your employee recognition programs that reward people who stand out from the crowd.

If you can convince candidates that their work will be seen and appreciated, you’ll stand out to tradespeople.

 

#2 Be up front about the work

Every trade and every job is different. Some require overtime, others don’t. Some involve travel and shift work, others are 9 to 5.

You might not have much control over the logistics of the job, but you can make sure that your candidates know what to expect.

If you’re detailed and specific about the job—everything from tools and tasks to travel time and work conditions—you’ll attract the right candidates for you. Not everyone wants to work outside 10 hours a day, 6 days a week all summer, but anyone who does will be a great fit for your business.

After all, making a great hire isn’t just about finding someone with the right skill set: it’s about finding someone who’s going to love their job, and make your business shine.

 

#3 Focus on the job, not the company

People who write grant proposals for environmental non-profits care a whole lot about who their employer is and what they believe.

When you build houses for a living, the touchy-feely stuff tends to matter a bit less.

So while tradespeople want to know about your safety company’s safety record and growth (read: job stability), your mission statement doesn’t always matter.

In the trades, it’s often said that 80% of your job is the person you work beside; in other words, when you’re constantly working on different sites, there isn’t really much of a “company culture.”

And while you can’t make sure that your new hire is going to love the person they’re working with, you can advertise the experience of your team, or the quality of tools they’ll be working with, or the high cleanliness standards in the environment.

Odds are your applicants have already worked for a number of different employers in their trade that weren’t fully satisfying. Show off the quality of your workplace, and demonstrate to your applicants that they won’t have to deal with the hassles they’ve seen on other jobs.

If you can prove that your workplace is different, you’ll have their attention.

 

#4 Nail the job ad

Part of having a successful hiring strategy means targeting your job ad at the right people. While that funny joke about using a cat to get the mouse working might work for hiring IT support, that isn’t going to cut it in the trades.

You want your job ad to be short, concise, and informative: no sales pitches, puns, or catchphrases. Give your candidate the information they need to know, show them why your business is the place for them, and let them decide.

The best people will want to work for you because it’s actually a great fit: not because it’s a questionable fit that’s been dressed up.

 

By the way, don’t worry if you’re struggling to find great tradespeople. Fitzii’s hiring advisors know what really matters for skilled trades, and how to get the very best “fits” to apply. Contact us to help find the right candidate for your next project!

Matt is a hiring advisor, and a purveyor of positivity at Fitzii.

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