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Eight places to look for hourly workers

As I moderated panel at the LBM Strategies Conference last September, I noticed a common theme among dealers in the audience: Finding yard workers and other hourly staffers is becoming a giant pain in the butt.


Just like builders and remodelers, the labor crunch is hitting lumberyards hard. Along with the tight market caused by the housing recovery, the pipeline of workers is simply drying up as fewer young people enter the industry, or aren’t aware of it at all, and older workers retire out.

Hiring hourly workers requires different tactics and salesmanship than recruiting for sales or leadership positions— the job requirements, benefits, and long-term career paths are unique, and, therefore, so is the talent pool. Here are eight places to search to widen your pool of candidates for hourly positions:

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  1. Craigslist: Craigslist continues to have a good response rate for hourly workers; don’t discount its power! Just be sure you use the space wisely: Don’t just tell readers what you want from them; promote why they should want to work for you.
  2. A local staffing agency: Create a relationship with your local talent/staffing firms and leverage their services. Sure, there’s a markup, but they cover recruiting costs, unemployment, workers’ comp, and taxes, as well as performance improvement and termination if If it’s an agency with a strong light industrial client base, they will have already done a lot of marketing and advertising in the area and have a healthy database of people interested in hourly and/or manual work. Added bonus: If a temp staffer turns out to be a perfect fit for your company, you usually can hire them for a buyout—just make sure the agency you’re working with has the option to hire without exorbitant additional fees.
  3. Indeed: This job listing site has more traffic than Monster and others. You can also sponsor an ad using pay-per-click, which means you can control the budget and stop when you get enough.
  4. Social media: Post open positions to your business and personal Facebook pages, and encourage friends and followers to share the Pay the small fee to boost the post to ensure more eyeballs; even as little as $30 can make a difference. You could also use testimonials from happy employees to create an employer branding campaign and include that you’re now hiring.
  5. Word of mouth: Do your employees enjoy working for you? Have they found a career at your company? Encourage them to tell their friends and acquaintances about open positions. Consider offering a financial or non-financial reward to employees whose recruits are eventually hired.
  6. Always be recruiting: Headhunting isn’t just for the C-suite. If you’re out shopping and see someone running a forklift, stocking shelves, or helping customers with a great attitude, reach out to them and give them your People don’t often get recruited at that level, so they will likely be surprised and flattered.
  7. Connect with tech schools: Form relationships with teachers at trade schools and high school vo-tech programs, as well as high school guidance Let them know the skills you’re looking for and encourage them to promote careers in the lumber industry. Present to classes about what a career in LBM looks like, making note of the opportunities, the pride, and the good benefits.
  8. Think outside the box: Expand your recruitment pool to groups that are often overlooked, such as immigrants, individuals recently released from prison, individuals with disabilities, and stay-at-home parents. In many cases, these individuals not only have the necessary skills but also hard-working attitudes and appreciation for being given the opportunity.

We all know that the lumber supply industry offers a great career opportunity for those willing to work hard. We just have to do a better job of shouting that from the rooftops in the right places. When leveraging any of these tools, be sure to demonstrate the potential of your company and the industry as a whole to potential team members.

Stay tuned next month, when we’ll explore how to establish a longterm talent funnel.

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