5 Tips for Hiring in a Tight Labor Market

As an hourly employer, you know very well it takes longer to staff up your team in today’s market (find out how we can help with your seasonal staffing needs!)

The good news is that there are high-performing candidates and quality hires even in a tight labor market. What is pertinent for you to know is how to attract them. Here are 5 tips on how to hire in a tight labor market.

1. Identify the right talent. As discussed in our previous Blog, How to Develop an Hourly Recruitment Strategy, your current employees are your best brand advocates. Leverage your current employee network and offer incentives for employee referrals. No one will refer a poor candidate, since his or her reputation is on the line too. Post your current job opportunities to multiple job boards and social media channels to increase awareness to your openings. We do this for you by distributing your jobs to the most popular local job boards– like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Nuevo, and Juju – and also to popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

2. Be specific when placing your job ads. Last week, we discussed the importance of your job titles and descriptions when attracting quality applicants. Be detailed about your requirements – skills, previous experience, age, and salary requirements – to keep less qualified applicants from applying.

3. Keep a healthy flow of applicants. At ZippyApp, our goal is not just to provide you with quality applicants at a time of need, but also to provide a steady stream for future needs. Always be on the lookout for quality hires – post a ‘Future’ job opening on ZippyApp that way you can archive and have quality hires on hand for when they are needed.

4. Reduce your employee turnover. The single best way to reduce your employee turnover and dodging the costs of a bad hire is to hire the right people from the start. Don’t think you have to settle on hiring a low-quality applicant because you feel you are unable to hire a good quality one. You are better off leaving a position open and un-filled than hiring a less-talented employee.

5. Be aware of your employer reputation. Which brings us to our final point – create a good employer reputation to attract the highest quality candidates. Don’t compromise your job requirements for poor talent just to fill a position. Poor performers at your company can turn-off your best performers, as talented employees want to work for companies that house other good talent. Good talent, after all, is what gives your company and brand a competitive advantage. The companies and brands that receive the highest applicant flow on ZippyApp not surprisingly are the ones that also receive great rating on employer-review sites like Glassdoor. When a company cares for its employees and for good talent, high-performing candidates seek employment there.

Do you have any tips to share? Comment your thoughts below!

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9 Steps for Peaceful Holiday Scheduling

For hourly employers, ­­it is definitely not the most wonderful time of year. On top of the added stresses of hiring seasonal employees, creating seasonal schedules provides more of a burden. To minimize the risk of dampened morale, unhappy employees, and even legality issues, it is imperative to develop preventative measures to minimize scheduling issues. Here are 9 steps for peaceful holiday scheduling.

  1. Plan early. As mentioned in our previous Blog, always plan and be prepared for what is ahead. Holidays will always be an upcoming challenge for you. So will summer and back-to-school months. When you hire on a candidate, ask them what days, times, and holidays they would be willing to work. This can later avoid accusations of unlawful time off requests for religious-based lawsuits (Federal law states that you must make a “reasonable effort to accommodate employees sincere religious beliefs,” which means you must try and accommodate their time off requests for religious holidays). Also, be upfront and clear with your employees. Set clear expectations of black out days where no one gets to request time off.
  2. Don’t assume everyone wants to take time off. For some, like students back home from school break, the holidays allow for extra shifts, which equates to extra money in their pockets. Don’t assume your single workers don’t want to take time off, or that those with families want more time off. Most employees know their holiday plans in advance, so ask your staff to submit their time-off requests a month (at least) in advance so you can schedule accordingly.
  3. Release schedules for busy weeks well in advance. Create and give your employees their schedules early to allow flexibility for schedule adjustments – like shift switches and covers.
  4. Make note of seniority statuses. To be fair and avoid issues of demoralization, consider who has been at your company the longest and ask them what holidays, if any, they would like off.
  5. Consider who Has worked or is scheduled to work other holidays. Another fair tactic is to prioritize workers who have worked certain holidays previously, or is set to work a holiday already this season. This gives you reason to explain why one worker is getting the time off they requested over another.
  6. Be direct with seasonal employees. Your seasonal staff is there for just that – to keep you prepared for the holiday rush. Be upfront in your seasonal job descriptions and the number of hours, days, and times they are expected to work (we talk about this in more detail in our Guide to Seasonal Hiring).
  7. Try not to schedule consecutive shifts or coinciding shifts to the same workers. Not everyone wants to work all closing shifts, and especially shifts that coincide, like closing late one night and opening bright and early the next day. This is a great tactic to keep in mind for decreasing your turnover and retaining loyal employees.
  8. Alleviate the strain and spread out shifts. Breaking up long holiday shifts into smaller shifts evens out the strain. Also, utilizing shorter shifts is a way to monitor busy and slow times. Overstaffing and top-loading certain shifts can decrease profits, and make for unhappy employees (splitting tips with more workers means less money in their pockets too). Be flexible if it does get busier than you expect (you can utilize our “On Call” feature for times like this!) Or if it is slower than you expected, cut people and let them go home early.
  9. Incentive those who do work those holiday shifts. Incentives are a great way to attract, retain, and keep your employees happy. We are in one of the tightest labor markets we have seen in decades, and incentives make your brand stand out from the rest. A common incentive many companies offer during the holidays is time-and-a-half pay to those who work extra holiday hours/ shifts, but be wary as that can become expensive very quickly. You can also offer gift cards, more time off during regular seasons, priority pick on the next schedule, or even a small bonus to employees who work unattractive holiday shifts.

Do you have any holiday scheduling tips to share? We would love to hear from you! Comment your thoughts below.

Guide to Hiring Seasonal Employees

Tis’ the season for holiday hiring! If you haven’t already started hiring your seasonal team, don’t panic. Other guides and Blogs will say you should’ve started way earlier in your holiday hiring, and to a certain extent they are right. But if we have learned one thing about hiring during this tight labor market, it is that you should be recruiting 24/7 for your hourly jobs – no matter what season it is.

The good news is a bright holiday season is on the horizon for the restaurant and retail industries, since sales figures are expected to grow and consumer’s wallets are starting to loosen. The retail industry is expected to add 755,000 temporary workers from October to November, which means it’s time for you to start hiring your seasonal employees! This guide will provide tips on how to recruit and hire during the holiday rush.

Where to look:

  • Your current part-time employees are a great first place to start looking. These workers are already loyal to your brand and are familiar with your products, which minimizes training time. Plus they are already on your payroll, which decreases onboarding time and necessary HR paperwork.
  • Past seasonal hires are another group that negates the need to train and onboard. These workers have proven their work ethic, which lessens the uncertainty of whether or not they may be a bad hire. 
  • Hiring someone who has past experience in the industry minimizes training time. These workers are ready to hit the ground running since they are already experienced and have been trained.
  • Hire year round and try not to wait for busy seasons to hire. Always be on the lookout for quality hires. As mentioned previously, we are in one of the tightest labor markets we have seen in decades, which means it is that much more difficult to maintain a steady flow of applicants. A great feature on ZippyApp is that we offer a separate section on your Hiring Page that shows your ‘Future’ job openings. This is a great way to capture passive applicants for future needs. Another feature to utilize is our ‘On Call’ feature, where applicants can select if they are available for last minute jobs/ shifts. Archive these applicants so you are ready when you need them.

If hiring based off of a new roster of candidates, there are certain attributes to be on the lookout for:
o Eagerness: A willingness to understand the job and products.
o Flexibility: Are able to work extended holiday hours and weekends.
o Fast Learner: Has demonstrated in past jobs they are quick to learn.

Mistakes to avoid:

Don’t hire a low-quality candidate just to fill a position. Anyone who works with your branding on their clothing is a representative of your company. Your customers will not forget poor service because it was given by a seasonal employee. It’s better in the long-run to leave positions unfilled than to hire an unfit or poor quality candidate (we will talk about the costs of a bad hire in an upcoming Blog, stay tuned!)

Don’t just assume your full-time regular staff will stick with you through the holidays. You have to be prepared if someone quits. Offering incentives like bonuses and/ or overtime pay to these workers can help keep them loyal through the season.

Look over your job descriptions and change them for seasonal employment, or create new seasonal openings. Your seasonal job descriptions are not the same as year-round ones. Oftentimes, seasonal workers wear many hats and need to be ready to take on and juggle a variety of tasks. By explaining this in the tasks and duties required of the job, you can reduce turnover. Be sure to add job categories and keywords related to seasonal work or temporary employment so your jobs appear during seasonal work employment searches.

If you are having trouble hiring seasonal employees, are behind in the game, or are experiencing general hiring issues – we can help! Our software is specifically designed for the hourly job market, with a core focus on the restaurant and retail industries. We provide one-stop advertising by distributing and posting your jobs to the most popular local job boards, casting a wider net for applicant flow. Learn more at: http://zippyapp.com/business.

4 Tips to Lean and Mean Job Descriptions (to attract more candidates)

In our last Blog, we discussed recruiting as a marketing strategy to attract and engage applicants. Your job descriptions are a vital piece in your recruitment marketing strategy, since they give the first impression of your company and is what connects you with a candidate. In order for your jobs to stand out in a sea of thousands of others, you will need to think outside the box to attract and engage talent. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Think of your job titles as a story headline. What story titles attract the most readers? Exciting stories with captivating headlines. And unless you’re an attractive brand that everyone in town wants to work for (CREAM anyone?), you will need to be creative with your job titles. Use the same approach and include exciting terms and incentives that will attract candidates, such as sign-on bonuses or a guaranteed amount of hours. We hate to say it, but corporate titles come standard, and are repeatedly listed on job boards giving the applicant zero incentive to click and view the job. Which job title would you be more inclined to view?

          Server – Joe’s in San Jose, CA
OR     Part-time Server (guaranteed 20 hours per week!) – Joe’s in San Jose, CA

Be sure to think of other job titles the applicant may be searching for. For a Team Member position, adding in “Cashier,” “Counter Crew,” or “Barista” (if applicable) to the Categories section on ZippyApp or to the job description can increase your search engine optimization (SEO) on our system and to the job boards we distribute your jobs to.

There is however, a fine line when creating captivating and unique job titles. Don’t go overboard and add too much information into your titles (that is what the job description is for), and don’t list every job duty as a separate job posting — like “Produce Chopper” and “Dough Presser,” instead keep them all under “Kitchen Prep” — as it only confuses job seekers.

Exercise: Go through your job titles now. Do any of them stand out above the rest? Go to ZippyApp and type in your open positions — do they get lost in a sea of others? What can you do differently to make yours stand out?

2. Cut out any filler words. Take a look at your job descriptions. Do they take up an entire page? If you were a job seeker, what would your first impression be? If it looks like a prison sentence, then chances are you won’t receive many applicants. Scan your job descriptions and delete any unnecessary words or information that is not imperative to the applicant. Keep your job descriptions clean, simple, and to-the-point. An interesting study done by Appcast.io shows the click-to-apply rate for too short and too long of job descriptions. You can view the study here.

3. Include any job requirements up front. Job seekers want to know exactly what they are potentially signing up to do, and what will be required of them. Outline the basics of the job, including the skills and experience that is required for the applicant. If you can, include the age requirement for the position (this is a common question asked by our job applicants!), whether or not they need any certifications or licenses, and if the position is full or part-time. Be sure to include your establishment address — state, city, and zip code — to your location hiring page (our software inserts Google Maps to your Hiring Page). Doing these things will weed out any applicants who aren’t serious about the position, or ones who are not qualified.

4. Be specific about the job benefits and salaries. Candidates love to be incentivized, and if you offer any be sure to include them in your job descriptions. Do you offer free lunches? 1/2 off friends and family meals? Flexible schedules? If you don’t want to post your salaries, or if salary depends on the candidates experience, providing a salary range is better than not putting anything about what can be expected. List specific benefits rather than saying “We Provide Benefits.” Do you offer healthcare? Eye Exams? Dental Coverage? 401K?

If you’re suffering from a shortage of applicants, providing lively and exciting job titles and descriptions is the easiest way to attracting more applicants. Make sure to include key terms and words in the description (think titles that are similar to the one you are posting) to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) on our system and to the job boards we distribute your jobs to.

Blog photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The Hourly Hiring Game Is Changing: How to Develop an Hourly Recruitment Marketing Strategy

As a business owner, you know marketing your products and services is a must in attracting and retaining customers. But did you know that recruiting and retaining top talent requires similar strategies and focus?

At ZippyApp, we know that one of the biggest challenges you face as an hourly employer is healthy supply of quality applicants. That’s our focus, and we provide you with the most efficient and cost effective recruiting solution to meet your staffing needs.

As discussed in our previous blog, Recruiting and Hiring Millennials (for your restaurant jobs), Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020. Why is that important to you? Because in order to develop a recruitment marketing strategy to attract this demographic, you need to understand them and how they engage.

For starters:

  • Mobile: Is the device of choice for millennials, and over 90% of job seekers.
  • Social: Are their channels of engagement.
  • Local: Is the nature of hourly jobs.

As an hourly employer, some of the challenges and barriers you face are:

  • High Turnover: 50% to 300% annual turnover is common.
  • Classified Ads: Costly, noisy, and ineffective.
  • Difficult Apply Process: Any friction / bump in the apply process limits engagement and reduces applicant flow.

What the workforce needs:

  • Easy apply process.
  • Lots of jobs.
  • Quick response and reaction time.

In today’s competitive market, most job seekers consult up to 15 resources, including job boards, business website(s), employer-review sites, and social media channels to learn about the opportunity and the employer. They also want to understand the work culture (extremely important to millennials), the work style, issues at the workplace, and whom they might be working for or with. Because of this, it is important for your entire web presence — website(s), career sites, social media channels, and even job ads — to have a clear, consistent message and apply process.

Your recruitment marketing strategy must be comprehensive, with a wide range of coverage on your employer brand sites and an ease of engagement for your applicants. Your job opportunities must be described with excitement and have fewer words that include key requirements to attract the right candidates (we will give tips on writing leaner and meaner job descriptions in next week’s Blog, stay tuned!)

Your current employees and loyal customers are your best advocates.

Your current employees are your best advocates for your job opportunities. They are the ones to share with family and friends about current open positions, and often toot their employer’s horn on the work environment and conditions. Implementing an employee-referral program is a good way to incentivize them, and get pre-qualified candidates.

Be sure to leverage your current customers as potential candidates when applicable. Hand our hiring cards, hang banners, and place hiring placards at your restaurant tables to capture the passive applicants at the location. ZippyApp’s unique QR Code System provides a QR Code for each of your hiring locations, where job seekers simply scan and apply using our Common Employment Application, attracting candidates on the spot.

Focusing on marketing as a recruitment strategy can pay off in the long run. Developing a strategy that will attract new candidates is a challenge in itself, but retaining them and reducing your turnover is one not to be forgotten. Be aware of this and develop a comprehensive strategy that appeals to both will keep you at the forefront of hourly recruiting.

Do you have any recruitment marketing tips to share? We’d love to hear from you! Comment your thoughts below.

Recruiting Millennials in the Mobile and Social Age: ZippyApp Founder and CEO Presents at the 2015 FSTEC Conference

ZippyApp Founder & CEO, Kamyar Faron, presents at the 2015 FSTEC conference in Washington, D.C. on Recruiting Millennials in the Mobile and Social Age. 

Sunnyvale, CA, October 13th 2015 – ZippyApp Founder and CEO, Kamyar Faron, presented at the 2015 FSTEC conference in Washington D.C. on Recruiting Millennials in the Mobile and Social Age. FSTEC is an annual technology conference , and is the only one of its kind focused solely on the foodservice industry.

“The presentation was well attended with great audience participation. It was clearly a topic of interest. Many participants visited our booth for more details and further discussions on the topic. There was a lot of enthusiasm from restaurant owners and operators on the innovative technology ZippyApp offers,” stated Faron.

Hosting over 1,400 Executives, FSTEC offers a forum-like setting for new ideas and solutions for foodservice technology issues.

Which is where Faron and ZippyApp step in.

Hourly recruiting and hiring practices have changed drastically over the last decade, yet hourly employers are still working with decade-old practices – like paper applicants and traditional applicant tracking systems.

Since millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020, hourly employers need to be ready with a recruiting and hiring strategy to engage these workers.

“The workforce of today and tomorrow is highly engaged on mobile devices and social channels, and efficiency and connectivity are required at all stages of the job search,” explains Faron during the presentation.

ZippyApp faces millennial recruiting and hiring issues head-on by posting to popular local jobs boards and targeting jobs on social media offering maximum exposure and one-stop advertising. ZippyApp’s unique QR Code Application System allows job seekers to simply scan a barcode and apply to jobs straight from their mobile device.

About ZippyApp: A true innovation in the hourly job market, ZippyApp is the social, local, and mobile recruiting and hiring solution for the hourly job market. ZippyApp fits into any recruitment budget so organizations have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying this innovative approach to staffing. For more information, visit: zippyapp.com/business.

Recruiting and Hiring Millennials (for your restaurant jobs)

Did you know more than 40% of restaurant employees fall between the ages of 16 and 24? This means a large number of restaurant staff are millennials, who are just entering the workforce and are re-shaping the world of work.

Are you ready?

The restaurant industry is projected to have a record high in sales for 2015 in response to economic improvements, and will employ approximately 1.8 million more people than it did 10 years ago. Extending from this, millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020.

What does this mean? That you need to develop a recruiting and hiring strategy to attract these workers. To do this, lets first take a look at some of the perks and benefits millennials want:

  • Clear growth opportunities and career paths: Career progression is a top priority for this generation —  even above competitive salaries. Millennials are committed to their personal learning and development.
  • Flexible and lenient work conditions: Millennials believe strongly in work-life balance, and many are enrolled in school. They want flexible working hours to fit those needs. Luckily, the industry is one of the few that offers flexible work schedules.
  • A fun and open environment: This generation wants to work in an enjoyable environment where they can have fun and build friendships.
  • Brand is everything: Millennials want to be proud of where they work, which means your brand is key. They want to do something that feels worthwhile, and need to believe in the values and vision of the company.

How do you attract millennials? It’s apparent from their “wish list” above that millennials are motivated by more than just money. Attract millennials by offering more of what they want! Put them on rotational assignments more frequently to gain a variety of experiences and give them a sense that they are moving toward something. Offer flexible work conditions so they can balance school and other social activities. Offer fun incentives like work outings and friendly workplace competitions. And know your brand is everything.

Recruiting millennials: Mobile is the device of choice for younger job seekers. Posting your jobs to social and mobile-enabled job sites (like ZippyApp!) allows applicants to react quickly to new postings and apply quickly with less barriers. Our unique QR Code system allows job seekers to scan and apply to your jobs straight from their mobile device — without having to install an app. Every unnecessary step or click in the apply process is a barrier and reduces engagement. This generation is tech-savvy and will spread their love for their workplace through word-of-mouth and social media platforms, which can help recruit local talent.

Social recruiting allows you to hire local, qualified applicants. We provide social recruiting by targeting your jobs to the most qualified, local job seekers on social media. We also post your jobs to the most popular local job boards on the best traffic days to give your jobs the most exposure. Our proprietary algorithm refreshes your jobs based on a variety of factors to attract job seekers at the most opportune time.

We believe social, local, and mobile are the key ingredients to millennial recruiting and hiring. Learn how you can go SoLoMo in your hourly recruiting and hiring — contact our team and get started on a free trial with ZippyApp today!

What can you tell us about your experience in recruiting and hiring millennials? We’d love to hear from you!