Editor’s Note: Changing how we look at the hiring process

March 8, 2016 -  By

palmieriAs I researched and reported on our cover story about the labor shortage in the landscape industry—and all service industries, really—I put in a call to our resident HR expert, our quarterly Business Basics: People columnist, Mel Kleiman. He’s known for his practical advice on recruiting and retaining frontline associates, and he helps employers all over the country address these very topics.

He confirmed the landscape industry isn’t alone when it comes to a labor shortage, but he noted it has been on the passive side of the recruiting spectrum, compared to other industries.

“The landscape industry is one that’s used a hiring methodology I call ‘post and pray,’” he says, meaning post a job opening and pray the right candidate walks in the door. “That’s not going to make it anymore.”

We need to think about hiring as an acquisition process versus a selection process like it used to be, Kleiman says.

Landscape contractor Chris Joyce, who is featured on the cover of this issue, has had success recruiting workers from restaurants, bars and hotels, which are a major force in the Cape Cod region, where he’s based.

“I’m looking for people that are interested in coming into our industry,” he says. “The hospitality industry is good for us (to recruit from) because of the hours. When people start having families, they don’t want to be out at night. We’ve done very well there.”

Kleiman advocates for employers like Joyce to create and hand out recruiting cards. They are business card-sized pieces with your name, title and company logo. One side says, “I appreciate your great service! We’re looking for people just like you to be part of the (company name) team. If you’d like to explore employment opportunities with us, please contact me at (email) or (phone number). And, by all means, keep up the good work!”

This approach is effective for a few reasons. For one, young people and folks in the service industry aren’t accustomed to being head hunted. They don’t have recruiters calling them up or contacting them via LinkedIn, so it’s quite flattering when someone singles them out and recognizes their hard work or good service.

And there’s a good chance their current employer isn’t laying on the compliments. Statistics show less than half of employees receive regular feedback on the job. So think about the impression an employer could make by approaching potential candidates in such a positive way with a recruiting card. Even if they’re not ready to make a move right now, they might be someday—or they might know someone who is. And if nothing else, you’ll probably make their day.

“People love recognition,” Kleiman says. “Why not give it to them if they deserve it?”

Related: Download Kleiman’s recruiting card template.

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About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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