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High Performance: 10 creative ideas for recruiting

July 11, 2014 -  By

The workforce participation rate is lower today than it has ever been in my lifetime. More people every day are choosing not to work for a variety of reasons, and it’s reducing the pool of potential employees. For those who are interested in working, there are plenty of jobs. In fact, there is actually fierce competition for workers, especially for those with experience, skills and a valid driver’s license. If you’re involved in hiring, you don’t need me to tell you it’s increasingly difficult to find qualified people.

It has never been more necessary to put aside outdated hiring procedures. It is time to get creative. I sat down recently and came up with 20 creative ideas for recruiting in about 30 minutes. If I had kept going, I probably could have generated 100 or more. My point is there are plenty of ideas out there. The ideas in this blog post may or may not work for you. The real work is with selecting and executing the ideas you find most attractive.

I’m going to share with you the first 10 creative ideas for recruiting.

  1. Place a “Now hiring” sign on the back of a truck and drive around neighborhoods where potential employees reside. Be ready to hand out applications, business cards and to hire on the spot.
  2. Place recruitment ads in smaller community-based newspapers. Prospective employees may not read the newspaper but their mothers and grandmothers do.
  3. Advertise on Spanish-speaking radio stations. Radio ads are much more affordable than is commonly known and have produced solid results for many Green Industry companies.
  4. Call area churches to speak with church secretaries and pastors. They usually know who is in need of work and will go out of their way to connect you with these people.
  5. Recruit everywhere you are, especially where lower-paid positions are prevalent—retail stores, restaurants, etc. Always be ready with business cards.
  6. Give current employees a larger bonus for referring good people. If your $100 referral bonus isn’t working, make it $200 or $500 for new employees who remain employed for 30 days.
  7. Place “Now hiring good people” signs on trucks and trailers with your phone number. These signs can be removable, magnetic or permanent, vinyl decals. When are you ever not hiring?
  8. Place “Now hiring! Top pay!” yard signs in high-traffic areas where such signs are allowed. Be sure to include your phone number and be prepared to replace these signs as they disappear.
  9. If posting ads on Craigslist or similar venues, post every Tuesday and Friday like clockwork. Change up the ads so they are fresh and attractive.
  10. Contact local school offices to speak with guidance counselors. They know who the good kids are and may be willing to refer graduating seniors.

Some of you are thinking, “None of these apply to me.” If so, take 30 minutes and brainstorm 10 ideas yourself. Or, keep an eye out for the remaining 10 ideas in the next few weeks.

Now go forth.

 Photo: JAnstee/

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Blog
Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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