You already know that unemployment has been incredibly low, leaving paving and construction companies hurting to fill open positions. Now, as many businesses are forced to basically close up shop, in many places the paving industry can keep paving on. As I drive down the main roads of my community, it’s one big paving construction zone. The sidewalks are out, the intersections are dug up, and paving is happening. It’s beautiful. I love it. It’s a bright spot in all this mess.
While many other industries struggle to keep their heads above water, their employees are feeling the crunch. As unemployment rises, this could be a prime time for paving and construction companies to fill their bus.
Many paving companies suffer from a lack of marketing horsepower. Hiring has transitioned from HR to a sales activity, which feels pretty foreign if most of your projects are won by low bid or funded by state and local government. They haven’t invested in building the online presence necessary to compete in the job market today.
About the only place you can’t get COVID-19 is online. Website traffic is primed to go through the roof. The first metrics are out according to Forbes, internet hits in Europe for areas with enforced self-isolation policies are up 70% over pre-COVID internet usage. You have a captive (in some cases literally) audience to share your message.
I know, you thought I was going to say list your jobs out on Indeed and LinkedIn. That’s obvious, yes—definitely do that. But right now, people are freaking out, putting decision making on hold. The person you want to hire isn’t necessarily looking for a job yet, but they might be feeling the crunch, or be afraid that their job might not be there much longer. They’re at the beginning of the buying cycle, realizing they may have a problem and considering solutions to the challenge. You can be a potential solution. You won’t reach people at the beginning of the buying cycle on a job website. Those people are ready to buy, they’re looking for a new job. So put your listings out there to scoop them up when they’re ready to buy. On social media lean into education and relationship building.
According to the New York Times during the week of March 24, 2020, overall U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites increased by more than 50% from the week before. That’s where I think you should focus your efforts right now. With everybody marooned at home, bored out of their minds, people want to connect more than ever before. People are on social media, many of them probably already regret the decision to rejoin social media but they’re out there nonetheless.
You need to put a little money behind your efforts. The people that you have in your following already know you and would already consider working with you. So, we need to get in front of new people. Start with boosting a post. You could invest as little as $10 on Facebook and get great results. It could just be a testimonial from an employee about how great you are to work for or a staff photo with an, “oh, by the way, we’re accepting applications”. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to start the conversation to plant a seed in the viewer’s mind that you may be a solution to the problem that they’re starting to feel.
In general, your website needs to be ready to take applications online. Especially now, when for safety reasons you don’t want to invite people in to fill out applications. But taking your hiring process online is more than just getting an email form on your website. For example, if you set up a simple email form on your website it will spit out a simple email. But that’s probably not how your HR department processes applications. They get them in application format. Take the next step and format the simple email into an application so HR can properly facilitate the hiring process. Regardless of your tactic, bring the process online and make it as streamlined as possible.
Hiring is more than just application intake though. How much of your process can you virtualize? Make it easy to schedule interviews using a service like Calendly to speed up setting appointments, the basic package is free. And much of your interview process can take place over a service like Zoom so you can see people face-to-face. They don’t have to have a computer to use Zoom, a cell phone will do, then you can look them in the eyes when you’re talking.
The grass needs to be greener on your side of the fence. The cool people that you want to work for you may be in pain and some still have jobs, they might even like where they work. They need to understand you are also cool people and great to work for. Some of this “coolness” should be spread on social media and it also needs to extend to your online home – a.k.a. your website.
Make sure your site really sounds like you. Not too polished, not too rough but like you. And delete those stupid photos of people who don’t work for you. The ones you bought on the stock photo site. Replace them with actual pictures of your team. Even if you have to take them on your iPhone, those photos will be more real than any stock photo could ever be.
Review your careers section. Does it speak to each type of person you hire individually? You may need more than one hiring page. People seeking entry level employment have different concerns and considerations than those people qualified to move into management roles. Create a page for each. Tell them the benefits that you offer and why it’s a great place to work. Share quotes from their potential peers. They might need this job, but you want them to want this job, not just for the pay, but because you’re a great company to work for.
Right now, as a paving company, I’d invest my marketing dollars online with a focus on hiring. As this pandemic unfolds and if paving continues, your community will present more and more riders willing to fill the seats on your bus. Now is the opportunity to meet them where they are—online.
Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.
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