As a rule, plumbing contractors are poor recruiters. Of course, they excel at complaining about how hard it is to find people. Just, when it comes to actually finding them, they fall short. Therefore, it only takes a little effort to out-recruit the competition. Here are nine ways to become a better recruiter.
1. Devote the time
If you want to be successful in the recruiting game, you need to put in the work. This is one of the most important activities the owner of a plumbing business performs. After all, your ability to grow is limited by your ability to put the right people in trucks. You should spend around 30% of your time on recruiting related activities. Block it on your calendar. Devote three half days to recruiting.
2. Stay in contact
Once you interview someone, stay in touch. Even if the candidate does not work out now, he might in the future. To stay top-of-mind, capture everyone’s email list or mobile phone number. Create an email list and write something about the plumbing profession every month. Send a text link to the web version of the email.
Write about new tools, about troubleshooting different plumbing problems, about new products, the reasons you select one type of truck over the others, and so on. If you are not a great writer, hire someone to take your thoughts and turn them into an email piece. Alternatively, simply recruit yourself in a video and post it.
Build up a large list over time and this becomes the first place you post information about opportunities to work with your company. A prospective employee list is as essential as a customer list.
3. Be an attractive place to work
If you want people to work for you, become a place where people want to work. For example, make sure you are offering the best benefits in the area. Good benefits are addictive. It makes employment sticky.
Other things to work on are career paths and job descriptions. Show people there is a future with your company. Make it concrete.
While you are a service company and need to respond to emergencies, be mindful of your team’s private lives. Consider hiring someone specifically to handle after-hours calls.
Take one room of your shop and turn it into a plumbers’ lounge. Have comfortable furniture, a TV, video games, and free snacks and drinks. While your plumbers will probably not spend a lot of time there, it is great for recruiting.
4. Create a recruiting brochure
Unless you have a recruiting brochure, you are not serious about recruiting. Think of the recruiting brochure as a conversation with a plumber’s spouse. In the brochure, you are selling the company to the spouse. Have quotes about the company with pictures of smiling, happy employees and smiling, grateful customers. List your mission statement, company values, benefits, holidays, training, opportunities for career advancement, charities supported, etc.
5. Create a recruiting business card
Carry a second business card with you that specifically focuses on recruiting. It should be a mini-recruiting brochure with a QR code a candidate can scan to complete your online application. This implies that you have an online application to make it easier to apply.
6. Target other professions
Some contractors are finding success in hiring police. Compared to police work, a plumber’s hours are better, the pay is better and surprisingly, the benefits are likely better because many cities require a substantial employee contribution. Police officers excel in the service industry. They are not afraid of presenting prices and selling. They are great at handling upset customers. Plus, many police officers are tired of the anti-police attitude and defund the police movements of some municipalities.
Another occupation with great potential for the plumbing industry is the military. Like the police, the enlisted ranks of the armed services are growing weary of the social justice and woke policies being forced upon them. While there are exceptions, almost everyone who performs well in the military will perform well in plumbing.
7. Recruit out-of-state
The experienced plumber without baggage is often considered a unicorn. If an experienced plumber is available, there is a reason. Anyone who is any good already has a job. However, what if an experienced pro’s job is in another state and he would like to work in your state? Red state plumbers should recruit blue states. Rural or suburban plumbers should recruit the cities. Locations with a great quality of life should recruit those with a worse quality of life. Places with good weather should recruit places with bad weather. With sites like Monster and LinkedIn, it is feasible to conduct a targeted out-of-state recruiting program.
After all, your ability to grow is limited by your ability to put the right people in trucks. You should spend around 30% of your time on recruiting related activities. Block it on your calendar.
8. Target private equity
As private equity takes control of more plumbing companies, there will be opportunities to recruit their best plumbers away. Private equity is under relentless pressure to generate profit and the pressure will be passed down. At the same time, private equity often imposes soul-crushing conformity that many plumbers inherently resist. Consider targeting the acquired companies in your area.
9. Recruit your customers
Let your customers know you are recruiting and what you are seeking in a plumber. While they are not candidates (i.e., if they were, they probably would not be your customers), they might have friends or relatives who are looking for work or who live in another town and would like to move closer. Besides, expressing your standards to your customers is also marketing to them for their next plumbing need.
Will these nine steps solve your recruiting problems? Of course not. That is why you must constantly recruit. Work on it every week, so you are not limited in your ability to grow. These steps will give you a leg up on your competition.