It is a frustrating time to be shopping for new employees. Competition for people is fierce!

You can find a “help wanted” sign or a “now hiring” sign in front of almost every business in town.

If you turn on the local FM radio, you’ll hear help-wanted ads from employee-hungry companies booming through your speakers.

If you turn on the TV or dare to go online, you’ll hear (and see) a constant reminder that Indeed or Zip Recruiter can help you find the employees you need fast and easy.

Of course, while these two popular recruiting apps are courting employers like you and me, they run ads targeted to attract job-seeking employees to post their resume on their site to find their dream job.

How can a landscaping business owner compete?  I’ve got two simple strategies to help you win the game of recruiting.

First – Think Like A Marketer, Not Like A Recruiter

Many recruiters are well-trained to create “Indeed Approved” template ads that look and sound perfectly corporate. They use a play book that traps them inside a box of political correctness. Seldom do recruiters test headlines targeted at special demographic profiles of employment prospects in fear of being accused of discrimination.

Marketers think differently about recruiting. They use a different approach. Marketers think in terms of “find a need and fill it”. Marketers create messages targeted around problems and opportunities. Marketers are happy to use Power Words in their job ads. Here’s an example.

Indeed welcomes your job posting when you use a job title like “Lawn Maintenance Technician Wanted”. They will approve your ad within a couple of hours. You post the ad and you’ll get a handful of applicants over the next week or two.

Put on your marketing hat for a moment. Think about it. How many people want to be a Lawn Maintenance Technician when they grow up? A few…but certainly not the majority of people in the workforce.

So try the marketing approach and use a unique headline to attract a huge group of employees. That is, target people who are not satisfied with their current job. “Fresh Start – Working Outdoors” has become the #1 job headline we have tested with our clients over the past 48 months. You see, almost anyone who is frustrated with their current employer is looking for a “Fresh Start”. These are two POWER WORDS!

But just as we are casting a wide net to capture a big audience, we use the words “Working Outdoors” to eliminate those folks who are allergic to dust, dirt, pollen, heat, cold and…WORK!

Get it?

Over and over again, we see the “Fresh Start – Working Outdoors” headline pull five time to ten times the number of applicants as the politically correct Lawn Maintenance Technician Wanted headline.

Just in case you don’t believe me, try this for yourself by testing these POWER WORDS and let me know what happens for you.

Second – Think Like A Marketer, Not Like A Recruiter (Really)

Marketers understand that getting someone to “click” on your ad NEVER pays the bills. Grabbing someone’s attention with a clever headline is only one strategy and will not solve the employee recruiting challenge by itself.

You’ve gotta make the sale! This means you actually want an employment prospect to work for you. So stop being timid about making job offers. Use the old-fashioned puppy dog close.

Just in case you are not familiar with the puppy dog close, let me explain it.

If you are trying to sell puppy dogs, the best way to sell one is to invite the prospect to take it home for one night to let the kids play with it and see how they like it. And here’s what happens time and time again…

The puppy never comes back to the store! The parents can NEVER pry that beautiful puppy out of the arms of their children…especially not the first few days of being a puppy!  Are you with me so far?

Here’s what we are testing and finding promising results with today. Rather than try to sell a prospective employee the idea of joining your company for the rest of their life…just ask them to come test drive the job for one day.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the job ads we are running with a handful of clients today. It’s called the ONE DAY TEST DRIVE job ad.

How to apply:

You are invited to test-drive a day of work – here’s how.

Call my cell phone at 770-555-1234 between the hours of 12 noon and 1 pm M-F.  I’m usually on lunch break during this time and I can speak with you for about 10 minutes about the job. It will be a short interview.

If I don’t answer the phone, please send me a text with your name and phone number so I can call you back when I get off the lawn mower.

If the phone call goes well, I’ll invite you to test drive a day of work with me and get paid at the end of the day.

Just so you know, I’m a hard-working guy and expect my team to be able to keep up with me. We do take breaks during the day. If you have a problem with a piece of equipment, I’ll be there to help figure things out.

This is a great opportunity for someone who loves the outdoors, don’t mind working with their hands and getting dirty while you make customers happy.

Over at my manufacturing company, we had four prospects come in for a one day job test drive in August. We ended up making offers to two of the four and hiring one.

Unfortunately, we did not win the heart of our number one candidate…but we got 3 marketing projects caught up with the extra helping hands of the one day test drive strategy!

One of my clients in the Boston area used this technique to replace a lawn maintenance technician within the first week of using the test-drive technique in his Indeed job ad.

The one day test drive is a small commitment and it gives you a chance to evaluate the prospect first-hand.

The employment prospect gets paid and puts $100 to $200 in their pocket for their effort. Try it. It’s a win-win.

Courtesy Warning

In full disclosure, the 2 techniques I have shared above are excerpts of an employee recruiting system we call The Automatic Hiring Machine. There are 11 steps to build a fully-functioning Automatic Hiring Machine. You can learn more about this unique approach to recruiting by watching this video (click here).

The video is free and you get instant access, but registration is required. Watch the video and I’ll share more details – no charge.

And if you have lost hope and don’t think it’s possible to improve your recruiting results, then read a few of the six case studies we have posted by clicking here.

The employee challenge is NOT GOING AWAY anytime soon. So…invest a few minutes of your time and start thinking more like a creative marketer and less like a politically correct recruiter.

Let me know what you have done in your company to think more like a marketer and less like a recruiter.

Profit Greatly,

Tony Bass, founder


PS – Are you going to the Green Industry Expo – Hardscape North America trade show in October? We hope you will stop by our booth and say hello if you make it! We plan on displaying our new Super Contractor Truck with the aluminum/composite dump body this year. See the details here.