Recently I was talking with a group of remodelers about the labor shortage, and one of the people in the discussion made an especially insightful comment. The observation came from Vince Nardo, president of Reborn Cabinets, in Southern California. “In order to be more successful at hiring, I had to change the mindset of our HR department,” Vince said. “They were looking at recruitment from the perspective of a human resources task, but it’s not that anymore; it’s a sales and marketing task.”
The concept made total sense, and my first impulse was to take it at face value. I began thinking about ways to market your company as a great place to work, including writing strategic posts on social media, creating catchy classified ads, and making sure every company benefit was discussed in each job interview.
But that approach is incomplete. If you focus solely on the message that your company is a wonderful place to work, you may get more applicants, but they won’t necessarily be the best applicants. Instead, you might end up with people primarily interested in what they can get from you rather than being invested in performing quality work for a company where they can learn and grow.
With that in mind, a strong marketing tactic could be, “We hire the best, and we know how to treat our staff.” That means emphasizing things great workers often care about, such as opportunities for growth and training, as well as denoting the attention- grabbers such as flex time or bonuses.
Right now, on Indeed.com, there are 6,947 job listings with the word “Remodeler” and 40,099 with the term “Home Improvement.” I read a large sample of these ads from all over the country and found that the overwhelming majority of them list every detail they require in a candidate, but explain nothing about what they offer in return.
And the language of the ads is downright depressing. Here’s a typical one for a remodeling carpenter paying $15 to $25 per hour. The ad asks for, “Skills not limited to:
insulation, drywall work, tile work, roofing, and siding.” Other requirements: “Five years’ field experience, own full-size pickup truck, own your own tools.” That’s the whole ad. Now compare that to Rebath of San Antonio, which is looking for someone with the same title and similar experience at $16 to $20 per hour. Instead of a bare list of a attributes, the ad starts, “Are you a remodeling carpenter who takes pride in satisfying customers?” Rebath’s ad goes on to talk about what makes the company special, and it’s clear whoever wrote it takes pride in the brand. “We will invest the me and money necessary to make you a highly successful carpenter with our organization,” it says. Paid vacation is specified, as are bonus opportunies.
The labor shortage poses a challenge to everyone in the industry, but remodelers who treat recruitment with the same level of care as they treat selling to homeowners will end up in a much better position.