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Salaried employees. Hourly employees. Contract employees. Today’s workforce is made up of a dynamic mix of different types of workers—each possessing unique perceptions, attitudes and behaviors when it comes to the hiring process. The candidate experience isn’t one-size-fits-all—but does your recruiting strategy reflect this?

Organizations often talk about improving the candidate experience, but fall short of mapping out the unique paths a candidate might take to find a job based on the type of employment they’re looking for. But somebody seeking an hourly position follows a different job search and decision-making process than does somebody looking for a full-time salaried gig. And even within hourly workers, there’s a wide variation across industries as to what the candidate journey looks like.

To optimize your recruiting tactics and deliver the ideal candidate experience, you have to see your hiring process from your candidate’s perspective (and let’s stop talking about this if we aren’t really going to do it!). Let’s consider the typical hourly worker in the retail or food service industry. In this space often marred by high turnover, low retention and low investment in the employer brand, how can organizations craft a better experience for these candidates?

Here are four ways you can entice these hourly workers and meet them where they are:

 

1. Pitch the Job as a Stepping Stone

 Hourly positions in the retail and food service space have notoriously high turnover—29 percent of hourly restaurant workers stay in a job 6 months or less. And it makes sense when you consider the most common reasons people choose hourly work include helping pay for school or start their careers.

Most hourly employees aren’t viewing your job as a lifetime career—and that’s OK! McDonald’s not only recognizes the fact that many hourly workers view the company as a stepping stone—they fully embrace it. Just look at the tagline they proudly boast in their recent commercials: “committed to being America’s best first job.” Waiting tables might not be your candidate’s “forever job,” but it can help them pay the bills while giving them valuable experience in the meantime. Emphasize why—and how—working for your company can help them achieve the goals that are important to them and propel them toward the next step in their life and career. H&M’s “Place of Possible” national recruiting campaign is a great example of how a retailer successfully positioned itself as an attractive place for hourly sales associates looking to launch their careers.

Hourly work doesn’t typically come with the same big corporate benefits that might attract salaried candidates, so it’s important to highlight the perks these candidates do care about. When it comes to hourly workers, 71 percent are under the age of 30, and 74 percent prefer to work 30 or fewer hours per week. Does your company offer benefits that might appeal to this type of worker such as tuition assistance, flexible schedules, health insurance for part-time employees, or career growth and training opportunities? Make these benefits front and center in your recruiting efforts—it’s what will differentiate you from a sea of competition to people that might initially care more about the job than the company.

 

2. Tailor Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy

 The vast majority (84 percent) of organizations today are recruiting on social media, and for good reason—up to 86 percent of candidates use social networks in their job search. But while LinkedIn is often the “go-to” social channel for recruiters looking to connect with salaried candidates, hourly workers just aren’t there—in fact, less than 36 percent of them even have a LinkedIn profile.

Unlike salaried professionals, hourly candidates often rely on channels like Facebook and Twitter in their job search. So use these social networks to deliver a compelling reason why they should work for you and highlight inspirational success stories of current and former employees.

Make sure you’re posting hourly job openings to Facebook, and think about how you could use other channels like Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest to further reach today’s digital natives. McDonald’s, for example, recently launched its own Snapchat filter—“Snaplications”—which allows prospective employees to virtually don a uniform and submit a 10-second video application (yes, I’m showing McDonald’s a lot of love today!).

 

3. Speed Up Hiring With a Mobile Application

Submitting an application in-person or via a lengthy process on your website takes a lot of time. Implementing a mobile application process (and highlighting it on your Facebook and Twitter accounts) is key to improving the hourly candidate’s experience. They want and expect a fast, easy application process. It’s a numbers game: the more applications a candidate can submit, the more likely they are to be hired—hired hourly workers, on average, submit eight applications (twice as many as those who don’t get hired).

A mobile application process also allows you to increase speed to hire, which is incredibly important when one more week without a paycheck could mean the difference between being able to pay rent on time or not. In fact, 37 percent of hourly job seekers say being hired quickly is the most important factor in deciding where to work. They’re not differentiating between employer brands like salaried professionals might—they are differentiating between your recruiting speed and responsiveness—making a mobile application option critical.

 

4. Get Face Time With Local Candidates

 While it’s vital to enable hourly candidates to quickly apply for jobs from their mobile devices, there are also candidates that want and expect to be able to apply in-person. Unlike with a salaried professional (nobody’s walking into GE’s corporate headquarters to hand in a resume!), this face-to-face interaction and application process offers a great opportunity for you to make a positive first impression and position your brand as the employer of choice. Make this a memorable, engaging experience by welcoming and interacting on a personal level with all walk-in applicants, setting clear expectations on next steps in the hiring process, and following up quickly. You should also use technology to capture applications and contact information on the spot.

Since 80 percent of hourly workers work within 5 miles of their house, you should also be using this knowledge to target potential candidates appropriately. Hold a local hiring fair in your store where candidates can be interviewed and, if successful, offered a job on the spot. Get creative and use targeted Facebook ads to reach this local audience and highlight job openings. A Recruitment Marketing Platform can also help you nurture candidates and segment qualified talent pools by skill level and region that you can tap into (and re-market to) when you’re ready to hire.

Hourly workers—especially in the retail and food service space where these employees are quite literally the “face of your business”—have a tremendous impact on the overall success of your organization. Recruiting these workers—who, last year, represented nearly 60 percent of all wage and salary workers in the U.S.—takes a different strategy and set of tactics than recruiters typically lean on for salaried positions. By understanding their unique candidate journey, you can interact and engage with them on their terms to deliver a better candidate experience that, ultimately, leads to a better customer experience.

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