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Episode 11:

Actively source applicants with modern 'now hiring' signs

The U.S. continues to face an unprecedented talent shortage. In fact, recent statistics show that on a global scale, 3 in 4 employers report difficulty finding the talent they need. Experts say the talent shortage is now at a 16-year high.

The reasons behind our nation’s ongoing challenge to both attract and retain employees vary. From the need to find great fulfillment or purpose in work to a desire for freedom beyond the daily grind, today’s workforce is considering its options more closely. And they’re no longer afraid to make dramatic changes.

A survey by management consulting firm Korn Ferry revealed that almost a third (31%) of people would quit their current job even without another one lined up. 

Sourcing new applicants in a job market forever redefined by the onset of the Great Resignation and COVID-19 requires much more than posting an open position on a job board and waiting for applicants to pour in. It involves leveraging new strategies, and old strategies in new ways, to get your open position in front of more prospective candidates in your community.

Active vs passive sourcing of candidates

It's an applicant's market. Those looking for employment have a plethora of open roles to choose from, and with employers offering competitive wages and benefits to entice applicants in, job seekers are always on the lookout for the best offer. What does that mean? Not only do you need to craft an enticing job description that highlights the unique benefits of working for your business, but you also need to make sure as many people see it as possible. 

There are two strategies for sourcing applicants: passive and active. Passive sourcing means you post a job listing and wait for prospective employees to apply. There was a time when this low-lift approach was all it took to fill your applicant pool and staff your business. But in today's job market, posting a job listing without actively promoting it is akin to chopping down a tree in a forest—did anyone even see it? 

Businesses today must take a more active approach to sourcing applicants to ensure their job listing gets in front of as many eyes as possible. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most common and most effective is the tried and true 'now hiring' sign. With applicant tracking systems (ATS), automation, and text technology transforming the hiring space, the 'now hiring' sign has evolved to be versatile and effective method for capturing applicants. 

The modern 'now hiring' sign 

QR codes and text-to-apply codes have transformed the 'now hiring' sign into a digital sourcing tool, despite often being a promotional poster in a business location. When used in conjunction with an ATS, these codes allow applicants to see your promotional material and begin their application on the spot from their phones. Their application is then automatically routed to your ATS, where you can begin the screening process. It's that easy. 

When you stop to consider that many of your potential job candidates are first attracted to your company as customers, it makes sense to post promotional materials at key locations throughout your business and its online presence.

Think of the different ways people interact with your company on a daily basis. And then use those same interactions for possible recruitment opportunities. 

  • Add a QR or text-to-apply code to the bottom of the receipts
  • Include small flyers in to-go or delivery orders  
  • Feature posters on countertops in guest rooms
  • Place ads on screen before the movie trailers  

Adapt your approach to the nuances of your particular business or industry. Play on your customers’ genuine interest in your company while also giving them a closer look into all the reasons why it’s such a great place to work. 

Take your recruitment strategy into your community

Placing your 'now hiring' signs and QR or text-to-apply codes throughout your business's physical location is a great way to attract applicants from your customer base, but don't stop there. Your future employees will likely live in your community, so promote your open job listings  in other places where friends and neighbors gather: 

  • Post your posters to community boards at coffee shops, apartment buildings, gyms, gas stations, and more
  • Place promotional materials on the job boards at your local college, university, or technical/trade schools
  • Pass out fliers at local sporting events, farmers’ markets, concerts,
    arts festivals, or other community events
  • Sponsor community events to ensure attendees see your job listing 

Ask your current employees to share your posters, business cards, flyers, and QR codes with their friends and family. When (and if) you can, motivate them with referral bonuses and other incentives for helping out with your efforts.

Boost your online presence to reach more applicants

Studies indicate up to 58% of consumers follow brands through social media. Similarly, 59% of employees cite a company’s social media presence as a big reason why they chose it as their workplace. But it’s not just about awareness. 

Social media is a great way for businesses to host job listings, reach out to prospects, get people to refer candidates via posts, and research applicants. Some tactics you can employ to use social media as a recruiting tool include:

  • Post to Facebook groups for your community or related interests
  • Post ads on Craigslist or other similar online classified ad sites 
  • Share on the Nextdoor app, or other community-based apps

Build up the online presence of your business on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter to source candidates and attract applicants. Find tips for increasing your social media sophistication and know-how here.

Once you’ve got your recruitment strategy in place, bring it all together with an ATS like Workstream to help streamline the entire process—from posting initial job vacancies and creating custom text-to-apply posters to completing new-hire paperwork. 




Workstream is a hiring platform that helps employers get 4x the number of qualified applicants. The world's most trusted brands use Workstream to optimize job board postings, automate screening and interview scheduling, communicate via text message, and streamline the onboarding/training process. See what all the buzz is about by scheduling a demo or email us info@workstream.is!

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