Finding qualified candidates is incredibly difficult. Even if you attract good applicants, there's so much back-and-forth to get them on the interview schedule. Then there are the no-shows, mistake hires, and high turnover rates. Plus you have to be cognizant of constantly changing laws - are you asking the right questions in the interview? Did you collect all the necessary paperwork to ensure workers are legally able to work for you? We understand your frustrations.
That's why we compiled this Ultimate Guide to Sourcing, Interviewing and Onboarding Hourly Employees. We also share various tips and tricks for an interview to avoid common pitfalls that many encounter, and discuss on how to construct a job description that clearly conveys your expectations. Additionally, this guide covers how to streamline your processes to save you time.
Table of Contents
Identifying Who to Hire
Know Your CAPS
Finding the right hourly employee is no easy feat. Many businesses make the mistake of hiring anyone with a pulse. Businesses should always aim to find quality candidates, people who have the required skills, experience, a positive attitude, and integrity.
First you need to establish what the ideal candidate looks like. Remember CAPS:
- Capacities - the physical and mental requirements to do the job
- Attitudes - customer service skills, dependability, etc.
- Personality - the traits needed such as temperament and assertiveness
- Skills - what is required to perform well on the job
Acquiring this information won’t take long. Simply look at what is currently required for the job positions you have. What does it take to carry out the duties of these jobs? What are the skill sets required to perform the job successfully? What kind of attitude and personality would one need to possess not just to perform the job, but also fit into the culture of the business?
Design a Job Description
To construct a job description that conveys your expectations clearly is no easy feat. Since you’ve identified the type of employee you need, it’ll take no more than 30 minutes to fit design a good job description.
Job descriptions are designed to be a useful, plain-language tool that explains the key responsibilities and expectations of a position while keeping it concise. Indeed has found that job descriptions that are between 700 to 2,000 characters receive up to 30% more applicants.
Although the structure of the job description may vary from company to company, they should all be standardized with the same appearance.
Here are the essentials to include when constructing your job description:
- Job title - name of the position
- Salary grade - compensation levels, including minimum and maximum pay
- Position type and expected hours of work - define if the position is full time or part time, typical work hours and shifts, days of week, and whether overtime is expected
- Expected start date - date in which you expect the employee to be available to start
- Key responsibilities - communicate the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the employee
- Competency - the type of skills and abilities that the employee requires to perform the tasks of the job
- Work environment - describe the type of work environment that the employee would be working in such as if it is in an outdoor environment etc.
- Physical demands - describe the physical demands of the job, including bending, sitting, lifting and driving
- Required education and experience - include if the candidate must have a certain level of education or experience based on requirements that are job-related
- Additional eligibility qualifications - any additional requirements such as certifications, industry-specific experience and the experience working with certain equipment (e.g. forklift operations, short-order cook, phone operations)
- Affirmative action plan / equal employment opportunity (AAP/EEO) statement - include here that you are an equal opportunity employer. Other similar statements and communications should be included in your hiring packet or employee handbook
Once you’ve completed your analysis on the type of employee you are searching for, and tailored a job description for this role, you’re ready to look for candidates to fill this vacant spot.
Know Where to Look
Candidates for hourly employment are everywhere, but why is it so difficult to find them? In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% of the US workforce, or roughly 78 million Americans are now paid on an hourly basis. Often, we find it difficult to reach out to these people but truly, we are just not looking in the right places.
There are six main channels of reaching out to these potential candidates - (1) employee referrals, (2) company website, (3) job boards, (4) walk-ins, (5) social media, and (6) local advertising.
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are the largest workforce in the US. These millennials are the ones that are constantly on social media - Facebook, Instagram and many more. Businesses who tap into these social channels strategically will be able to find a wealth of qualified candidates.
Here are five tips, by order of importance, for finding quality hourly employees:
- Go Social - Be strategic with copywriting and the places you place your job search ads. You can form or join specific groups to increase the quality of your applicants. For example, you can form “Coffee Experts in San Francisco” to search for baristas, or “Hostess with the Mostest in Redwood City”, to attract hourly employees for your restaurant.
- Go with Referrals - Businesses tend to prefer candidates through referrals as they trust the good employees to recommend someone that is similar to them. Building up a strong referral program with incentives will help to increase your inflow of quality candidates.
- Go Postal - Get in the habit of posting, or delegating this task, a job available everyday on top internet sites such as Craigslist, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. By consistently posting and re-posting your job ads daily, you may be able to move up the lists and stay fresh in the eyes of the job seeker. Play around with the creativity of your job search ads while being concise.
- Go to the Fair - Local job fairs are time-consuming and costly, but can sometimes be worth it. If the timing and location of the organized job fair is right, you will be able to attract the right candidates for the role. Your team should be ready to speak to those that express interest. Prepare packages with your company’s information or some swag to attract people to your booth. When Boston Beer, maker of Sam Adams attended a job fair, they handed out bottle openers with their name on them.
- Go Back to School - Some local schools may put on job fairs too, but aside from those, visit high schools and community colleges in your area and ask where you can post information about your company. Most universities and some high schools allow you to place information in a designated location where students can find job ads at. Be creative with your ads and company literature. Remember, you are competing with so many other businesses as well.
Just as with fishing, you have to go where the fish are - or where you think they will be going. Job candidates can be a slippery bunch. Use these five tips to reel them in and keep them.
The hourly workers space can be very competitive. In order to attract the suitable hourly workers, the business has to appear presentable. Making your business more attractive to those seeking employment will help you stand out above the noise of so many more hustling to latch onto hourly candidates.
To attract and retain quality hourly employees, you must first develop what is known as Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which is a fancy term defining the total value an employer offers to their employees in return for their work. It is more than compensation and benefits, or tangible rewards, but a mix of tangible and intangible rewards such as great company culture, flexible hours, proper training etc.
Here are four things to consider when trying to appear attractive in the hourly space:
- Be Positive - Creating a positive work environment is key to retaining your employees. You can start off with the use of positive reinforcement in your workplace. Start off with using words like “I enjoy working with you”, or “You’ve done a great job! I’m proud of you”, can go a long way to motivate and engage your employees. This sends the message that your business is a positive and fun place to work. Through word-of-mouth, this will spread. A typical social conversation among potential candidates can easily revolve around work, and it will not be surprising that your company pops up as a topic since it is known to have a positive work environment.
- Implement Creative Compensation - Do more than simply offer a better paycheck than your competitors. Come up with creative incentives that appeal more to your employees. You can opt to give movie tickets or concert tickets as rewards and bonuses.
- Develop Great Culture - Company culture is an important factor in determining the turnover rate of your employees - it is about the theme or interwoven thread that runs through the business. A good culture is welcoming, interesting and one that listens to their employees. To develop a good company culture, you’ll have to understand your employees so that you can appeal to them.
- Install Opportunities for Work Life Balance - Everyone values work life balance. Try to offer flexibility in your work schedules such that your employees are able to accommodate time for their family, school or any other commitments. If one has been working on a night shift this week, you can offer them a day shift for the following week so that they will be able to spend time with their families too.
Preparation, Profiling and Promotion
Like many important things in life, interviewing job candidates for your business should begin with a plan. You can’t just call in someone interested in the position and chat for 10 to 15 minutes without an aim in mind. To start off, you can list out what are the things that you would like to find out at the end of the chat and what determines if a candidate is successful.
There are three main categories that you will want to be sure to cover in the interview:
- Availability - Scheduling can be extremely challenging especially with many employees. Aim to find out what the candidate expects of his or her work schedules. You can ask questions like:
Are you available to work weekends?
Are you available to work on holidays?
Are you able to work the night shift?
What other commitments do you have?
Do you have any preferred schedule for your work hours?
- Retention - Turnovers are expensive and time-consuming. When you find a good employee, you will probably want to try to keep them for a long time. You can determine the candidate’s intentions by asking the following:
How long did you stay at your last job?
Why did you leave that job?
What are some of the things that would make you stay at this job if you get hired?
Where do you see yourself a year from now?
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Conflict Resolution - Employees who work well together are more engaged in their work and therefore more productive. Of course, not everyone will get along well all the time, and when that happens, you will want to know that your employees can be mature and professional in these situations. You can get an idea of the way the candidate deals with conflict with these questions:
- How do you handle stress while at work?
- Have you ever had a conflict (confrontation, arguing, disagreeing), with any co-workers before?
- How did you handle the aforementioned conflict?
- Can you tell me a situation where you resolved a conflict at your last job?
- What do you think is the best action to take when you have conflict with a co-worker?
You may need to brainstorm for other questions that fit your particular industry. Aim to keep your questions open-ended for them to express themselves. Some of the questions that you should avoid include:
- Race or ethnicity
- Gender identity, sex and sexual orientation
- Country of national origin or birthplace
- Marital or family status or pregnancy
You can refer to our interview guide here on the best and worst questions to ask an applicant.
Building a Profile
Interviewing job candidates is 25% art, 25% skill, and 50% listening. Taking note of their answers in the interview is one thing, but taking note of the way they deliver their answers is another. Are they confident? Do they articulate well in their communication skills?
You should have these items ready so that you can refer to them if you need to. They include:
- Job description
- Pay range for position
- Work schedule candidate is expected to fill
- Benefits offered
- Candidate’s resume
- Testimonies from current employees
Based on the interview that you have with the candidate, you can quickly build a profile of this person which helps you visualize better if they could be potential candidate.
The interview process isn’t just about learning more about the job candidate. It is also a time for you to promote your business. This is where employee testimonies, customer feedback, and community activity awards prove helpful. Share with the candidate about how your company celebrates employee birthdays, have annual picnics, provide creative perks, and promote the advancement of employee careers. You want to keep a good job candidate with your company and not lose them to the competition. Take this time to explain all of the many benefits of working at your organization.
Onboarding Hourly Employees
Often referred to as organization socialization or employee orientation, onboarding is simply the introduction phase of the employee lifecycle. For many years, businesses have stuck to the handed down, unproven rule that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. This means that the faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the company’s mission and goals.
As mentioned earlier, the employee experience you create will get shared with the employee’s peers, family, friends, and their social media following. This development of a program for a great employee experience should start from before the employee is hired. One of the most important phases in the lifecycle of an employee is the onboarding phase.
On average, companies lose 17% of their new hires during the first three months of employment. Without a good and structured onboarding process, an employee may flounder and perform poorly, not because of a lack of skills and talents, but because of a lack of knowledge of the company’s values, mission, and processes.
We compiled an employee orientation checklist to guide you through this process.
How to Onboard
Onboarding is a process that should be conducted for every employee. Using a standardized method each time will help you remain consistent and keep all employees on the same page regarding where the company is heading and how the company expects to get there. One helpful tool used by many organizations that provide successful onboarding is called the Four C’s. These are:
- Compliance - this the base requirement in onboarding your employees and it includes teaching them basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations
- Clarification - ensure that you communicate clearly on the key responsibilities and expectations of the employee in this role. It is important to let new hires know how their job functions fit into the organization. This allows them to know how they are able to contribute to the success of the organization by giving them a sense of contributing to a greater cause.
- Culture - exposing your employees to your organizational formal and informal norms help them fit into the company with less friction. This helps them develop a sense of belonging to the company at a faster rate.
- Connection - this refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish. Companies like Google heavily emphasize on the importance of onboarding that it uses an electronic checklist to remind managers to discuss the roles and responsibilities with new hires. You can create a similar list or assign a new hire with a peer buddy to show them the ropes and start off the journey with a good experience.
Use the Guide, Trust Your Instincts
Hiring hourly employees is not an easy task. It is even more difficult when a business or particular industry is prone to high turnover rates. The goal of this guide is to ease the pain and frustration typically experienced when trying to hire new hourly employees into the organization. By following the tips and information provided, we are confident that you will have a better and more successful hiring journey for years to come!
Desirene is a marketer and content-writer of Workstream. She has been with the Workstream team for over a year and is based in Singapore.