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Finding New Staff

In Search of a Job Applicant

The good news is sales are increasing. In spite of the opening of one of those super stores in front of the mall in the next town, you are experiencing a solid growth in sales this year.

The bad news is you now need some additional sales help. Just driving around town, looking at the signs in the windows of businesses, as well as those businesses who have the changeable letter signs, you will see as many "help wanted" signs as you will see "store hours" signs.

The situation could be described as desperate when you see those large banners strapped to the roof of a fast food restaurant offering a $200 bonus for applicants who "sign on" with the burger place.

Judging from the service you have gotten in many of these places, you are confident the only test administered to their applicants is to place a mirror under their nose to make sure they are breathing. And yet, your business has built a reputation on providing service, and having knowledgeable employees for your customers.

But where are you going to find this one employee you need, and how can you do so without spending a lot of money to advertise or a lot of time interviewing prospects?

Before you decide the situation is bleak, and you start looking for ways to drive your sales back to their former level, there are a couple of alternatives.

One dealer shared with us a technique he discovered the last time our economy experienced booming sales. He created business cards for all of his staff. He took the old design of his card and made the appropriate changes to create the new cards. Every person had a card which included their photograph. Each of the employees had a title. The back of each card also had information about the business.

These three steps were important as he had read where research showed people would hand out twice as many cards when their photo was on them. The title was necessary as it encouraged his staff to have pride in what they did. And, the back of the card had an imprint for without it, the back of a business card becomes the necessary notepad for the grocery list or other "need to do" list.

As he distributed the appropriate box of cards to each employee during a staff meeting, he explained their purpose and the incentive for using them.

Now, when one of his employees was shopping in another business, they would be on the lookout for those individuals which still gave quality service. Whether it was in the grocery store, at the gas station, or the drive thru window at the fast food restaurant, these people were the subject of the "man-hunt".

Upon receiving the quality service, the employee then pulled one of their cards from their wallet or purse, and handed the card to the "candidate".

Their short presentation went something like this, "You know, you have been awfully nice to me today and I greatly appreciate that. My boss told me I should always be on the lookout for someone like you".

"I don't know if you are happy with your job; you seem to be. But if you are looking or just interested, the boss is looking for someone new to come and join us. Let me give you my card. If you are interested, give him a call. If not, you may know another sharp person such as yourself. Or then again, you may just throw this card away. But, thanks for being so kind."

Wow! What a pitch. If you were to receive such a card, even if you are not looking for a job, wouldn't you want to go look at the bookstore just to see what kind of people worked there?

But the incentive is where it really worked. If an applicant were to walk into the store and told of the business card referral, the "signing bonus" was paid to the employee who found the sharp person. It was however, paid after the new employee had worked at least 90 days.

There were two reasons for this angle. The first is that most people, if they are unhappy with a new job, will leave within the first 3 months. The second reason is that the original employee now has a financial interest in making sure this employee stays around.

Can't you see the new employee being constantly spoken to by the long term employee to make sure they are doing their job correctly and enjoying their new work place?

In addition to the manhunt technique, this progressive and aggressive retailer had several favorite sources of potential employees which he maintained close contact with. The first was the local chapter of the AARP (American Association of Retired People). One of their objectives is to assist local retirees in finding full or part time work. One of the difficulties in accomplishing this was the need to persuade the business world a retiree was worthy of hiring.

As our retailer did not need to be persuaded, he found the AARP representatives made a point of working very hard to constantly provide him with applicants. They even called him occasionally asking if he could take a new employee as they had found a "very sharp" person.

There were three other organizations he approached. One was the DECA program from the nearby high school. This is a distributive education program which gives class room credit to students who excel at their part time job. The employer is even required to help complete the report card. Again, by wanting to participate in the program, our dealer received preferred treatment.

Our retailer now has only one question to deal with; instead of putting one of those giant "help wanted" banners across the front of his shop, what could he advertise on the banner to bring in more customers. In search of a job applicant? Only occasionally with this dealer, but he sure knows where and how to hunt.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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