Construction Marketing

Five Reasons Why You Have a Labor Shortage

With our experience with a variety of blue-collared industries, we can point out the five key factors that getting suitable high-level applicants all boils down to.

Estimated Read Time:  7 minutes


construction worker team hands shaking after hiring after labor shortage

Facing a labor shortage? What do you think are the real reasons people struggle to hire great applicants? Or let’s say you’re getting applicants but not the best hires. So you launch all-out, pile in money into LinkedIn, Indeed, or Facebook Ads, to let everyone know about your job and to implore them to apply, but then they delay in response, and you’re left to wonder, ‘Are these the right people?’

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We’ve talked to many folks, dug into their processes, and realized that much more than the final hiring, it’s about the entire process. The final hiring takes a massive chunk of this, but the problem starts before hiring and extends beyond it. It’s a combination of adding the folks you need and keeping the folks you have to ensure that you can continue excelling in your business. 

Zeroing in on ‘getting more applicants’ when the company’s recruitment process is wrong is more like putting more raw materials into a machine with functional problems! And you’ll find that some people don’t respond even when you go out there and ask. 

So because it’s YOUR business, you’re on these job boarding platforms from dawn to dusk, or sending emails sporadically to them. And still, applicants aren’t responding well enough! With our experience with a variety of blue-collared industries, we can point out the five key factors that getting the suitable high-level applicants all boils down to:

1. Your Communication Format

How are you reaching out and engaging with applicants and potential employees? The main forms that most hiring agents use to communicate with their applicants are as follows:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Text

And we’ve found, that out of all the communication options that exist out there, texting is the most effective. And one of the most beautiful things about the text message format is that you can do a lot with it. 

Young man texting on his cellphone receives an offer from business facing a labor shortage

You can literally boost your process by texting applicants as soon as they apply. The reason that text communication is so effective is that many folks applying for such jobs are not heavy email users. If they’re not really on top of their emails, they won’t notice when you’re reaching out to them. So you find some awesome guys, and you’re emailing them for two days straight, but on getting no response, you count them out. 

But remember, these guys don’t sit on LinkedIn the way you do. And it’s not fair to hold their lack of response somewhere they don’t usually hang out against them. There’s just that gap between the office and the field, and a crucial part of that is how we communicate with each other. 

2. Best Practices

While there are folks who want to hire but don’t have an HR background or a recruiting background, it is still important to learn these best recruiting practices to get the best results. For example, when you post a job, you need to think of your job description as a marketing piece and communicate all the benefits of your company or position. 

Remember these tips when creating your job listings:

  • Make your job post very easy to scan.
  • Remember that you get applicants based on the tone and content of your ads. If your listing is dry and complacent, you’ll get the same apathetic and uncurious guys coming by.
  • Mention the exciting stuff applicants stand to gain by working with you. **You’d need to ensure that all the perks come after the important reasons they were initially meant to read your post.

You can’t expect applicants to read your mind; so you have to put it all out there. You have to turn it all inside-out if you’d get the really good guys coming. Of course, doing so may be uncomfortable sometimes, but the top applicants won’t see the need to come by without you being as detailed as possible about the position. 

Some recruiters complain that some applicants are transactional in their approach. So they join your company and leave in no time for a $25 pay increase offer. The question is, what are you doing to make your job post not sound transactional? What makes yours different from other bland job posts they’re used to? 

What makes your company worth sticking to when others come with an added 25 cents. Here at Hook Agency, for example, we make it known to applicants that were open to underdogs, once being underdogs into the job market ourselves. We’re open to talking to you, whatever your race, gender, or sexual orientation might be. 

Yours doesn’t have to go this way, but show some heart at least! If you don’t want to sound flat on your job posts, then add some color to them! There are a thousand and one ways to go about this if you think creatively.

And we understand that sometimes, it feels terrible when you try every possible way but still can’t get the right people to apply. However, every negative experience has the seed of an opportunity that might be the best thing that ever happened to your company if it breaks open.

3. Running Automation

Instead of reaching out to applicants manually and waiting for their response, how much faster do you think their response would be if you had reached out as if they were an inbound lead? This is where automation comes in. 

Automation can help you ensure that the best practices we have discussed are happening consistently, over an effective format like text messaging – but it also makes sure those things are happening FAST! So you’ll get better results than you would have if you were sending out job posts every two to three days. It’s excellent to treat your applicants like they’re your leads

Ask yourself, ‘What would I do if this was business? If it was a lead. Think about how your funnel should work; speed and best practices in that funnel, and apply that to your hiring process. That in itself unlocks a lot of success.

sales funnel concept to apply to hiring in order to combat labor shortage

4. Diversifying your Sources

You may have a way or two of getting effective leads, but you don’t necessarily want to settle for the same specific job channels all the time. You typically want to spread your wings. We see this with a lot of companies. Because job boards are so easy to use—you only post your job and get applicants directly, they tend to depend on them as their sole source of applicants. 

Job boards are great and can be effective; they just aren’t sufficient. Only active job seekers spend their time on job boards if you think about it. But in a constrained labor market like ours, you have to get your open positions in front of different audiences. Actually, the competent guys you need are probably not scrolling their day away through Indeed to see what’s available. 

So you have to find ways to expand your audience to reach guys currently working other jobs. Whether online or offline, active or passive job seekers, you have to reach all of them.

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5. Referrals

Referrals are awesome because they come pre-vetted in many cases. And you tend to have better longevity and workflow when you allow your employees to work with friends as a team. Many companies build referral programs with bonuses. And we’ve found that constraints on getting more referrals generally fall into two categories. 

  1. Keeping the desire for referrals top in the mind of your workforce. Because, again, it’s an internal marketing problem 
  2. Getting the referrals to be actual applicants that you can review. So it’s preferable to just get their names and numbers from your employees, rather than getting them to fill a two-page document that asks where you went to high school! The goal is to set up a process to make sure your referrals take immediate action on getting to you. 

You too can get a high-performing workforce. Even if you think it’s an applicant problem, we’d be excited to discuss it. You’d be stunned to see how running on automation, embedding best practices and text messages, and diversifying your sources can allow you to put your hiring and retention on autopilot and get your company the best of the best out there!

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