Attracting Next-Gen Talent to Blue-Collar Jobs

December 3, 2021

If you’re searching for skilled workers to fill blue-collar positions, you’ve already got your work cut out for you.

The labor market for blue-collar positions is tightening, and attracting new talent is harder than ever. More companies are fighting the talent shortage, finetuning their recruitment strategies, and posting new jobs. But where’s all the talent to fill them?

If you’re a victim of the blue-collar drought, you’re not alone. In 2018, 80 percent of construction firms found it challenging to drive new talent, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this radical shift in blue-collar recruitment. On top of that, older skilled workers are retiring, and younger people are pursuing four-year degrees. Today, it’s harder to find blue-collar workers than white-collar workers, reversing a decades-long trend in the U.S. job market.

So, how do you successfully drive next-gen talent?

You need to hire enough workers to combat high attrition rates and maintain everyday business. You also need to hire skilled workers to prepare for the peak season. How can you find qualified candidates to fill those open roles quickly?


It’s Time To Rethink Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

When it comes to talent acquisition, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work anymore. You can’t just keep using the same strategy to fill blue-collar positions that you’ve always been used to find blue-collar talent. What happened? 

Until just a few years ago, it wasn’t necessary to tweak your strategy for blue-collar recruitment. Before then, most companies were getting more than enough applicants for their open positions. Now, with more companies fighting for fewer skilled candidates than ever before, you don’t have the luxury of sorting through countless applications.

To attract more candidates to your job postings—and hire the right people for the job—you’ll need to rethink your strategy. The recruitment process isn’t company-centered anymore, and more organizations are adopting a candidate-centered approach to drive next-gen talent. To thrive in the digital age, organizations need to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of their blue-collar candidates. What does that mean for your company?

It’s simple: You need to think carefully about where you can meet your ideal candidate. What channels are they using? When you look at traditional job platforms like LinkedIn, it’s not surprising that your average blue-collar worker doesn’t have a strong presence. But when you go to Facebook or Instagram, you have countless opportunities to reach new talent. 



Use Social Media to Drive Next-Gen Talent

You know where to find your ideal candidates. But how can you reach them? According to 2021 social media recruitment data, 70 percent of managers have had success recruiting candidates on social media. Still not convinced that you need social media? Over 84 percent of organizations are already recruiting via social media, with another 9 percent planning to do so. What’s more, 85 percent of employers said that social media helps them engage passive candidates.

In such a competitive labor market, how can you stand out from the crowd and attract the right candidates?

You’ll need to cut through the noise, capture their attention, and captivate them with a great job offer. Here’s how:


1. Establish Your Employer Brand

Branding isn’t just a marketing buzzword anymore. When done right, branding can be a powerful recruitment strategy. Whether you’re using it to your advantage or not, you already have an employer brand. So, how can you use your brand to attract qualified talent?

You’ll need to pinpoint what unique company perks or benefits stand out about your organization. How does your company culture compare to the competition? 

Potential candidates want to learn about the types of people they’ll work with, the kind of experience they can expect on the job, and your company’s attitude toward blue-collar workers. Instead of telling employees how great your company is, you want to show them exactly why they choose you. Behind-the-scenes posts and employee stories are great ways to give potential candidates the answers they’re looking for.

Remember: Talent acquisition goes far beyond posting job openings via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It’s all about being proactive and authentic to cultivate relationships with your ideal candidates. A strong, candidate-centered employer brand sets the tone for success. It impacts a candidate’s perception of your culture, so it’s important to get it right.


2. Appeal to Your Ideal Candidate

After showing your employer brand some TLC, it’s time to identify your ideal candidates. What kind of job seekers do you want to attract with social media? By defining your ideal candidate, you’ll be able to target people who align with your company’s core competencies. So, start by evaluating your current employees to see what type of person you’re looking to attract.

Your employer brand will impact who applies for your job postings. Don’t be afraid to appeal to your ideal candidates’ interests, goals, motivations, and frustrations. Show them exactly what makes your organization a great place to work, how your company values its employees, and how your company can help them work toward their goals (i.e., apprenticeship programs, upskilling, employee benefits).

Ultimately, your corporate social media profiles give potential candidates a glimpse into your company culture, employee benefits, and company morale. These factors all help candidates determine whether your company is a good place to work—and it might just give passive candidates the nudge they need to enter your talent acquisition funnel.


3. Keep It Consistent

The secret to any successful social media campaign is consistency. Start by reviewing your current corporate social media habits: What type of content are you sharing? How often are you posting on social media? How many platforms are you using?

While you don’t have to update your Facebook profile or post Instagram Stories daily, you’ll want to ignite your followers’ interest and share what your people do on a regular basis. To keep track of different channels, create a content calendar. This way, you’ll be able to post consistently across different platforms with different types of content.

It won’t happen overnight, but posting consistently can help you build a platform that attracts skilled people. Then, you’ll be able to enjoy a steady stream of qualified applicants to your job postings. Optimize your website’s hiring page and watch your ideal candidates move from social media to your website—and then to your job postings. The more authentic your story is, the more qualified candidates you’ll attract.



Streamline the Recruitment Process

You’ve captivated your ideal candidates with compelling job postings that provoke curiosity. Now, you just need to give them the extra push they need to fill out the job application and schedule an interview. Sounds simple, right?

Unfortunately, this is where countless organizations let interested candidates slip away. Long, complex hiring processes are barriers for applicants across every single industry and role.

Especially when so many companies are competing for the same candidates, streamlining the recruitment process is more important than ever. By making the process easier, you can evaluate applications quicker and find the right person for the job sooner.


1. Re-Evaluate Your Evaluation Methods

Although there are exceptions, most blue-collar positions don’t require a university degree. In other words, traditional personality tests and cognitive measures might create obstacles for some candidates, especially if they’re not tech-savvy. As a result, you might be losing out on qualified candidates before they even submit their applications.

You still want to evaluate your applicants before moving forward, so what do you do? Instead of traditional measures, take a more innovative route. Try using video interviews, work samples (e.g., paying an applicant to work with you for a day), or gamification to find the best people for the job. Gamification isn’t just a great way to streamline the hiring process—it can also help boost candidate engagement while testing their industry knowledge.


2. Create Mobile-Friendly Job Postings

Compared to other workers, blue-collar job seekers are more likely to use their phones to search for jobs. Consequently, promoting a job opening as mobile-friendly can increase the number of applicants by 11.6 percent at the expense of openings that aren’t mobile friendly. Basically, to keep up with next-gen candidates, you need to meet them where they are: on the go.

If you haven’t optimized your job postings or application forms for mobile devices, you could be sending skilled applicants straight to the competition. So, what are you waiting for?

If you’re not sure where to start, text recruiting and engagement is key. It offers an accelerated approach to communication with candidates. It’s also a quick way to share social links and draw more attention to your messaging. Think about it: When a candidate gets an SMS message from a company they applied to, they can reply within minutes. Then, they can quickly set up a telephone interview and schedule it in their smartphone calendar.



Start Finding the Right People for the Job

In a fiercely competitive labor market, more companies are competing for skilled workers than ever. It’s time to start rethinking your strategy so you can hire the best people for the job. Schedule a discovery call to strengthen your talent acquisition funnel and start attracting next-gen talent.

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