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5 ways to find new staff

Most tradies say it’s hard to find good workers. So, if you have too much work, how do you find more skilled staff to grow your business? Next Level Tradie business coach Daniel Fitzpatrick spills the beans

Tradespeople are hard to find, especially when unemployment is at 3.3% for the June quarter, according to Stats NZ. However, there is light at the tunnel, because, even in a shortage, there will always be good people who are looking around. Take a look at your competitors and you’ll see some of them have bigger teams. If they can find good staff, so can you.

So let’s begin!

1. Don't wait - the time will never be just right

The sooner you start looking, the more likely you are to find someone – and if at first you don’t succeed, try again!

One of my clients, a builder, had been looking for a salesperson for many months. They finally found someone but, three days later, he quit! They were gutted to say the least.

Unfortunately, it was only a few weeks till Christmas and they were heading into a quiet time. Waiting until the new year seemed logical. However, after talking it through, we decided it was better to try again immediately.

Then they found John, who has been a real star for the business. He has consistently sold almost twice as much as any of the other reps – sales have literally gone through the roof! If they hadn’t kept advertising when they did, they wouldn’t have found him.

2. If you pay peanuts. you get monkeys

Good staff know what they are worth. Don’t worry, the good ones will always earn you back way more that they cost you.

If hiring someone at a higher rate means jobs will be done right – with fewer call backs and less stress – that will free up time to grow your business. It’s worth it.

Also consider what benefits you offer. Ask yourself: why would this job be more attractive than anything else out there? Are current employees happy with the benefits you provide? Ask them for feedback and new ideas.

It might be as simple as free breakfast once a week over a toolbox talk, the flexibility to leave early occasionally if the job is done, or financial incentives when staff meet targets. Or maybe it’s a generous tool allowance, the latest iPhone or Samsung work phone, a uniform allowance, or a company vehicle. There are plenty of options out there.

3. Your vibe attracts your tribe

Look at the latest ads on TradeMe or Seek and you’ll find most are demanding and boring. Who wants to work for a company that has a high list of demands and no benefits?

Right now, there are about 50 ads that read the same: “Landscaper wanted. Must have own tools, transport, be hardworking, experienced and able to work unsupervised. Apply now.”

Here’s the deal – if you want to attract great applicants, you must have a great ad, right? Visualise the best team member you have on board right now. What ad would attract another just like them?

Put some personality into the ad, too. Make the ad friendly, talk about what you offer and how you really look after your staff. Make sure it reflects your vibe and how you operate.

Think about what kind of company you want to be. How do you want your team to feel about you? What makes you unique? Are you about precision and high standards? An easygoing team that has a lot of fun? Or serious about work/life balance? Are you a growing professional level company that dominates your niche?

Reflecting on your company will not only help you curate the right job ad – it will ensure the person who applies likes your team’s vibe. There’s no point in attracting a great employee if your vision doesn’t align and they end up leaving.

Also, make it easy for prospective employees to apply. Some tradies are not great with paperwork, so a phone call might be better in some cases. Of course, if it’s an admin, sales or supervisor position, you will still want a proper CV.

4. Think outside the box

First, ask around. Some of your best hires will come from word of mouth. One way to quickly get the word out is to set aside a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon, shout pizza and get your team to message friends and post on social media. Use the time to reach out to your contacts and do the same.

If you’re trying to reach under 50s – or any age for that matter – you’ll want to list your ad online. TradeMe or Seek is a good place to start and don’t forget to post any vacancies

on your Facebook business page and in local groups.

What about taking on an apprentice as part of the plan? They take a bit of work in the beginning, but in a few years they’ll be fully trained in your way of doing things.

Also, always field test applicants. Things to check are: Are they punctual? Can they think for

themselves? Are they willing to learn?

Can they follow instructions? Are they honest? Attention to detail? Remember, skills can be taught, but attitude can’t. Also, don’t discount female or mature age apprentices either!

Also consider recruitment agencies. This route might cost a bit more but they often have a pool of workers ready to start now on short-term or long-term contracts. As long as you

have good margin on jobs and can afford to pay a bit extra, this can be a good option.

Depending on your trade and what you are looking for, some immigration and recruitment

agencies are sourcing highly skilled overseas workers from places like South Africa or the UK. Talk with them to see what options are available.

An engineering firm I worked with had a staff of around 20 welders. Around half of these were hired from other countries. It worked for them and it might work for you.

5. If you change the way you look at thing, the things you look at will change

I was speaking with a business owner recently, who was looking for drivers. Their comment was “you just can’t get drivers”. I know there are not many around, but to say you can’t find drivers ever? That’s going to trip you up.

We talked it through, made the job ad more appealing, got interview questions ready and threw the dice.

A few weeks later, they’d been receiving much better quality applications. The guy they hired

told them in the interview “I kept going back to your ad. I just couldn’t go past it. I really want to work for a company like yours. So here I am.”

The bottom line is this: If you have the right hiring process, you can still find excellent people, even in a difficult market.

Go for it! You might be surprised who you find. It could be the next gamechanger for your business and your sanity.

Want help to grow your business and your profits to the next level? Book a complimentary online call with me here:

Trades business coach Daniel Fitzpatrick has been helping tradies increase profits and win back their weekends since 2010.

Need some help to get your team performing at the highest level? Book a free strategy chat with Next Level Tradie director Daniel Fitzpatrick here:


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