4 Creative Ways to Fill Jobs Fast


The good news is your business is growing! Maybe you landed a big client with labor intensive needs. Or maybe you had the winning bid for a major project. More business means more cash, which means more expansion and growth you can readily fund. The catch? You have LOTS of job openings to fill. Fast. Sound familiar?

If this situation hits home for you, know you’re not alone. Most businesses who rely on skilled workers face a chronic shortage of talent. A 2015 study from the National Association of Home Builders found that 70 percent of respondents are dealing with a shortage. A similar study from the Associated General Contractors found 86% of companies to be struggling to fill positions.

If you offer competitive pay and benefits, you should be able to attract and retain the right talent. Granted, you may need to get a little creative in your recruiting methods. The following 4 ideas will get your creative juices flowing…


Many of your prospective hires are parents who could use free (and fun) ways to entertain their kids. Daycare is the last thing they want to worry about while job-hunting. Why not help them kill two birds with one stone by holding a family friendly job fair at your facility?

Rent out some kid-friendly entertainment. You know—clowns, face painters, and bounce houses—that kind of a thing. Bring in your hiring managers for a few hours on the weekend to host an open interview day. That way, prospective hires no longer have to stress about what to do with the kiddos for that handful of hours! See our blog post for some basics on how to hold an open interview day. And liven up your efforts with these ideas:

  • Have employees host, answering questions from visitors
  • Provide tours of the worksite and demonstrations of typical projects to both parents and kids
  • Invite teachers from local technical and shop classes to show  various skills in trades fields to the kids
  • Ask local musicians to come out for a few hours of grooves (PR for them and ambiance for you—win win!)
  • Rent some local food trucks to come through with their catering—now we’re talkin’ about a local economy, right?
  • Post flyers in daycares, schools, churches, grocery stores
  • Send event information to local TV and radio networks
  • Promote the event to local Facebook groups

Setting up a job fair to be family friendly means you can promote your event to more venues. Anywhere kids might be who are both stoked about a bounce house and have a parent or two who is in a skilled trades field. The best part is, by offering the child care, you’re making your commitment to these new hires clear.


Check out your hometown’s event calendar and find opportunities to broadcast job openings to lots of people at once. If your company’s hometown is a football town, for instance, set up a stand at the next home game. Talk to parents about opportunities with your business. It’s always best to meet with people on their level when beginning a meaningful employment relationship.  

If your city has a big festival coming up, talk to the organizer about sponsoring a booth or putting an ad in the event program. Invite employees to get out for a few hours to hand out information on all the job openings, and talk about the perks of working for your company.

No matter what method of reaching applicants you choose, make the message clear. Talk about job openings, pay, benefits, and advancement opportunities, emphasizing your company’s edge. Direct folks to your business’s website or phone number, should they have more questions.


We can’t say enough good stuff about employee referrals…

If you have pressing talent needs, consider this: employee referrals are one of the fastest ways to fills open positionsKnowing that a talent shortage won’t stunt your company’s growth is worth the cost! Here are a few activities you can offer bonuses to employees for:

  • Referral who fill out an application
  • Referrals who attend an open interview event
  • Employees who share your job postings on social media
  • Referrals hired full or part-time

It is likely that your employees have skilled, reliable friends in the field. So get creative and generate referrals from within your current workforce. Ensuring that you are recruiting the quality hires to build a strong workforce couldn’t be easier!


OSHRM has some great creative recruiting ideas for filling jobs fast. We borrowed some of our favorite ones (that just so happen to start with the same letter):

  • Pipeline:  Maintain relationships with quality candidates
  • Publicity: Advertise yourself, host local events and programs, and make your company an active and engaged member of the community!
  • Pocket packet: Create a packet of information on our company. Include information on benefits, bonuses, advancement opportunities, etc. Keep these on hand during any networking opportunities and send some out to local chambers of commerce, career centers, technical schools, union chapters, etc..
  • Paper trail: Recruit a current employee to write for columns in your local paper. Have him or her talk about ways to advance in a career, how to find your first job, do’s and don’t’s of interviewing, etc. Brainstorm a series of topics that would be helpful for the local working class.
  • Postcards: Send postcards, emails, or drop a line to candidates you haven’t reached out to in a while. Keep that relationship alive!

For companies who are primary employers of the local working class, maintaining relationships is key. Meet your people on their level—at local events and festivals or by hosting family friend events. Make your company an active, engaged member of the community! These connections will serve you well when your talent needs surge and you have a rich pool of skilled talent from which to recruit.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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Ask These 5 Questions the Next Time You Interview Job Candidates


Hiring the right candidate is the most important part of building a skilled workforce to support your company’s growth. How are HR professionals ensuring they’re bringing in the right talent? Typically, they dissect the resume, contact resume references and speak with previous employers. But the fact still stands: you never really know who you’re hiring until they start the job.  

That’s why interview questions are such an important part of the hiring process. It’s your best opportunity to really get to know the candidate and make sure they’re a good fit for the job. The key is that you have to ask the right questions and listen for the right (and wrong) responses. The following 5 questions can help you gauge whether or not the applicant is a fit:


Someone who really wants the job will make an effort to learn about the nature of the company and position. Sure, you aren’t conducting a formal corporate interview, but this question is still appropriate. After all, jobs in the skilled trades require a particular skill set and work ethic. Don’t you want someone who not only possesses the talent but is at least little psyched about your company?

If a candidate doesn’t have a good answer to the question, he or she is likely not a good fit.


This is a telling interview question to ask candidates. It can clue you into whether the prospect actually enjoys their line of work, or just wants to get paid. And why does this matter? Simple: happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy ones. And productivity increases your bottom line. You want to know whether the candidate actually enjoys what they do for a living.

“…happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”-Jonha Revesencio

Do they enjoy performing the basic functions of the job? Do they get satisfaction out of reaching goals and completing projects? Do they like working as part of a team? Ask them what they do and don’t like about their line of work. Their answer will give you an idea of their level of commitment to performing good work.

The last thing you want is a bad attitude that negatively affects the rest of your team. Odds are if the applicant doesn’t genuinely enjoy his vocation, his poor attitude is going screw things up on the worksite.


Absenteeism is a huge problem in any industry. It is an especially relevant problem in industrial sectors, where project timing is contingent upon the strength and reliability of the workforce. When workers fail to show up, the whole company suffers. Co-workers who are forced to compensate are over-worked, and probably pretty ticked off about it. In fact, the negative consequences of absenteeism range from reduced productivity and workforce morale to safety issues (as inadequately trained workers have to fill in). Asking this question can clue you into whether or not the applicant is reliable.

“Absenteeism costs U.S. companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, wages, poor quality of goods/services and excess management time.”-Jean Folger

Take note of the right and wrong responses. Aside from serious illness, car trouble or a family emergency, there are few acceptable excuses for not showing up.


This question will weed out the applicants who don’t handle disagreements well. This is important because you want workers who can handle sticky situations cooperatively. Individuals who have handled conflict in a civil manner will be confident and comfortable speaking to their ability to work well on a team to solve conflicts.

On the flipside, candidates who don’t “play nice” will likely reveal themselves. And teamwork does in fact make the dream work, doesn’t it?


This tends to be an awkward question for most applicants but it’s a great one to ask. It’s never a bad idea to give candidates a direct opportunity to pitch their skills and experience. Their answer will show how confident they are in their abilities. This is perhaps one of the simplest questions that can indicate whether or not he or she is a winner.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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Guest Blog: Recruiting Trends for Craft Labor and the Effect on HR Departments

The most recent recessive economy, coupled with the focused push by our educational system toward 4-year degrees, has left the nation with significant gaps in our craft labor talent pool. By some accounts, the construction industry downsized its personnel by 30% or more compared to staffing levels from a few years ago.

Trends in craft labor recruiting are revealing shortages in a number of key areas. The top five trade workers in demand for the next five years include laborers, heavy equipment operators, carpenters, and ironworkers. At the same time, the top five trade workers that will be hardest to find include: heavy equipment operators, welders (boilermakers), carpenters, pipefitters, and ironworkers.

Human Resource departments must become the prime engine supporting a company’s growth, through effective talent acquisition. This means most HR departments must change the way they are thinking. Our nation’s current skilled labor demands require that they adjust their traditional methods of recruitment and retention to attract the talent they need.

Rick Clevette, Sr. VP Human Resources for M.A. Mortenson Company stated that: “He who controls craft, wins.” This trend is demonstrated by the projected shortfalls in craft labor based on our most recent historical averages. In 2008, 3.8% of the construction workforce was in the oil and gas industry. In 2012, that percentage climbed to 6.4%. It is projected that in 2017, 10% of the construction workforce will be directly related to the oil and gas industry in the United States.

“He who controls craft wins.”-Rick Clevette

The competitive challenges for companies and HR departments are dramatically more challenging than in the past. The need to keep up with labor laws and regulations, record-keeping challenges, skill-specific training, and safety procedures have become prerequisites to a fully qualified workforce. Our current state finds us with a unique segment of workers mired in what many call “Structural Unemployment.” Structural Unemployment is an extended downturn or sudden shift in the economy when the available jobs do not match the available skill sets. Sound familiar? 

Contractor business models are beginning to trend toward more self-performing roles within this emerging economy. Contractors who self-perform work have determined that they have a greater ability to control margins and cash flow strategies. In doing so, they have found that the key to successfully implementing this model is a fully trained and reliable workforce. This workforce is crucial to their ability to deliver projects on time and with the quality demanded by consumers. Human Resource teams are finding it increasingly difficult to process an increased number of new employees, indoctrinate them into the safety culture, and ensure they are fully trained and on-boarded—all while aggressively recruiting new talent. An ever-changing economy will only put more stress on HR departments, striving to deliver fully qualified employees in a timely and efficient manner.

Human Resource teams need to keep up with new technologies for processing “paperwork” even as more of this function is being accomplished and stored electronically. Company websites, social media and other electronic recruiting methods are being used to not only to recruit management-level roles but skilled trades positions as well. Companies will need to continue to find ways to embrace various tactics recruiters are using to ensure a good fit between the open position and a candidate’s experience. They will be required to create, or at least have access to, a database that logs prospective hires around the country, and brings HR personnel on board with keeping in touch with these prospects. 

There appears to be a growing trend amongst companies to expand the traditional role of Human Resource’s function by assigning or contracting with a dedicated resource to focus on recruitment and retention of trade/craft employees. In order to create the human resources machinery needed to consistently recruit, train, retain and promote the best talent, the HR process must be both systematic and humanistic.

Results from a 2015 FMI Craft Labor Recruiting and Retention Report indicate that some of the most important things companies are doing to promote talent development include:

  • Exceptional training and development and increased focus on employee engagement
  • Improved delivery and quality of training programs
  • Stronger focus on internal and external development, including coaching
  • Robust talent management system that prepares for future needs and growth

The upward cycle of growth in construction trade companies requires that recruiting strategies be constantly improving. Additionally, companies are expected to invest in and update the skills of their workforce, helping them advance in their careers. Any company thinking it can wait until the direct hiring needs arise before starting a long-term recruiting plan will be caught napping and find it difficult to impossible to staff their next large project.

SOURCE: FMI Craft Labor Recruiting & Retention 2015 Survey Report

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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How to Improve Your Skilled Worker Recruiting Strategy


In trades fields, qualified, reliable workers, are often needed at the drop of a hat. Training new hires from scratch is an option. It is much more cost effective and time efficient, however, to recruit a candidate who is already qualified and trained for the job. After all, an hour spent training a new skilled worker is an hour robbed from getting the job done.

This said, the following tips represent promising ways HR professionals in industrial fields can improve their recruiting strategy and find the talent they seek


Pull your recruiting team together and ask, perhaps, the most important question… Does your company provide its workers with enough support to attract and retain them for the long haul? Our nation’s skilled workers seeks out employers who will invest in them through a respectable salary, sensible benefits, steady employment, and skills and safety training.

So take stock of the benefits and programs your company offers. Challenge your executive team to offer more support as part of a new, revamped recruiting strategy. Accountemp’s survey confirms that the top six strategies to recruit skilled workers begin with: improving benefits, increasing compensation, and investing in training and development.

“Boosting compensation and adding incentives is a useful first step for attracting talent, but it’s equally important for businesses to develop the abilities of workers already on staff…”-Max Messmer

It only makes sense to invest in the right talent. In failing to provide ample support for a skilled workforce, companies are missing out on a competitive edge. Think about it: could there be a more powerful advantage than a trained, skilled, loyal, and reliable workforce?


There’s a nice philosophy on how to improve one’s self, game, craft, or business. Or recruiting strategy, for that matter. Observe your competitors. And then do what they do… only, better.

Gather your marketing team to amass a list of your company’s core competitors. Then task each teammate with exploring the recruiting strategy of each company… How are your competitors investing in their skilled workforce through salary, benefits, training, etc.? How are they maneuvering fluctuations in project talent needs? How are they adapting to our volatile economy? Conduct this competitive audit with your team to learn from your competition. After all, they face the same challenges you do in the industry. Monitoring your competitor’s recruiting struggles and strategies is one of the greatest ways to improve your own.

“You should learn from your competitor. But never copy. Copy and you die.”  -Jack Ma


Stay afloat in the latest industry developments, trends, and events. Compile a list of industry resources to check daily that’ll help you remain plugged into the 411. This practice is key to developing an effective recruiting strategy.

Why? In order to attract and retain the right talent, you need to stay up-to-date on regional and national layoffs, plant closures, and factory closures. These industry events produce waves of unemployed workers. These unemployed workers are highly skilled craftsmen and women, desperate for new work. What’s that mean to you? Simple: laid-off workers are an excellent pool from which to recruit new, qualified hires.

Sites like Construction DiveIndustry Week, and Manufacturing.net are great resources for staying plugged into major industry events. So build your list of resources and align your recruiting team’s focus on attracting and retaining these recently laid-off workers.


Companies often fail to recognize or develop this valuable avenue for recruiting talent: their own current employees. Specifically, employees who are committed to your company and have valuable connections. These candidates are likely willing and able to help you attract the talent you need through their own networks.

Be sure to encourage your company to up the ante on employee referral bonuses. Incentivizing employees referrals is a tried-and-true way to attract the right talent. Need ideas? Check out this 6-Step Guide for building the perfect employee referral program. Or check out SmartRecruiter’s blog post that offers excellent incentive ideas.


Recruiting efforts that start and stop with no real strategy will likely yield subpar results. Ascenti’s guidebook can help you document your strategy. Tracking your efforts, successes, and failures is key to improving your recruiting strategy long term. Ere Media also offers a helpful guide on developing a written talent acquisition strategy. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you document your progress in attracting and retaining skilled talent. It is only a matter of bringing together your team, focusing in, and documenting your progress!

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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Recruit from these Talent Pools for Quality Skilled Workers


The skilled trades industry is saturated with companies similar to yours that are looking for the same quality talent YOU need. Relying on traditional recruitment processes simply won’t cut it. HR directors, recruiters, and staffing directors alike… are you struggling to find the talent your company needs to grow? If so, you’ll need to explore unique pools of talent that other employers are not tapping into.

The team at CraftForce has identified the following three demographics as majorly overlooked talent pools: 

  1. High-school graduates
  2. Recently laid-off skilled tradespeople
  3. Returning veterans

Check out the following suggestions on recruiting from these demographics. Leave us a comment… How is your company faring in the labor shortage? Have you tried out any of these tactics in building your skilled workforce? Do you face any particular struggles that these tactics don’t address?


It is no news that college tuition prices are soaring at an unprecedented rate. High school graduates face tremendous stress in deciding whether the promise of a higher income is worth soul-crushing debt . Fortunately, there is a less costly and appealing alternative: a career in the trades. Unfortunately, this alternative is not voiced in our nation’s dialogue on career options. Our youth is all but unaware of the option to pursue a vocation, bombarded by a misconception that  a 4 year degree is the only viable career path.

As experts in our industry are well aware, the fact of the matter is that work in the skilled trades is rewarding, challenging, and pays well. Consider the high cost of a college degree and the two extra years not earning income. Skilled tradesmen will often enter the workforce $140,000 ahead of college graduates.  

This is where you come in. Recruit for a strong skilled workforce early, targeting high schoolers who are exploring career paths. Be sure to communicate the sense of fulfillment that comes with a career in the trades. Here are some ways in which your can build these relationships early on:

  • Attend high school job fairs, career days, and related programs. Showcase the benefits your company has to offer by speaking one on with kids.
  • Build an email list of high school students to send a monthly newsletter filled with facts, opportunities, and news on your industry. Communicating the benefit of a career in the trades with YOUR company is key to attracting future prospects!
  • Sponsor high school athletic programs or club activities to amplify awareness of your company. The appeal of your company’s benefits and culture will catch the attention of high schoolers seeking a meaningful career path.
  • Hold an annual scholarship contest for high schoolers to fund their trade school education. Spark their interest in working for your company.


Much to our country’s dismay, unemployed veterans constitute a stark percentage of the population. In 2015, about 495,000 veterans were recorded unemployed; 57% of which were 45 or older. CraftForce is humbled to recognize a groundswell of programs like Helmets to HardHats and Troops to Trade that provide resources to support servicemen and women transitioning into meaningful civilian careers.

Still, we believe that companies play a major role in decreasing the unemployment rate of returning veterans. It comes as no surprise that veterans are in fact some of the most promising and capable candidates to recruit. This is where you can play a part in catalyzing the mutual benefit. Adopt a veteran-hiring program that is aggressively recruiting veterans: a proven, incomparable talent. The following tactics can guide this process:

  • Advertise your services in publications or newsletters written for retired servicemen.


Adults who have been laid off through a plant or mining closure find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. They are highly qualified, with a lifetime of experience, yet out of a job on account – often times – of a volatile economy. Many of these laid-off employees have families to support, which adds to the stress. Build out your recruiting process to attract laid-off workers: an often overlooked talent. The following tips can help with this:

  • Hold or attend community job fairs in communities that have been struck by major layoffs.
  • Provide information about your company to churches, community groups, and other venues that are popular pitstops of the local working class.
  • Advertise your services in local newsletters.
  • Offer on-the-job training, trade-school grants, tuition reimbursement, assistance with childcare costs and other financial incentives that would benefit this demographic.

The foundation of a powerful recruiting process is relationship-building. Like you, the CraftForce team believes in investing in top-quality talent, long term, through meaningful partnerships.

CraftForce is a marketplace for skilled trades. Industrial companies can find top-quality skilled workers to meet the needs of their projects instantly. We provide job site ready skilled workers, handling hiring, training, placement, benefits, disability, and unemployment liability. Once a worker has applied for  a position, we conduct drug tests, run background checks, offer safety training, and call the applicant’s resume references to ensure they are a qualified candidate for the job.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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How to Find Skilled Workers During a Labor Shortage


Companies need to expand and sustain in the face of a rapidly changing economy. In the construction and manufacturing industries, skilled, experienced workers are core to this growth Unfortunately, our country is in the midst of a major skilled labor shortage. Most companies complain that they can’t find enough skilled workers to fill their projects.

“Many of the skilled workers in the current workforce are baby boomers nearing retirement. And, the demographic projections indicate there are fewer people in the generation behind this retiring group to fill these vacancies.”-Lee Rasch

Fortunately, a little creative footwork can give you the competitive edge over other employers who are vying for the top quality talent you need. Following are five creative tips for attracting your next skilled worker who will help your company grow long term!


Have you resisted the trend to join social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn? ….Though it all might seem like unnecessary noise to distract you during your busy days, social media has become a great place to find quality employees.

“Hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly turning to the social web to market their companies to job seekers.” – Joe Budzienski

Social media is not only a powerful tool for companies looking to do business. It’s also a highly effective way of recruiting new employees. On LinkedIn, you can run advanced searches to identify potential candidates in your area. On Facebook, you can post your job openings on your company page and ask employees and friends to share with their friend circles. We promise… the return will be worth your time!

Reach out to local unions and trade schools and ask that they share your openings on their social pages as well. They are often to connected to a multitude of skilled talent looking for new work. And remember… the candidates are out there. The trick is connecting with them. Social media is a powerful tool that allows you to do this instantly.


You’ve probably wished you could clone your top performing employees, right? Unfortunately, we’re not quite there technologically. Your second best bet is to incentivize quality referrals from trusted employees. Referral bonuses are a great way to incentivize employees to find new hires for you.

You probably have employees with old friends from trade school or previous jobs. These relationships are valuable connections to trusted tradesmen in the industry. Their network could be chock-full of quality candidates!


Hiring temps, freelancers, and student co-ops is a great way to build a roster of talent from which you can choose when hiring full time. Temp agencies bring on workers for overflow work, alleviating stress on your full-time employees. Freelancers and independent contractors can contribute to small projects short term. This gives you a feel for their work ethic. As always, team up with your local trade schools for co-op prospects.

Not only will you be able to handle the influx of work during busy seasons, but you’ll also have a chance to “audition” new talent before taking on a skilled worker full time. Picking up young prospects as freelancers and student co-ops is an excellent way to bring talent into your company before your competitors pick them up! Talk about smart business during a labor shortage.


Need to fill a bunch of jobs fast? Instead of dragging out the hiring process over weeks or even months, knock it out over a weekend through open interview days. Holding an open interview day or job fest at your facility is a great way to quicken the hiring process. Advertise your event in your local paper and on social media, asking local trade schools and co-ops to share. As always, ask your employees to encourage their job seeking friends in the field to come out.

If you market the event well, dozens of candidates could show up. You can find your next great employee (or handful of employees) within a few hours.

Want to contribute to the CraftForce blog? Submit your blog topic idea(s) at blog@craftforce.com 

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