May 6, 2019
Warren PattersonI love to fish. Every summer, my sons and I go on a trip in search of new lakes to fish. We travel two hours north of Sudbury, Ont., then spend another hour traveling on logging roads. Finally, we pull onto the side of the road and camp. Next, we put the boats on the back of the ATV’s and drive 10 to 20 km into the bush, in search of lakes we have never fished before.

These days, trying to find new employees seems a lot like trying to find new lakes to fish. Building more roads makes for easier access to lakes. Social media, websites and smartphone apps make it easier to promote job opportunities to potential hires.

As a business owner, you not only have to communicate with a generation that has different values and needs, you must also keep up on the latest ways to reach them. You have to be willing to seek out new places and use new language in hopes of catching some big, elusive fish.

Recently, I have seen some businesses do things a little different in order to succeed at attracting better, more qualified candidates.

Most job boards force you to include an hourly wage in order to post your available position. After all, why would someone respond unless they knew how much they would earn? So across the board, everyone includes an hourly wage in their job posting. But when candidates look at the available options, is fifty cents more per hour (before taxes) really the difference between choosing one company to apply to over another?

Last month, I read a great post by Jacki Hart, manager of Landscape Ontario’s Peer to Peer Network (LO’s Peer to Peer group is free to join for all member business owners, so if you haven’t joined yet to participate in the free online discussions, you really need to do so). Here is what Jacki posted to the group’s private Facebook page:


“Hi Everyone. In the past week, I’ve had an alarming number of cries for recruiting help. A suggestion for those of you still recruiting for this season, in your job postings, consider trying this: rather than post a wage range of $18-$21/hour (for example), post the weekly gross earnings: Earn $800-$1,100+ per week. ($18 x 44 hrs. to $21 x 55 hrs.). This is working well for some companies I work with. It’s okay if applicants don’t own or use a calculator... you’re not hiring them for that skill! It’s more enticing to show the WEEKLY gross earnings. It gives them hope to pay their bills, and takes the focus off of looking for another $0.50/hr elsewhere.”

A few members of the LO group implemented Jacki’s suggestion and were pleasantly surprised to have success hiring staff this season. I encourage you all to not only try Jacki’s suggestion, but to also take a good look at the language you are using, the tools you are using to communicate, and the audience you are trying to reach in order to have more success this hiring season.

Much like fishing, it is sometimes how you present the opportunity that can make all the difference.

Warren Patterson
LO President