Hurry, Workplace is going away, move
to Workmates now and save 25%.

How To Recruit For Hard-to-Fill Blue-Collar Positions: 6 HR Tips

How To Recruit For Hard-to-Fill Blue-Collar Positions: 6 HR Tips
15-day free trial workmates logo Try Out Our
Employee Engagement Software For Free
checkmark No credit card needed checkmark Less then 5 min to set up


There are phases where people start looking for white-collar jobs right after graduation or college, so it becomes hard to look for blue-collar people. Over the years, looking for blue-collar people has been getting difficult because, from IT to construction to food services, all positions are getting unfilled, leaving no to minimal chances of getting blue-collar employed. 

According to new research from the US Chamber of Commerce, "These industries have more unfilled job openings than unemployed workers with experience in their respective industry." This shows how rapidly the positions are getting filled and to what extent it is getting harder to get blue-collar employees. Not only this but on a larger horizon there is a need for more employees on an hourly basis too. Also added to the research that "Even if everyone that has some skills in the manufacturing industry had a job, the report says that the vacancies can only  be filled by 44%."

However, in response to all shortages, HR is trying hard to use different tactics to help them reduce this shortage. In addition to it, here are a few examples to retain blue-collar employees:

WM logo

Is Your Company's Culture
Working Against You?

Find out how to improve your company
culture with our short quiz.

1. Remember "FISH WHERE FISH ARE":

This is a very clever move to quickly look for blue-collar employees where white-collar employees are not seeking jobs, so it is essential to look for companies seeking blue-collar workers to be visible in that area. This tactic is narrated by the famous  Eric Mochnacz, SHRM-SCP, director of operations at Red Clover, an HR consulting firm based in Butler, N.J. 

Mochnacz also found that "skilled tradespersons were less likely to have a formal and professional resume. However, they had a good set of skills and in-depth knowledge of the product or services they were offering"

Therefore, it has been advised that while recruiting blue-collar workers, do not fish where they are not living; fish where they actually are — this can make your hunt better! Also, do not only look for candidates with professional resumes but also look at how skilled they are.

2 .Start A Paid Referral Program:

It has been seen that the referral program has provided maximum advantages in terms of recruiting employees. Also, HR fills many positions with the help of a referral program. It has been seen for years, and many high-end HRs are following this tactic proving it to be a win-win deal for both employees and the company.  

Here is an example of “Optech”, they have made an interactive yet catchy for employees to help HRs in recruiting the right talent.

Image source: optech

How Will You Incentivize Employees For Their Referral?

According to Talentlyft, "70% of the companies offer cash incentives which are between $1000 to $5000 that too for the successful events”; however, this might sound high to you but consider the cost of recruiting and time that may cost your company while recruiting for blue-collar employees, moreover, according to the same study it can be seen that referral programs save around $7500 per hiring to the companies. 

  • Image Source: TestGorila

3. Create Marketing Content:

Many blue-collar employees do not know where to apply and what opportunities to look for. This is because of the poor content marketing strategy. Moreover, it is not something that cannot be overcome. It would not be wrong to say that the days when waiting in a long line and performing repetitive tasks are gone. It is now the era of the short yet impactful route to success. 

Why Should Recruiters Care About Content Marketing?

The recruiters have to have thought about content marketing because now not only are recruiters looking for candidates, but candidates are equally looking for the right opportunities; this is why having great marketing of your brand via content is very important. 

Tip: you can use video infographics for better results in your recruitment.

Here is an example of a video content where the candidate himself is explaining his whole journey of working in a particular company and how has he challenged himself in a positive way. Content like this can build trust among the candidates for your company.

Have a look:


4. Offer Competitive Compensations And Benefits:

To attract top talent, it is important to offer them competitive compensation that can compel them to only look for your company. The benefits could be; health insurance, a high starting salary point, performance incentives, PTO, and sign-on bonuses. 

  • Image Source: HROne

Furthermore, you can offer them different incentives such as flexible hours, remote work, stock, and office perks to give your company an edge that can help candidates to attract to your company.

Tips For Writing The Best Compensation Proposal:

  1. Be as concise as possible

  2. Maintain an optimistic yet super-realistic tone, do not sugarcoat

  3. Make sure to add a long-term vision. It will give employees a sense of trust in your company

  4. Do not forget to add a value that reflects the image of your company

5. Recruit Veterans:

In many cases, recruiters do not look for highly skilled workers because of the age factor, but what they forget is that they are — veterans. Someone who can uplift their company to an optimum level with their set of skills and experience. 

They have a "key" that most young talents do not have, and that is "experience." May you cannot hire them for a labor set of work, but you can recruit them as an advisor or trainer for the young talent. 

(4) Image Source: Prosperix

What Is Veteran Talent Bringing On The Table?

As said, veteran talent has the most experience, even sometimes more than the recruiter itself. So, they are surely bringing the experience to the table, but what else?

  1. Lesser Risk: there is less to no risk factor when it comes to hiring a veteran. As mentioned, they have got more talent and experience than most of the people in the room. This is the reason they reduce the chances of risk and certainly save a lot of time for the company.

  2. Adaptable: since they are multi-skilled (may not all, but most) and they have been learning all through their career, then, they eventually get a nature of adjustments and become so adaptable with the nature of work that hassle is just a piece of cake for them.

  3. Self Aware: the young talent is not only gaining experience and skills but also embarking on a specific skill set. Therefore, they are not self-aware and can lack many primary parameters, such as adaptability.

6. Bonus Tip: Be Mobile Friendly

Being mobile-friendly solves many problems for HR because almost every 4 out of 5 candidates (hypothetically) is looking for a job via mobile phones. So it is important to make your website or app mobile-friendly so that each of the candidates can reach out to you with ease. 

In fact, according to The Undercover Recruiter, "approx. 90% of the people are using mobile phones for career research and out of which 50% are doing it on a daily basis". Also, according to the same research:

  1. 36% of application processes are optimized for mobile phones

  2. 39% of career websites are optimized for mobile phones 

  3. 36% of job postings are optimized for mobile phones

This means if you have not optimized your website or app mobile-friendly, then this is the right time!

Final Words:

If hiring a blue-collar worker sounds like a daunting task to you, then you might not have been on the right track. However, it's never too late since we all are on the learning boat. Seek help from the aforementioned tips, or you can easily talk to an HR Cloud specialist to make your task easier — since it is a modern HR tool for frontline workers

WM logo

Try Workmates Interactive Demo

Click trough it yourself with
interactive demo.

Author Bio:

Aabhas Vijay stands as the creative and imaginative founder behind Avija Digital, an agency that specializes in crafting ingenious online strategies and trust worthy marketing solutions. Aabhas has demonstrated himself as an outstanding authority in the realm of digital marketing specifically for SaaS (Software as a Service).He is an exceptional expert in brand positioning, content creation and audience engagement. Moreover, Aabhas's prime focus is on organizing cohesive strategies and formulating plans that lead to long term brand sustainability.

Was this article helpful?
Yes, thanks
Not really
🎉 Awesome!
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Got it!
Thanks for your feedback!
The 12 Most Common HR Mistakes
Learn how to avoid common HR mistakes that frustrate employees and plague organizations.
Download Now