Blue-Collar Recruitment: How to Hire Faster in 2019

Blue-Collar Recruitment: How to Hire Faster in 2019

Remember job boards? 

No, I’m not talking about Indeed and CareerBuilder. 

I’m talking about good, old-fashioned “Help Wanted” boards, that looked like a cluster of flyers and sticky notes with little tabs of people’s contact information.

These were the good old days in recruiting. When looking for an employee like a cashier or delivery driver meant little more work than putting up a flyer or asking a friend for referrals.

Unfortunately, blue-collar recruitment isn’t like that anymore. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard the frightening phrase: Recruiters don’t choose their talent, their talent chooses them. 

In place of flyers and newspaper ads, companies hire recruiting teams to try every approach under the sun to find and encourage these candidates to apply. But as the need for blue-collar workers grows in demand and volume, cookie-cutter recruiting methods are no longer effective.

Here are 3 ways to conquer blue-collar recruitment in 2019:

Optimize Your Applications for Mobile Devices

If this first point sounds like a no-brainer, you’ll be surprised to know that less than 14% of companies have invested in optimizing their recruiting for mobile users.

In the case of blue-collar recruiting, that couldn’t be more of a mistake. 

Historically, blue-collar work has often been synonymous with manual labor and naturally, these jobs require less work behind a desk and more work out on a job site. Though the term has evolved within the past few decades, the distinction between “behind-the-desk” and “in the field” jobs still stands, making connecting with these candidates a bit more nuanced. 

Though these workers are less likely to use desktop computers, they are still accessing the internet through their mobile devices for general browsing and more importantly, job searches. An Indeed study showed that for roles like grounds cleaning and construction, up to 80% of job searches begin on a mobile device versus as low as 45% in white-collar fields like engineering and mathematics. To reach these candidates, companies must have not only a mobile-functional career page but a mobile-first application experience. 

You can read more about optimizing your applications for mobile here, but the general idea is to remove all barriers that prevent your candidates from quickly and easily filling out an application on their phone. 

Some of these “barriers” include requiring them to create a profile or asking long questions that are difficult to respond to on mobile. When candidates run into deterrents, their interest in the role and company is overshadowed by their annoyance with the mobile experience, which ultimately results in application abandonment.

To capture all interested candidates that are searching for their jobs and reduce application dropoff, companies must implement a frictionless mobile application experience. Considering such a high volume of job searches are being conducted on phones and tablets, mobile optimization is a must in blue-collar recruiting in 2019.

Engage with Blue-Collar Candidates on Social Media

Imagine this…

You own a manufacturing plant in Tampa and you’re looking for line workers. You go on LinkedIn and do a search in your area and these are the results:

Slim pickings, right?

For comparison, here’s a search in the same area for a product manager: 

When it comes to finding blue-collar workers, go-to platforms like LinkedIn and don’t cut it.

Instead, the ideal place to engage with these candidates is social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and even sites like Craigslist. With 214 million US users on sites like Facebook, versus 150 million on LinkedIn, social networks offer a wider pool with more unique opportunities to engage talent than standard company page job postings.

Social networks offer more unique channels to connect with candidates through relevant topics like events, groups, pages, and content. In industries where hiring shortages loom like transportation and healthcare, this more personalized method of candidate sourcing can help recruiters find applicants that initially may not have seemed to be qualified or relevant on career sites like LinkedIn. 

Social recruiting has a similar benefit of mobile in that it allows companies to use innovative application formats like on-demand text interview through Facebook messenger or voice message applications.

Plus, as almost 50% of US Facebook users qualify as Millennial or Gen-Z, social platforms help recruiters reach younger talent. This makes a huge difference for recruiters working in industries where the average employee is quickly approaching retirement

Mastering social recruitment will put blue-collar recruiters ahead of the competition in 2019. 

Find Active Blue-Collar Candidates through Niche Job Boards

First things first, the case for reaching out to active vs. passive candidates:

Although many recruiting technologies boast their ability to engage passive candidates, and there is a belief that this recruitment method works in some industries, blue-collar work is not one of them. (If you’re unsure of the difference between active and passive candidates, you can learn more here.)

In blue-collar industries, it is a job seeker’s market; this means that candidates know that if they want to change jobs, they could do so easily. Therefore, passive candidates are likely at their current job because they enjoy the work or the benefits and aren’t interested in leaving. Don’t waste your money gathering loads of passive candidates.

The number one source of passive candidates is generic job boards like Indeed and ZipRecruiter. Though they have their place as part of a successful recruitment marketing approach, these platforms recycle leads and send companies bulk lists of candidate information. Another pitfall of generic job boards is that they share your applicants’ information with your competitors.


You read that right. When a candidate clicks apply to your role, they’ll be prompted to apply to similar roles (hint: your competitors’) and their contact information will be captured and included in the bulk lists that other companies in your industry will receive.

Job boards like LinkedIn recommend candidates to view similar jobs after applying to one.
LinkedIn recommends candidates jobs based on their previous viewing history.

Now that it’s clear that passive candidates are a waste of money for blue-collar recruiters, I’m sure you’re wondering where to find active candidates?

A great source for active candidates in your industry is niche job boards. Contrary to generic job boards, niche job boards usually only send direct applicants to your roles. Additionally, they offer higher applicant quality as the candidates using them are likely already working in your industry with the necessary certifications for your roles. 

Other leading sources of active candidates are job fairs and career events, and, as mentioned above, social networking groups.

To avoid wasting money on database information of candidates who aren’t on the job market, blue-collar recruiters should focus on engaging active candidates.

Ending thoughts

As blue-collar worker shortages continue, the recruitment landscape becomes increasingly difficult. A diversified recruiting approach is necessary to compete in 2019. 

At Talenize, we bring recruiting back to the basics: we help people hire people. Our fully-managed campaigns help recruiters in high-volume industries reach their perfect candidate. If you’re interested in learning more, click here to book a demo.

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