11 Tips for Hiring Workers in a Labor Shortage

From seeking out military veterans to using blue-collar-focused hiring apps, here are 11 answers to the question, “What are some tips for hiring blue-collar workers during a labor shortage?”

  • Seek Out Military Veterans
  • Offer Longer Contract Periods
  • Offer Strong Benefits Packages
  • Provide Additional Training
  • Make Work Areas Drama-Free
  • Post Ads in Stores That Your Ideal Hires Frequent 
  • Provide a Work Experience that Attracts Workers
  • Use Social Gatherings to Find Potential Employees
  • Take the Time to Ask for Referrals
  • Get Smart About Purpose
  • Consider Using Hiring Apps Focused On Blue-collar Labor


Seek Out Military Veterans

One of the best ways to find blue-collar workers during a labor shortage is to seek out military veterans. Recently-discharged vets are often hungry for work and so quickly seek to reenter the civilian job market. Just think about what you’re getting by focusing your hiring efforts on veterans: They’re skilled, highly trained in a wide variety of fields, and usually have a great work ethic, making them some of the most reliable people around. By positioning your business as veteran-friendly, you’re giving yourself access to a ready-made, constantly replenishing, labor shortage-proof talent pool.

Linda Scorzo, CEO, Hiring Indicators


Offer Longer Contract Periods

Blue-collar workers often have to make do with short stints on their contracts, and since this is the norm in most industries, they don’t have much choice either. But you could use this standard practice to your advantage during a labor shortage by offering a contract that provides longer terms. This is an arrangement most workers would prefer because it offers steady employment and financial stability. It also works to the organization’s advantage because, considering the labor shortage, a long-term contract also does away with the need to hire in short intervals.

Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.


Offer Strong Benefits Packages

Workers are looking for secure jobs with comprehensive benefits for themselves and their families. If you’re looking to attract more workers, then you’ll need to demonstrate that you have a job that is worth their time and effort. Benefits hold an equal, if not greater, importance for blue-collar workers who aren’t just looking for a paycheck to make ends meet. Top-notch health coverage, for example, will likely appeal more to a blue-collar family man than a job that pays more but has weak coverage. Do your research and understand which benefits are most appealing to workers in the current working world. Be ready, willing, and able to change your compensation load-out to include what’s most popular among workers. Doing this should keep you competitive when it comes to attracting workers to your business.

Max Schwartzapfel, CMO, Schwartzapfel Lawyers


Provide Additional Training

I’ve found that providing additional training can be a really effective way to get the right employees on board. Not only does it allow for an easier transition for those just coming into the workforce, it also helps existing workers learn new skills quickly so they can take on new roles. By investing in training, employers are able to retain more talented workers and recruit them at a faster rate. This ultimately results in increased productivity and fewer turnovers due to lack of experience or agility.

Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com


Make Work Areas Drama-Free

While blue-collar workers want to be properly financially compensated, the biggest reason I hear from interviewees on why they left their previous job was because of the drama in the workplace. I’ve heard complaints of poor communication from management, coworkers not getting along, or just an overall “me first” attitude at companies. Blue-collar workers want to feel valued, and that means making work areas – whether it’s a factory, lab, or production facility – drama-free for them.

Be upfront about your policies and how communication is handled at your business. Give them a tour of your business, and they will be able to pick up both negative and positive vibes, and that’s a determining factor. Do they really want to work for a company that has a cloud of drama over it? No. Clean up the drama and showcase that your business is a place where workers don’t dread going to, but instead enjoy their time working.

Seth Newman, Director, SportingSmiles


Post Ads in Stores That Your Ideal Hires Frequent 

One of the better ways I’ve seen to hire blue-collar workers is to partner with local building-supply stores like Home Depot to put business cards and advertisements at the checkout. If possible, you can expand this to other types of stores as well, but hardware stores are usually your best bet. Nine times out of ten, it doesn’t take much work to get an agreement to put an unobtrusive set of cards or a small advertisement out, but even if it requires signing some sort of small advertising agreement, I consider it well worth it.

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind


Provide a Work Experience that Attracts Workers

Attracting and hiring the best blue-collar workers for your company can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can make it happen. Start by understanding the key factors that motivate blue-collar workers and crafting a compelling workforce experience. The single most important factor is establishing trust with your candidate, trust that you provide competitive pay, benefits, and a well-run company that offers greater job security and meaningful work that makes a difference to its customers.

Sam Reeve, CEO, CompTeam


Use Social Gatherings to Find Potential Employees

One tip for hiring blue-collar workers during a labor shortage is to look beyond the usual job listings. An uncommon example of this is to host an open house event or another social gathering, such as a community outreach event, to publicize the company and its work culture in order to draw potential employees. This can create an informal platform where conversations may occur between employers and employees who are not actively searching for jobs but would respond if given the opportunity. Such events lead to building connections with potential employees that can be helpful in times of labor shortages.

Grace He, People and Culture Director, teambuilding.com


Take the Time to Ask for Referrals

Taking the time to check and ask for referrals from other businesses or reputable organizations can help you find reliable, experienced blue-collar workers. Contact local communities, trade schools, or employment agencies in order to get a better sense of who is available and willing to work. You may even want to consider incentivizing current employees to refer qualified candidates. This will help you find workers who have the skills and experience you need.

Ryan Delk, CEO, Primer


Get Smart About Purpose

Everyone is looking for workers right now. If you want to find them, ads should be interesting. Don’t just list job responsibilities, tell people about who you are and why they should want to work for you. Think about your purpose and include it in the ad. Truckers make life possible by bringing the world the goods it needs. Janitors make the world a cleaner place. Tell people how they will change the world to attract them. Remind them of how they are doing it and the difference they make to keep them.

Kevin Jacobs, Fraction COO and EOS Integrator, Business-Simplified


Consider Using Hiring Apps Focused On Blue-collar Labor

For a variety of reasons, it has been tough for employers to find workers. I’m one of those employers. I find employees through job boards, LinkedIn, email, the phone, and talking to random strangers. More recently, I found an app that’s built especially for hiring blue-collar workers called Hyer. If you need 50 people to show up for a week at your warehouse and move boxes, they connect you with those people, and they show up. It’s not only a great way to get immediate help, but it’s also a way to screen candidates for potential full-time hiring.

Josh Steimle, Founder, MWI