A few weeks ago, at Field Service Amelia Island, Maria Pallotta, Chief of Staff at Canopy Lawn Care, gave a highly engaging and delightfully actionable presentation on recruiting. I know from my conversations that this is a top-of-mind issue for the vast majority of you. While it is a multi-layered challenge not easily solved, what I loved about Maria’s session was how it offered some very tactical steps that will have an impact. I saw many pictures being snapped of her slides and pages of notes being taken, and she was kind enough to allow me to write up a synopsis of some of her main points.

Maria focused her session on three areas of advice: attract, convert, and close. I’m going to provide a few highlights here for your reading pleasure, but I urge you to reach out to her for a copy of her presentation.

Attraction

We know that field service has a branding problem – it isn’t a career path a lot of younger candidates envision for themselves. There are some misperceptions and even more accurate perceptions that can make attracting quality candidates tough. One of the biggest takeaways here is to do some true due diligence on reviewing and updating your job descriptions. When Maria asked the audience who has done this in the last 6 months, only a hand or two was raised! This is a rapidly evolving industry which makes this response shocking to me.

Maria discussed a tool she uses, called Textio. “Textio is an AI-based tool that reviews job descriptions and makes recommendations on wording and phrasing to use to maximize results, and well as ensure you are well positioned to achieve certain goals,” she says. “For instance, if your company has a focus on creating greater diversity, Textio can tell you if you need to adjust the phrasing to help accomplish that objective.”

Beyond regularly reviewing and adjusting job descriptions, Maria also discussed updating your website to prominently feature job openings and have a greater focus on recruiting. She gave some tips on employee referral programs and running successful ad campaigns for open positions as well.

Conversion

When it comes to converting applicants to employees, Maria illustrated how she’s streamlined and automated the process at Canopy to make it highly user friendly. “We use a text-only hiring process at Canopy – there’s no email until an offer is made. This has made a massive difference in our conversion because I’m meeting people where they are instead of expecting them to adjust to outdated processes,” she says. Maria uses a tool to mass text through email, which automates this outreach without sacrificing a personal feel for the candidate.

Maria also discussed the need to review your application process and think about what the experience is like for your target candidates. “Most people today are applying to jobs from their phones – we’ve made our applications 100 percent mobile-friendly. Everything a candidate needs to do to apply can be done from their phone,” she says.

Closing and Retention

When it comes to closing the deal, Maria points out that it really has a lot to do about your company culture and how well you outline the value you can provide a candidate. “Candidates want to work somewhere where they feel they are making a difference, and that they matter. We have company values that are central to everything we do – we live and breathe these values at Canopy, and they empower and motivate our team because they give employees something to buy into,” she says.

You also want to think about how you’re conveying the value of your benefits, and what you can offer in terms of career development. “We have created a seed to lead program which is a transparent and achievable career path for all new hires. Everyone, regardless of history, comes into the program at the same apprentice level and has a clear path for how to progress through all phases to management. The program outlines this progression and each step achieved raises pay. People can move as quickly or slowly as they want through this path. It removes the mystery of how people get promoted. Each quarter we celebrate promotions as a company,” says Maria. She suggests making your benefits clearly visible on your website so potential employees can see all perks available.

Finally, Maria stresses the importance of a focus on onboarding. “You have to make a good impression right away,” she says. “It’s worth making an investment in this process. You should employee journey map, seek regular input and feedback, and create mentor programs. Delighting your team and creating a positive culture that makes people want to stay is one of the real keys to recruitment.”

Sarah Nicastro
Author

Field Service Evangelist, Future of Field Service