We’re in a tight labor market and good workers are at a real premium. In that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that by the year 2020 a staggering 74 percent of all new labor force growth will be Hispanic, it’s important to know the best places to recruit them.
If I were running a construction company, I would make absolutely sure to avoid recruiting through a “friends-and-family” network due to the multiple levels of relational complication this creates within the company. Rather, I would develop the necessary relationships to tap into a balanced Hispanic labor market in the following six places. These are in no particular order of preference as all of them are important and viable options. You may find one or two of these to work really well for you in your area, and if so, double down on them.
1. NFJP: This stands for National Farmworkers Jobs Program. This is a program that offers eligible agricultural workers a way to reach better and more stable employment. Non-profit organizations who work with these workers are tasked with helping migrant workers to provide them with assistance in finding a new job. They also offer training programs, career counseling, etc. You should make it a point to find organizations in your area who work with the National Farmworkers Jobs Program. Another great thing about this program is all participants in this program already have legal work permits in the United States. For a video overview regarding this program, you can go to the following web link: https://vimeo.com/139504476.
2. Churches: The Latino community is quite religious and church attendance is important for many families. Priests and pastors are very well connected to the community and, if you are properly connected, they can funnel good quality employees to your organization. The beauty of this relationship is that ministers will also have access to people who are already working but perhaps have expressed an interest in a career change.
If your company has a good opportunity for growth and advancement, you get to know your local Latino ministers. (A good rule of thumb is the Catholic priest and the pastors of the two largest Protestant churches in the area.) This will get you to a large cross-section of the people.
3. Schools: College football teams and the military are experts at recruiting in schools. School counselors here are your best friends. They know the young men or women who are looking to enter a trade and just aren’t interested in going to college. They also know who the people are at risk to drop-out and would benefit from an internship or mentorship. Your local Chief of Police can many times help you get into the school system with a legitimate program as police departments have a vested interest in getting kids to graduate or to get them into good jobs so they stay off the streets.
4. Community Associations: Since we’re talking in this article about blue collar workers, you have to avoid the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and go more for the grass roots, civic-minded community organizations that work directly with the people to provide essential services. Most of these organizations have job placement offices or services. You should contact them to see what services they offer to their community. Also, the Catholic Church has a civic organization they sponsor called Catholic Social Services which is really a community organization. It would be worth your effort to see if there is a branch near you and speak with their leadership regarding your opportunity.
In all four of the aforementioned places, human filters are in place and I love having this mechanism. Leaders who funnel potential employees to you will do their best to make sure that they only send you viable candidates. In many cases they personally know the person they are referring and are vested in their success. This is to your great benefit. Take the time to develop these critical relationships with community leaders. If you do, you’ll see that finding good qualified workers is really a question of relationship building in the Latino community.
Now, I have two more places I would like to share with you. These are non-filtered, so you’ll have to do an even better job at assessment and interviewing before you hire. This being said, both are places we have found to be very fertile recruiting grounds in our work with client companies.
5. Orlando, Fla.: More than half a million Puerto Rican U.S. citizens have moved to the Orlando area in the past several years and many of them are seeking good employment opportunities. Right now, many are stuck in low-paying jobs in tourist venues and many want to get out of there. And yes, many are willing to relocate as they have already evidenced by their exodus from the island. Just as a quick aside here, and all joking aside, some companies are also finding success recruiting in Arizona as many Latinos want to get away from Sheriff Joe’s domain.
6. Social Media: This could easily be a full article on its own. Suffice it to say here that Latinos are extremely viral and share information with one another much more openly and frequently than non-Latinos. 87 percent of all Latinos are on Facebook in the United States. Of all people in the United States who use the popular WhatsApp messaging app, nearly 50 percent are Latinos.
In Latin America, WhatsApp is so popular it is very difficult to find someone with a smart phone who doesn’t use it. These are just a few examples of social media platforms that absolutely should be leveraged if you’re serious about recruiting a sustainable workforce.
One last note, recruiting should be considered a marketing function. It is simply internal marketing. We’ve seen a lot of companies who have slick sales and marketing tools but very poor, or sometimes non-existent recruiting tools. Not only do you need to recruit in the right places, but once you get there, make sure you have professionally designed and culturally relevant recruiting posters, brochures, flyers, presentations, etc.