How to find quality employees without resorting to Craigslist-type sites
October 9, 2014 3:08 PM   Subscribe

How to do I find quality part-time employees for my small business.

How do I find a quality phone assistant for my business.

Basically, I need someone to do basic phone work - more specifically, to get out a contact name and email address from businesses in a particular industry sector. This is a one-day a week job which could be performed by somebody working at home with a cell phone and an internet-connected computer.

But, so far, the quality of candidates from sites like Craigslist has been exceptionally poor. Some very dubious CVs have been submitted to me where the average candidate sticks to a job for 4-5 months or so an then moves on. Other candidates have omitted their surnames on their application and some have listed hostels as their address.

Because the job is only for 3-4 hours a week I do not want to use a recruitment agency. So are there any other strategies that I could use to find a quality candidate?
posted by jacobean to Work & Money (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Since most people want to work more than 4 hours a week, it is very unlikely that you're going to get ultra-qualified candidates who have an extensive resume with numerous jobs where they worked for many years.

If I were you I'd get a student for this sort of thing. When I was in college we had a "career center" with a physical bulletin board of jobs like this. Little part time things helping out a local business person for a fair wage, but usually very few hours. Nowadays said career center bulletin board is probably on a website somewhere. But your local campus will be able to advise you. Or just go put up a flyer in the parts of your local campus where likely candidates hang out. Calling local college departments that are related to what you do might also be a good way to find someone, especially if your business in any way translates to a desirable career in the adult world.
posted by Sara C. at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2014 [10 favorites]

Try Mefi Jobs.
posted by Slinga at 3:13 PM on October 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

some have listed hostels as their address.

It's not clear why someone who is homeless couldn't do this job, unless you mean they appear to be tourists.

Sometimes your local governments have jobs websites; we get very good candidates from those.
posted by jeather at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah you need to take into account that you are hiring people for a really terrible job -- it sounds like cold-calling for pocket change each week. You need to find people who a) really only want to work a few hours a week, and b) accept that this is a job that will have high turnover.

I'd also try college students -- are you an alumni of somewhere that you could use the network for, or is there a local school with a job board you can find?
posted by brainmouse at 3:16 PM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

working at home with a cell phone

Having received way too many unintelligible calls from people I didn't know and didn't want to talk to, I suggest that you may do better if they at least have a quality land-line phone.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:41 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd work your personal network. Do you know anyone with teenage or college-age kids who are looking to make some pocket money?

I agree that unfortunately this is not a very appealing job so it's very hard to get qualified candidates. My own company was looking to fill a more career-oriented part-time (25 hr/wk) role earlier this year and it was really tough. Most good candidates want full-time jobs.
posted by radioamy at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are a couple grammatical errors in your question, which makes me wonder there are any in your job posting. Better candidates may be ignoring your listing if it's sloppily written.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:24 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Here in Washington state we have a free government-run employment web site (WorkSource) which I've used for our office a number of times. As of a couple years ago they'd even administer basic tests to applicants for you and screen out people with scores below a certain threshold. I don't know what state you're in, but if it's not WA maybe they have something similar.
posted by hjo3 at 5:18 PM on October 9, 2014

What are you paying? It really is a terrible sounding job ( three or four hours a week?) so you're going to have to pay a decent dollar to make something about it more appealing. I'd advertise around my local college for a student to do it. Actually, you might even have better luck looking for a senior in high school.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:56 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

I do elements of this job in my own work. It sounds like you are looking for someone who eats the rejection of first contact that as a business owner you feel like you can no longer afford to take personally. Why not reach out to your contacts and offer referral fees instead? It will probably lead to more high qualifiers than cold calling will bring.
posted by parmanparman at 10:41 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe try a virtual personal assistant instead?
posted by spilon at 9:45 AM on October 10, 2014

Check your memail.
posted by Coffee Bean at 10:54 AM on October 10, 2014

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