It’s not easy attracting bright new talent to your company these days. With unemployment hovering around 4 percent, people aren’t clamoring for jobs as they were just a short time ago. They have choices now, and so posting the traditional “help wanted” ad probably isn’t going to have the impact it once did. You need to be strategic in your recruitment efforts; this means being assertive in getting your message to potential applicants.

How are you and your peers reaching out?

The majority of PMPs — 69 percent, according to the NPMA/PCT survey — rely at least in part on employee referrals. Half say they use Indeed, Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder or other online job boards; 47 percent use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites; and 24 percent continue to use traditional “help wanted” ads in newspapers. As these figures imply, most use more than one means for attracting new recruits.

“We handle our two geographic markets differently,” says Ravi Sachdeva of American Pest Management. “In Manhattan, Kan., where we’ve been based for more than 30 years, people know us and our reputation, so when we have a job opening, word-of-mouth is usually all we need. In our other location — Wichita, which is a larger city — we use job boards but prefer to hire people our employees refer to us.”

Many PMPs echo feeling that comfort level with employee referrals. “We get the most applications from Craigslist and Indeed, but the best applications come from employee referrals,” says Jeremy Clark of Dugas Pest Control in Baton Rouge, La.

In fact, 36 percent of PMPs consider employee referrals their most valuable recruitment vehicle. That’s a larger percentage than any other vehicle, with online job boards considered most valuable by 28 percent, social media 10 percent and newspapers 6 percent. It’s no surprise, then, that many pest management companies offer employees financial incentives for bringing in new candidates.

“We have seen the number of employee referrals rise significantly since we put an incentive program into place,” says Sachdeva, explaining that employees receive a monetary bonus when their referral becomes certified within 90 days of hire, and then another bonus if the new employee remains in their position for six months.

Phil Cooper has found a “finder’s fee” arrangement to work well at Lawrenceville, N.J.-based Cooper Pest Solutions, too. His company pays the referring employee at time of hire and then at six months, nine months and 12 months of retention. Like many PMPs, Cooper finds the reward to be well worth the investment.

Still, whether they come to you by recommendation, job boards, social media or traditional advertising, each applicant needs to be thoroughly screened, tested and interviewed prior to hire to ensure a mutually beneficial fit.