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Article : How To Recruit and Retain Motivated Entry-Level Employees

Recruiting and retaining motivated entry-level employees is one of the most difficult challenges facing HR departments. This is particularly true for companies that operate call centers and customer service centers. In this article I will discuss a 4-step process that will help you recruit and retain motivated entry-level employees.

  1. Define your job opening: The first step in recruiting motivated entry-level employees is to define your job opening. By defining your job opening, you will be able to write a better job advertisement, which will lead to recruiting better performing employees. The questions you need to ask include: What is your company trying to accomplish with this position? What job duties will this employee perform on a daily basis? What performance level defines success in this position? What performance level defines failure in this position? What skills are required for quality job performance?

Peter C. Geisheker
Internet Recruiting Specialist,

What is the personality type of an employee that will be a top performer in this position? When defining your job opening, talk to employees at your company who are top performers at this position and ask them what makes them successful at their job. Also ask them what type of person you should be looking for when recruiting new employees. Your current employees will provide you with valuable insight into both defining your job opening and in determining the type of person that will be successful at that position.

  1. Attract the right candidates: Once you have clearly defined your job opening and the traits that lead to high job performance, you are ready to write your job advertisement and start marketing it to job seekers. In order to recruit highly motivated, entry-level employees, you must write an outstanding job advertisement. Understand that the purpose of your job advertisement is to attract targeted job seekers. Your job advertisement is a marketing tool and should be written as one. Include as many of the following items in your job advertisement as possible:

  • List what your job pays and make sure your pay is competitive in your area. Listing pay is very important when posting entry-level job openings because entry-level job hunters want to apply to a job where they know they will earn enough money to pay their bills each month. If you do not list pay in your job posting, you will likely have few applicants applying to your job opening.

  • List any benefits your company provides such as medical, dental, etc.

  • List any perks your company provides such as tuition reimbursement, onsite daycare, discounts on company products, performance bonuses, etc.

  • List your vacation benefits – 1 week, 2 weeks, etc.

  • Describe a career path. "Move into a supervisory position within 18 months"

  • Ask for people to apply that are passionate about your product or service. If you are recruiting entry-level people to take incoming sales calls for a digital camera product, ask for people that love photography to apply! A major aspect of hiring a motivated employee is to hire an employee that is passionate about your company's product or service.

When recruiting entry-level employees, be creative and consider using resources in addition to online job boards. One of your greatest resources for finding new employees is your current employees. Ask your employees to help you recruit new employees. Offer a $250 bonus to any employee that brings you a quality candidate that you hire and that stays on the job for 90 days. Since your employees' reputations are on the line, they will be more likely to bring you quality candidates instead of just warm bodies.

A factor to consider when recruiting entry-level employees is that a percentage of them may not have a personal computer and/or access to the Internet. As a result, you may need to use more traditional recruiting methods such as posting your job advertisement in the local newspaper or using radio advertising. Another great place to recruit entry-level employees is at local colleges and/or tech schools. Fax your job advertisement to the school's employment office and they will normally post your job opening on their employment bulletin board for free. Their student employment office may even help you recruit candidates.

  1. Use assessment testing to filter out unqualified applicants: Now that you have a pool of applicants that have applied to your job advertisement, you need to determine which applicants to interview. This is the stage where most hiring mistakes are made because we still tend to hire with our heart instead of with our head. To help solve this problem, have applicants take assessment tests to test for skills and personality (i.e., personal motivation) associated with high job performance within your specific industry and job category. Assessment testing provides you with an unbiased means to filter out applicants that do not have the skills and/or personality profile necessary for high job performance. Applicants that receive high scores on assessment tests are the candidates that should be considered for interview and possible hire.

  1. Retain your high performing employees: It is unfortunate, but companies do a lousy job of retaining their high performing employees. When a great employee says they are leaving, what steps do management and HR take to try and keep that person? Usually very little. Instead of asking the employee what it will take to persuade him or her to stay, and then doing what it takes to keep that employee, we start writing a job ad to find a replacement before the employee's seat is cold. Normally, what it takes to retain your high performing employee is far less expensive than recruiting and training a replacement. Therefore, do whatever it takes to retain your high performing employees. Here are some tips for retaining your best employees:

  • Be proactive in keeping employees motivated. Look for and solve employee motivation problems before they begin. Conduct "one-on-one" employee interviews to see how employees feel about their job and their career with your company. If employees are unhappy, find out why and solve the problem(s).

  • Create career paths for your high performing employees. One of leading reasons why employees quit is they feel they do not have a future with their present employer. Show your employees that you care about their growth and advancement within the company and your employees will be far more motivated to stay and do a good job.

  • Compliment and reward employees for a job well done. In a survey conducted by, job seekers voted that recognition from their manager on a job well done is almost as important as pay. Compliments do not cost your company anything so start complimenting your employees on a job well done. You will see turnover decrease and your employees will be more motivated to do a great job.

Considering the time, effort and money involved in hiring new employees, it makes smart business sense to hire and retain motivated employees. This is especially true with entry-level positions where turnover and training costs are high as in the call center industry. Motivated employees have higher job performance, they respond better to training and they remain with a company longer. This in turn increases job performance while lowering future recruiting and training costs due to lower turnover. To see the positive impact of hiring motivated employees, look at your company's star performers. I bet they all have one personality trait in common—they are all highly self-motivated.

The second part of this strategy is that once you have hired motivated employees, do everything you can to retain them. Understand that employee retention is primarily a management issue. Motivated employees stay at companies where management makes them feel good about themselves and good about the job they are doing. Compliment and reward your employees when they perform well. Tell them they are important to the success of your company. Build a career path for motivated employees and advance them within your organization because if you don't, your competitors certainly will. Realize that your company is only as good as its employees. Therefore, give your company the best opportunity for success by hiring and retaining the best people--highly motivated people.

About the Author
Peter C. Geisheker is an Internet Recruiting Specialist and the Director of Marketing for, a niche job board for the call center and customer service industries.

Today's Tip of the Day - Outsourcing Service Agreements

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Published: Thursday, August 8, 2002

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