Hiring with Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) might be your best option for reaching interested qualified hourly workers – but only if you use it well.

To be certain, it’s an employer’s market right now with unemployment at 10%. But, you can’t take for granted a pool of talented, experienced candidates. You still have to get the word out that you want the best and brightest to fill your open position.

Small businesses have few effective recruiting resources. Ads in big newspapers are costly and counter-productive. Small local papers reach all the people you don’t want and none of the people you do. Monster sites are too universal for your own good. Setting aside local networking and word of mouth, Craigslist might be just the resource you need.

Open a Craigslist account.

Follow the prompts at https://accounts.craigslist.org/login/signup. Follow the link they email you to complete your application. Identify yourself as fully or as anonymously as you wish to appear in your postings. For example, you may not want phone calls or walk-ins until you have reviewed email responses.

As you set up account, you will receive an email address that will direct responses to your postings into an inbox you can open at your convenience. There is no fee to advertise (except in large markets), you can use as many words as you like, and you are assured anonymity if you want.

Create intriguing ads.

  • Review the categories where your job will appear. You can post the job in more than one category.
  • Title the job to attract applicants. For example, “Front Desk Personality” appeals more than “receptionist” does. “Problem Solver” interests more than “customer service rep.”
  • Be conversational and inviting in tone. Avoid the dos and don’ts of a job description.
  • Offer a snapshot of the job and the workplace culture. Sell your culture and, then, describe your needs and expectations.

For example, an ad for an office assistant might read so:

“It’s 10:07 P.M., and I’m still working!!

Beth Marcus and I are architects in a growing practice located in Farmington. We are different from other design firms in town. Our clients are small developers that rely on our advice. We help our friends and clients with their design needs, and hone their construction strategies so that they can be profitable even in difficult economic times.

But, I’m stuck working late again because I’ve just got too many things to do – accounting, bookkeeping and payroll projects are just piling up. With the housing market in the bind it is, I should spend more time advising clients and less on bookkeeping projects.

Can you help me take care of the accounting so that we are able to provide the high-end consulting services they need?

Are you somebody who’s superb at handling details? A loyal, hardworking, energetic person who follows through and almost never misses a deadline? Your last employer considered hiring two people to replace you? Excellent with QuickBooks and understand bookkeeping inside and out? Comfortable in a small business environment where priorities change quickly? A super organized get-it-done type who’s also very good at communicating with people?

If you are all these things, reply with your resume and cover letter.

Did I mention we need someone loyal, energetic and deadline driven?

This creates a picture of the need and the person we are looking for. It lets candidates really express their own fitness and show what they bring to the table. Let your readers and target group know what you REALLY want and encourage them to sell themselves and your business!


by Steven Schlagel