Hourly Worker Insights: Strategies to Attract and Hire Frontline Talent

Hourly Worker Insights: Strategies to Attract and Hire Frontline Talent

Key Takeaways:

  • Hourly workers, especially frontline workers, have experienced a significant increase in demands and stressors – which has led to unprecedented levels of stress and burnout.
  • To avoid mass resignations, recruiters need to change the narrative and develop specialized strategies for recruiting hourly workers.
  • Challenges in recruiting hourly workers include difficulty finding suitable jobs and lack of feedback from employers/recruiters.
  • Shortcomings in the application process, such as lengthy applications and the inability to apply from mobile devices, contribute to candidate drop-off.

Hourly workers represent the frontline of the existing economic infrastructure. During the last few years, and particularly in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the demands and stressors on hourly workers have increased significantly. Today, these workers are facing unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. In fact, the situation has become so serious that 45% of hourly frontline workers have considered leaving their occupations.

To prevent mass resignations or a potential resurgence of the Great Resignation, it seems necessary to adopt a different narrative for these candidates. This will help address the specific needs of this particular group and ensure recruitment marketing efforts align with their expectations.

Currently, hourly employees comprise 55.5% of the workforce, and recruiting them can present unique challenges for those in talent acquisition. This article will address key insights gleaned from this group's studies, as well as strategies and best practices for attracting hourly and frontline hourly workers.

high-volume recruitment


Hourly Workers: Key Insights

One recent study showed that 61% of hourly job seekers say that finding the right jobs to apply to is their biggest obstacle to employment, while 62% say that finding jobs and a lack of feedback from employers/recruiters is the most significant barrier to employment. Speed is also an important factor for hourly job seekers, since hourly job seekers also say that being hired quickly is a top concern when deciding where to work.

Lack of clarity (which hinders candidates  from finding the right jobs) and difficult application processes, factored prominently in several recent studies of hourly job seekers. When confronted with these impediments, candidates often abandon the application. In these cases, factors that impact the likelihood of a candidate abandoning the application include:

  • Length of the application
  • Intrusive questions
  • Documentation requirements (resume, cover letters, etc.)
  • Account and password requirement
  • Inability to apply from mobile devices (e.g., smartphones & tablets)

Unfortunately, the aforementioned shortcomings fall at the feet of the hiring companies and recruitment marketing professionals, since all of these are within their power to remedy.

For example, when a business has walk-in applicants, they don’t require them to provide a resume or cover letter on the spot to interview. So, when an applicant sees such a requirement for a similar establishment requesting these in an online application, it becomes a source of frustration.

Another example involves applications that are not mobile-friendly. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 77% of U.S. adults are now using mobile phones, and nearly 70% of job applications are being completed on these devices. Yet, Glassdoor recently reported that mobile job seekers average 53% fewer job applications successfully completed, and that these take 80% longer to complete applications. This speaks to inefficiencies that hinder applicants.

hiring hourly workers


Hiring Hourly Workers: Best Practices

It can be a setback for business when companies lose great candidates due to their own oversights. Helping job seekers avoid confusion and frustration can attract quality candidates while enhancing the employer brand. Some best practices which help to ease the way for hourly candidates include:


Streamline the Application Process

Hiring/recruiting professionals should put themselves in the candidate’s shoes when seeking to streamline the application process, as this can lead to insights regarding how the process can be made easier for them. For hourly candidates, applications should be as brief as reasonably possible, with all information conveyed in clear, simple, and plain-spoken language that can be easily comprehended.

Tip: Checking the application process (by having a staff member submit applications) every few months is a good idea, as this can identify “bumps” in the process.

It is also imperative to ensure that the application process is mobile-friendly. For job seekers, there are few things more frustrating than receiving a link to a promising job opening, only to find out that they have to fill out multiple forms and upload multiple documents – both of which are very difficult to do from a mobile device.


Analyze Data

There’s never been more candidate data available to organizations and recruitment marketing professionals than today. This data provides deep insights into what candidates are experiencing during the candidate journey. If there are steps along the way where a large amount of candidate dropoff occurs, recruiters might consider adding resources that candidates can access when they have questions or are in need of other support.

recruitment marketing data


Engage Fast with Text and SMS

As indicated earlier, speed is essential, particularly for younger, tech-savvy job seekers – and many are on their phones. Many hourly workers aren’t sitting at a desk in their current jobs, and some rely on their mobile devices for most, if not all, of their computing needs. Sharing information on a position with a recent applicant or passive candidate can be done quickly and easily via text message or SMS. This is also a great way to differentiate the employer brand and expedite the hiring process.

Tip: Recruitics’ Fusion utilizes cutting-edge AI engagement technology to effectively drive, capture, nurture, and convert potential candidate leads into complete applications. Talent Navigators engage and encourage candidates to apply with text and email outreach, ensuring the company gets applicants delivered directly to the hiring team.


Nurture Prospective Candidates

When it comes to hourly recruiting, nurturing candidates and keeping on top of how prospective candidates are operating is essential. The turnover for hourly workers currently stands at nearly 50%, so it is very important to engage them on a regular basis – because one never knows when a passive candidate may become an active one. Further, 83.2% of job seekers surveyed said that they preferred to receive job alerts at least once a day.


Personalize Communications

Nurturing candidates is a great segue into personalization. Personalized job alerts – and personalized outreach in general – engage candidates far more than communications blasted to everyone in the company’s contact database. Customized job alerts are also highly useful for passive job seekers (who are more likely to be qualified and convert into a hire than other external candidates).

Personalized communications also help companies speak to the candidate's pain points and how the company’s EVP can help solve those pain points (e.g., salary, work/life balance).

candidate engagement strategies


Attracting Frontline Hourly Workers 

For organizations hiring frontline workers, having vacant positions can be more costly than reducing the workforce or pausing hiring. In addition to the best practices above, when hiring frontline hourly workers, recruiters can continue to hire for the skills they need while making use of relevant data.


Competitive Pay

Pay – and how compensation is communicated – is a high priority for frontline workers. Over 60% of frontline hourly job seekers surveyed said that higher-than-average pay would increase the likelihood of them accepting a job offer, and 80% said they would be more likely to apply for a job if the salary was prominently featured in the posting.


Hiring Events

Hiring events are great ways for companies to highlight their culture, show off teams, and engage with those in their industry. On the candidate side, 75% of frontline hourly job seekers indicated they would be interested in attending hiring events to look at new job opportunities.

Advertising for hiring events should be targeted to the desired audience and on the platforms they frequent. For example, many younger candidates will be on social media profiles like TikTok and Instagram, rather than Indeed or LinkedIn.

Note: Are there any hiring events Recruitics can help you promote this year? The team is skilled in advertising and optimizing hiring events that attract top talent.



Regular retargeting (remarketing) to candidates via programmatic advertising is quickly becoming a staple in the recruiter’s marketing toolkit. An audience who is already familiar with the organization and may be considering applying is an indispensable resource that all companies and recruitment marketers should be plugged into. Here, using a CRM or leaning on a talent network when using remarketing strategies can help companies to remain top of mind.

updating recruitment strategies


Skills-Based Hiring

Circling back to the pitfalls of summarily requiring resumes and other documents: More and more companies are seeing the benefits of skills-based hiring rather than adhering to standards that require certain certifications or years of experience. Candidates who develop skills outside of their specified roles are also highly valuable when the economy and hiring is tight, since these workers tend to be adept at picking up new skills and retraining.




When creating strategies for recruiting hourly and frontline hourly workers, recruiters need to understand and relate to the pressures they face and the mechanics of communication. If the goal is hiring the best hourly workers in the talent pool, it’s essential to make it as easy as possible for the best candidates to apply. 

Reach out to us if your company is interested in refining its strategies for hiring hourly and frontline hourly workers! The Recruitics team is revolutionizing the way to find, attract, and convert top talent and can help you future-proof your talent acquisition strategy.

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