Ask Uncle Marty™ is an advice column published bi-monthly in MBC Today, the Association of Mail and Business Centers' (AMBC) industry-leading magazine. If you would like to submit a letter to Ask Uncle Marty™, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity is guaranteed, and names are always changed.
Dear Uncle Marty,
I need to hire someone new. I know you’ve written about this before, and I’ve tried some of the methods you suggested but am not having any luck finding the right person. Any other ideas?
Thanks,Understaffed in Utah
It sounds like you’ve tried the usual channels: online ads, “Now Accepting Applications” sign at your shop, asking your current team if they have family or friends they’d recommend, etc. If none of that has been successful yet, I indeed do have another suggestion for you: hire your clients!
This topic came up again at AMBC’s The Event in November. It was a great reminder to me that our best potential hiring field is right under our noses. So often we start our hiring search outside of our own doors, when really we should be starting by looking at what’s right in front of us. Who better to sell our services than those who already appreciate it so much that they’ve become regular patrons?
Ask your clients directly if they’re looking for a side job or some part-time hours. Clients might be caught off guard by you approaching them with this question—and obviously you’re not going to ask that CEO who’s always in a rush if she’s looking for a job—but you can generally tell those who might be interested, and all you need to do is just bring it up. They’ll probably be flattered that you asked, even if they’re not interested, and the conversations that start as a result have a good chance of leading to the right person.
Your clients know your business better than you may think. They’ll know who to recommend, even if they’re not job hunting themselves, because they know the type of people they’d want helping them: friendly, caring, kind, and outgoing … with big smiles and big hearts.
Marty Johnson is a shopkeeper, writer, and business coach. He serves as ex officio Director of Communication for AMBC, Editor of MBC Today, and is the owner of Uncle Marty's Shipping Office in Ithaca, NY, where he's also Co-Founder of the Collegetown Small Business Alliance. Please visit him at askunclemarty.com. #AskUncleMarty
This excerpt from Ask Uncle Marty™ was first published on page 19 of MBC Today Volume 21, Issue 6 (November / December 2019); it was then republished on the AMBC blog on December 5, 2019.