High Volume Sourcing for Minimum Wage Employees

Depending on your geographical location, the minimum wage can mean a lot of different things. While some areas in the US have taken steps to raise the minimum to a more attractive number, the bulk of us are still working around the federal minimum of $7.25/ hour. Finding staff who are quality and reliable at this rate can raise significant challenges. Here are a few ways to try to get ahead of the curve.

Be Flexible:

Too often we hyper-focus on a candidate’s ability to be flexible that we allow ourselves to become scheduling tyrants. The fact is though that most minimum wage positions are part-time, which means the candidate is having to work multiple jobs or maybe juggling it with a school schedule. Building in scheduling flexibility is a great way to edge out the competition who has a more rigid approach.

Rejuvenate Referrals:

Employee referrals are the number one source of quality hires, and that rings true of minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately, many are missing the mark when building a culture that supports referrals at this level. Realistically, minimum wage employees are at the bottom of the ladder of an organization and routinely treated as such. As a result, you have a large mass of workers who have been disenfranchised to the point that they don’t believe their ability to add value is appreciated by the larger organization. Empowering employees with the ability to contribute to how things are done can go a long way to building engagement, and grow referrals.

Offer Out of the Box Compensation:

Not all compensation comes in the form of dollars and cents. Walmart proved this when they offered English as second language classes for Spanish-speaking workers on the clock as an incentive when hiring for entry-level positions in the Southern US. They’ve recently expanded this to include free online high school programs.  Suddenly, their reputation of being a soulless corporate employer transformed into being known as a place offering vast opportunities. Knowing the what opportunities would speak to your local hiring area is key to sourcing quality employees.

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Be Where the People Are / Guerilla Marketing:

More than 80% of your hourly workforce lives within five miles of their jobs. Your top three sources for minimum wage employees are those in school, retirees, and those balancing multiple jobs. In an attempt to put yourself out there and make different groups of people

    • School Events: Positioning yourself at local high school or college events can be a great way to face-to-face with the local applicant pool. This generation is highly engaged on social media so build a digital presence on local pages too.
    • Retirees: Many baby boomers are beginning the struggle of trying to retire without any savings, and are seeking part-time roles to supplement social security. Seeking out area events or locations that cater to this age group is a great start.
    • Career Services: If your local community has career services programs building partnerships with them is the best way to access those attempting to enter or re-enter the workforce. They have their ear to the ground on job fairs and can push out information to their database of clients.


As a whole hiring for minimum wage can be tricky, but with the right strategies in place can become a well-oiled machine. How do you think these strategies may change as minimum wage increases and changes the talent pool? 

Phil Hendrickson, former Chief Talent Strategist at Qwalify, is an industry recognized expert in the field of talent acquisition. He brings decades of experience helping companies solve a broad range of challenges, ranging from millennial recruiting, talent pipelining, recruiter training, diversity strategies, employer brand, talent engagement, veterans initiatives, mobile recruiting, social media, talent retention and systems integrations.

Having worked inside companies across a broad range of industries, from professional services, financial services and retail Phil understands how to navigate across teams and lead projects successfully. Several examples include: at Apple, doubling the Americas recruiting team to accommodate record store openings, consolidating a global CRM and beginning a veterans’ initiative. At Starbucks, he helped to: launch their veterans’ initiative, mobile recruiting, begin Starbucks jobs on Twitter and rolling out the first hourly ATS across 9,000 stores.

Phil has a passion for the retail industry and for helping recruiting teams overcome seasonal talent shortages, reduce turnover and other retail specific recruiting challenges. At both Starbucks and Apple Phil has perfected strategies for recruiting for culture fit.

Phil has been interviewed in Forbes, WSJ, CIO Insights and the Canadian Retailer Magazine. He supports local and national recruiting organizations and sits on the board of Northwest Recruiters Association, The LinkedIn 100, US Avature Advisory Council, a founding Advisory Council member for GettingHired a portal for people with disabilities and he was on LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Hall of Fame.

Phil began his recruiting career at a small boutique search firm in Lexington MA, and soon joined larger executive search firms before deciding to go into corporate recruiting. He has spent his corporate career at Sapient, Fannie Mae, Starbucks, Apple Retail, Qwalify and now Proactive Talent Strategies.

Prior to his career in talent acquisition he was an artist in Los Angeles, a painter, sculptor and a glass blower who traveled to Italy many times. Putting himself through school at UCLA Phil was a furniture mover living in Santa Monica while also working as an apartment manager, handyman and gardener for an apartment building near the ocean. In LA he also worked in Hollywood doing production work as a grip on TV commercials and music videos.