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The Pros and Cons of Help Wanted Signs

The Pros and Cons of Help Wanted Signs on ahabusinessconsulting.comWhat help wanted signs to say about the job and your company

How does it make you feel about a business when you see a help wanted sign posted on their front window? If the sign is nice or customized with different wording – such as “seeking future teammates” or “now hiring” – it can be more appealing than the old orange and black sign.

The decision to use a help wanted sign really depends on the industry, what that company wants to say to the public, and who they want to hire.

A quick history of “help wanted”

For most of us, the word combination help wanted conjures up the image of an orange lettered sign, posted in a convenience store window.

So, why did companies even adopt the phrasing, to begin with?

The roots of “help wanted” are much more deliberate than the modern expression. It traces back to the days before large companies were abundant, to rural business and farming job markets.

In a way, “help wanted” essentially means, “hey, I need a hand.” In times before branding was significant and populations were smaller, businesses or farmers asking for help didn’t generate the same stigma it would today.

Today’s store-bought help wanted signs subconsciously indicate a lower commitment.

Whether we realize why or not, usually a “now hiring” sign gives us at least a slightly better feel for the company’s stability and treatment of their staff. It’s also offering more of a “what can we do for each other?” message rather than “what can you do for me?”

The pros and cons of posting a sign

The type of sign and wording is all going to depend on the type of business, the target employee, and possibly the budget available. However, there’s more to consider than just the sign; the decision to post – online, or on-site – has other factors to consider, as well.

Why it’s favorable:

  • Convenience. Posting a sign in your window or to a virtual job board is simple, quick, and inexpensive.
  • Tapping into a local pool. Those who see a sign posted to a storefront or physical business, are more likely to live close by.
  • Passive job seekers. Everyone who walks by your business is likely to catch a glimpse of your now hiring sign, including people who aren’t necessarily looking for work. This can lead to word of mouth
  • Current customers can be great employees. The best people to have on your team are the ones who believe in your product or service. Your current clients already like what you’re doing, if they know you’re hiring, they might be just as excited by the opportunity as you are by their interest.

Why it’s unfavorable:

Inconvenience. Maybe the first thing to ask yourself before posting a help wanted a sign to your storefront is: can I afford to be interrupted at random times by inquiries about the job?

Professionalism. This con is industry specific. A Stop ’N Shop miles away from any other store isn’t going to lose business over a help wanted the sign. However, if it’s in the window of a nice restaurant, there’s the risk of damaging their brand image. It can also make a business appear understaffed, and therefore unable to provide proper customer service.

Perceived as poor working conditions. Maybe due to movies and cartoons, a help wanted sign can trigger images of a disgruntled employee walking out on an unreasonable manager. If a business needs help so badly that they have to resort to a help wanted a sign, then for some, it could indicate it’s not a good place to work.

Help wanted is only the beginning

Whether it’s from an orange-lettered sign, Internet posting, or referrals, once you’ve got a prospective employer’s attention, the decision-making process has just begun.

Fortunately, there’s help. At AHA! Business Consulting, we have everything you need to get the hiring process started. Download our free eBook, 3 Stress-Free Steps to Hiring Frontline Employees for Your Business,” or contact us to discuss the AHA! Impressions programs and training that works best for your business’ needs.

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