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Food and Beverage: How to Maximize Quality Applications

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The labour shortage experienced in the food and beverage industry in Canada and Ontario has no single cause: while many workers are retiring or leaving, qualified candidates that could replace them are often unaware of employment opportunities in the industry. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has added oil to the fire.

In this context, making your company attractive and maintaining a high reputation is essential. However, you are not alone in facing this challenge. To ensure you attract as many relevant applicants as possible to cater to your needs, here are 3 steps to follow.



1. Diversify candidate acquisition channels

F&B processing is the largest manufacturing sector employer in Ontario and yet, that fact is not common knowledge to the public. To get the word out and attract a large number of candidates, diversify your approaches while identifying the channels best suited to the profiles you seek.


Which job listings platforms should I use to post my ads?

Generalist job boards offer a huge pool of candidates looking for skilled and unskilled jobs. Because these sites attract a wide variety of profiles, not all of the applications you receive will match the position you are offering: be prepared to do some sorting.

Among these platforms, Indeed is the world leader with 225 million resumes online. The site offers the possibility to find candidates by posting an ad-sponsored or not - or by searching for specific profiles in the database. 

If you want to limit the area of your search, Jobboom offers similar options while focusing on Canada. 

Don't forget public platforms: amongst them, Employment Ontario gives you access to programs that fund training for your workers.


While specialized recruiting sites offer a smaller pool of talent, they have the advantage of focusing on the industry. They are therefore more likely to direct you to the right candidate, especially if you are looking for skilled labour, from specialized workers to executives with experience in the food industry.


Among them, remember Careers In Food. Covering Canada and the U.S., the site is the largest F&B industry-specific job board online. 

If you are looking for a young workforce, FoodGrads or the Ontarian platform Taste Your Future connect you with post-secondary students and young graduates looking for a job, training or networking opportunities.

Which social network should I choose to search for candidates?

If you find yourself doubting the relevance of social networks as a recruitment tool, keep in mind that many candidates who might be interested in your job postings are not actively looking for a new position.


Posting ads through LinkedIn is a safe bet as its members present themselves according to their professional profile and specific skills. Furthermore, the platform gives access to a large pool of workers with more than 774 million users in 200 countries. 

More popular than LinkedIn with its 2.9 billion users, Facebook does not give direct access to a pool of candidates. However, the platform allows you to publish sponsored ads to target your audience according to their geographical area, their interests and their age.

If you are good at visual communication, Instagram is the perfect passive acquisition tool to attract younger candidates as 60% of users are between 18 and 34 years old. 


How to find candidates on the field?

Don't hesitate to visit colleges and universities to offer talks: showcasing the fun aspects of F&B jobs can help you attract young people who may be reluctant to work in an industry where working conditions can be difficult and wages low. Furthermore, this audience is likely to be eager to work in a more digitized and optimized food manufacturing sector.


You can also take this opportunity to set up partnerships with professional schools in order to get students on internships or recent graduates in entry-level positions. 


Another hunting ground you can focus on is Career fairs. They provide businesses and job seekers with an opportunity to exchange prior to the recruitment and interviews. In Ontario, the Feeding your Future initiative offers Virtual Career Fairs across the province. Keep yourself posted on events.


How to recruit using my internal resources?

Few manufacturing employees post their employer's job openings on their personal networks. Trying to capitalize on these openings by creating a referral program that allows current employees to recommend jobs is an effective way to recruit skilled workers that will mesh well with your existing team.

Also, reach out to former candidates to propose open positions that could meet their interests and qualifications. This initiative may improve your chances of recruiting the talent you need.

 Recruiting Candidates


2. Increase your company’s online visibility

By enhancing your online visibility, you maximize your chance of receiving applications. Three good ways to do so: Invest in a good SEO strategy, make your online job offers easy to share and be active on social networks.


How can I improve my online ranking, especially for job postings?

Your website is not only your company's showcase; it is also a powerful tool to increase your online visibility.  First, you start by optimizing your website for search engines (SEO).  Then, by ensuring it follows search engine’s guidelines and is filled with relevant and regularly updated content - you increase your company’s chances of coming out on top of search results.  This makes it easier for the jobs posted on your site to be found and increases your chances of receiving unsolicited applications.


When it comes to your job ads, make sure they appear on your website as well as other job boards. Indeed, these platforms often require a user registration process that can be off-putting to some candidates. 

Also, ensure their application is easy to submit and avoid long forms asking candidates to retype their resumés line by line. 

Finally, and whenever possible, adding direct sharing to social networks on your ads can considerably increase your exposure. 


How and why should I ensure my presence on social networks?

Remember that every social network you subscribe to is a gateway to your business’ website, which contributes to good positioning on search engines. 

Furthermore, working on the growth of your online communities, through a thought-out strategy will also increase the reach of the job offers you post on said networks. 

To make the most of this sharing power, make sure your offers have a dedicated URL, accessible in one click from your post. 


Diversify Candidate Channels


3. Should I rely on external hiring solutions?

Though costly, recruitment agencies and head hunters are generally an effective solution in the search for skilled candidates. They can save you valuable time while identifying and recruiting very specific profiles. Whether you are looking for food supply chain analysts or quality assurance experts, here's what you need to know:


Recruitment agencies handle multi-media advertising and search for candidates at all levels, according to your needs. They work in pull mode by letting candidates come to them. As an added perk: agencies often have a result obligation and can support you during the integration phase of the new employee.


Unlike recruiting firms, head-hunters use the push method by going out and finding relevant profiles among workers who are not necessarily looking for a job. More "aggressive" in their prospecting, they are particularly good at finding very specific profiles but are usually more expensive.


Finally, if you want to optimize your recruitment process while keeping things in-house, you can rely on HR management software or Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) that automates the recruitment process, keeps track of all applications, schedules interviews, and includes many other time-saving features.


Recruitment agencies

Attracting as many candidates as possible who also meet your needs is a multi-faceted battle. Post your offers on the right platforms, optimize your online content, and, if necessary, rely on external help. These will be invaluable in your search for workers.


Now that you know how to attract candidates and maximize the number of applications you receive and their quality, learn how to retain your new and older employees on board. This is the last yet essential step to combat labour shortages in the food and beverage industry.