Finding Sales Stars in Unlikely Places

Who said you can’t get good help these days? Actually, it was 60 percent of small business owners in a recent study. One of their biggest challenges was finding skilled employees. That’s especially true when hiring sales staff. The solution to the problem might lie with a group you may not have considered—older workers. Here’s why you should consider them and how you might start your search.

Older Workers Offer a Unique Skill Set

Don’t count out older workers and retirees when looking to fill vacancies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 54 percent of workers over age 65 are employed at least part-time.

They offer a number of characteristics that can be attractive to small businesses, including:

  • Detail-oriented – Using their experience in the workplace, they tend to be detail-oriented. That means they may notice issues before they become bigger problems.
  • Strong work ethic – Older workers tend to consistently report to work on time and are engaged while “on the clock.” That’s important in assuring that you have adequate staffing to serve your customers.
  • Lower labor costs – Some may already have health benefits under Medicare or have an additional source of income. So they may be willing to take a little less in return for the job they want.
  • Strong communication – Older workers can take direction and work independently after an assignment is given. They can communicate with customers to understand their needs and present solutions.
  • Loyal – They tend to stay longer in a job. In fact, the BLS reports that a worker’s tenure increases based on their age when they started. That’s important when trying to reduce expensive employee turnover. It also creates a consistent experience for customers.

Attracting Older Workers

If your business could use staff with these characteristics, here are some ways to recruit older workers:

  • Offer flexible schedules – The ability to work part-time or work from home can offer more of the work-life balance that retired workers are seeking.
  • Expand recruiting sources – There are a number of websites targeting older individuals seeking employment. These include:,, and AARP.
  • Link up with social networks – LinkedIn offers support for small businesses looking to hire staff. That includes hard-to-find candidates. Not only can you search for potential staff, but you can also proactively post openings.

Finding good help may not be as difficult as you think—if you know where to look. Consider whether the characteristics of older workers might serve your small businesses. Then expand your recruiting efforts to attract this growing resource of talent.

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