How we hired for seasonal manufacturing in a rural market

How we hired for seasonal manufacturing in a rural market


A short seasonal window for rural warehouse

Our customer, a global food and beverage company, has over 2,000 brands ranging from household favourites to global icons, present in 190 countries worldwide.

Pontoon’s RPO service supports our customer with North America front-line hires, such as drivers, warehouse associates, retail sales representatives and merchandisers. We hired over 1,500 new hires for these roles over the course of one year.

While the bulk of new hires were retail sales, more than 20% were supply chain and transportation positions in rural markets.

The challenge

Creating a talent pool in a limited market

One hiring challenge was a rural manufacturing facility with seasonal needs.

The 14,000+ square foot, 24/7 warehouse needed a talent pool for bi-lingual workers across all shifts.

The customer wanted to avoid product waste but also meet the harvest season deadlines.

The local talent market was limited, and we had to come up with creative ideas for filling the open roles.

How we helped

Grassroots + automation to source suitable candidates

Standard sourcing methods used for national and urban markets were not effective for this rural location.

Spanish speaking was a strict requirement, so the team created an impressive grassroots campaign to target this scarce population.

All signage and advertisements were published in both Spanish and English.

The team started with the Migrant Council to connect Pontoon with the Latino community.

Then we:

  • Addressed local advertising with building banners, yard signs, and referral cards
  • Broadcasted the role on local radio stations including NPR and published ads in local newspapers
  • Worked with the Chamber of Commerce and promoted the position in community social media groups.

Knowing that many of our most qualified candidates could be leaving work in the early hours of the morning, we implemented a candidate-driven application that matched the pace of the factory itself.

Our recruitment stack directed candidates to an on-demand screen when it was convenient and allowed them to self-schedule interviews in real time.

Outside of normal business hours, candidates were guided through the process via an automated network of SMS text alerts and personal voicemails in their preferred language.


Low cost, high impact

Our team filled every available position with Spanish speakers in one month’s time with 100% retainment for the duration of the canning season.

The grassroots campaign was a low cost compared to our typical advertising solutions and proved to be very effective for the rural market.

Requiring quick research and execution from our team to meet the seasonal deadlines, we were able to leverage the impressive tech stack and automation already in place for our national RPO programme to speed up the process and maximise every hour leading up to the deadline.

Though only a small part of our overall RPO delivery, the dedication from our team to this project highlights our commitment to each and every manufacturing site and position in scope.