Gabe Abshire, the CEO of Utility Concierge, is offering $5,000 to applicants who walk away from his job offer.
“We’re really ramping up this year. We need to hire about 60 people,” he explained.
The concept his company created is unique. His employees work the phone and shop deals to get electricity, water, natural gas, alarm services, telephone and cable connected for residents moving into a new home.
“But it’s been tough,” added Abshire. “We are asking people to be on the phone. It’s a phone job.”
Problem is Utility Concierge has a lot more business than Abshire has employees.
So, he came up with the $5,000 offer.
“If we find the right person that goes through our hiring process, they sit in this room and go through training for two weeks and see the opportunity in front of them and pass our test, and if we give them the option to quit we’re going to pay them $5,000,” he explained.
It’s a pricey proposition, but one Abshire said he doubts he’ll ever have to pay.
“We’re very, very confident that they’re not going to leave, but we’re willing to pay them that $5,000 to leave because the cost of a bad hire is much, much more than $5,000.”
That’s how hard it’s becoming to fill positions for many companies everywhere. Unemployment nationwide is at four-percent. It’s slightly less than that in Texas.
Still, experts said a tight labor market is a good problem and also leading to a new trend.
“We lived in a world where if you wanted a job, you could find a job. But the pay was just going to be so-so. Now it looks like we’re living in a world where if you want a job, you can find a job and the pay will be better,” said Mike Davis, SMU Cox School of Business.
Walmart increasing its starting salary to $11 an hour on Thursday is another example.
“This market really seems to be strong from the top to the bottom,” added Davis.
That’s why Gabe resorted to that recruiting gimmick. He said he is confident that new hires can earn a lot more going to work for him but remains willing to pay $5,000 if they want to walk away.