Finding and hiring qualified print shop employees can be difficult. A tight labor market is partly to blame, but other factors may be making the challenge even harder.

For example, if you read through the ads for print-shop jobs on the Indeed website, you’ll see that some print shops are seeking employees who can lift heavy boxes of materials and perform a mix of computer, equipment operations, finishing, maintenance, quality control, customer service, and graphics installation tasks. A company that expects an employee to be able to do it all might scare off some potentially good candidates.

Even worse, very few recruitment ads make it clear that today’s printing business is much different than it was five years ago. Many potential applicants might not know that print shops have been transformed by automation and technology, more visually creative projects, and entrepreneurial leadership.

Consider these tips before advertising for your next employees.

Look forward not backward. Don’t hire employees simply to continue doing things the way you have always done them. Determine the specific skills your shop may need if you plan to expand into new markets or offer new types of services over the next two years. For example, if you will be offering packaging and displays, seek employees with backgrounds in packaging prepress or structural design.

Brainstorm with your best employees. What do they like most about working at your print shop? What keeps them interested and motivated? What misconceptions do they think exist about what the printing industry today? Listen to the words and phrases they use and consider using similar vocabulary in your recruitment ads.

Also, ask your employees to refer people they think would be qualified for a job at your shop or to suggest places to look for the best candidates.

Write job descriptions that depict the printing business as a creative technology field. Describe how your shop uses automated digital printing and finishing equipment to help agencies execute creative projects associated with events, experiential marketing, personalized communications, or custom decor. If your shop makes merchandise for creative entrepreneurs or start-up companies, highlight that fact, If your shop aspires to become a leader the print-on-demand decoration of customized products, mention it.

Highlight what makes the job special. People want to work for great bosses and with people, they enjoy working with. They want to do work that matters and gives them opportunities to grow. If your company offers continuous opportunities for learning new skills and promotes from within, mention those elements of your culture.

Take steps to update the public perception of a “print shop.” Some candidates may avoid applying for “print shop” jobs because they think it’s a dying industry that only involves putting information on paper.

Consider hosting an open house for area students or youth groups. Walk them through the process of making something unique, such as a personalized poster, T-shirt, package, or photo gift. Or set up a booth at a local arts and crafts show. Show creative examples of all of the different decorative products, 3D props, and gift items that can be produced with the printing and finishing equipment at your print shop.

Even if the open-house or art-fair booth visitors never apply directly for a job with your print shop, they may share social media images of what they’ve learned about what’s possible with printing today.

Read posted ads for print-shop jobs as if you were new to the printing business. Does the description sound bland and outdated? Instead of copying the wording of traditional ads, create an ad that stands out from the rest. Make your company sound like an environment in which creative technologists, artisans, and makers could thrive.

Support schools and colleges that train employees for printing and creative technology careers. Get involved with printing associations that have programs designed to help students see how the printing industry is changing. At some bigger printing shows, you can meet graphic-communications instructors who might be willing to recommend some of their most talented students.

But don’t limit your support to schools with graphic-communications programs. Students with backgrounds in visual communications, art, surface imaging, and media are trained to use software and technology to turn creative ideas into real-world projects.

Recruiting, hiring, and training new employees is hard work. It takes time and should be an ongoing effort. Ordant print-shop management software can help you gain more time to focus on recruiting or developing a work culture that can help retain good employees. If too many hours of your day are consumed with the routine details of estimating, managing and tracking incoming orders, our software can help streamline the process while reducing human errors and oversight. Our cloud-based software is simple enough for everyone in your shop to use. You can also customize it easily as your shop adds new equipment, new services, and new employees. For a demonstration, visit www.ordant.com