Frontline Recruitment: A Comprehensive Guide

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Frontline workers make up a huge proportion of employees. Research indicates that more than half of all employees in the U.S. alone are frontline, making it essential for businesses to optimize their hiring processes.    

That's why we've compiled some of the foundational elements of frontline recruitment. Explore which industries frontline workers are most prominent in—and the best practices to fill the high-volume of vacancies.

Who are frontline workers?

Many people think of frontline workers as police, firefighters, EMS, etc., but the term is used much more broadly now. There are frontline workers in various industries, from retail to manufacturing, healthcare, athletics, public schools, agriculture, and beyond. Frontline workers are essentially hourly workers who are individual contributors performing in-person labor. 

What is frontline recruitment?

Frontline recruitment is a complex process that involves finding the right places to search for job seekers—and then searching among candidates for those who will be the best fit. In each case, you’ll be conducting assessments looking for certain characteristics:

  • Skills or certifications that qualify workers for certain roles—like EMT certification, teaching or instructional qualifications, or other certified skills
  • People who enjoy working in support services, customer-facing, or people-facing roles
  • People who will be cultural fits for the positions that you’re offering

What industries are most likely to hire frontline workers?

Almost every industry has a point of contact between the organization and the customer, which means all industries need frontline workers. However, some industries only have a handful of frontline career opportunities. In others, like healthcare, frontline workers make up the bulk of employees.

Let’s examine some of the industries most likely to hire frontline workers below.


Agriculture is by far the largest industry globally, accounting for 858 million jobs. In the United States alone, the agricultural industry has 19.7 million full- and part-time jobs. These jobs range from farm labor to food manufacturing, food service, leather manufacturing, and more.

Frontline jobs in agriculture

  • Farm laborers
  • Fishermen
  • Foresters
  • Grocers
  • Meat packers


Retail is a big sector, with the industry employing 497 million globally and between 16 and 17 million workers in the U.S. While some workers are backend staffing (like store accounting or human resources), the overwhelming majority are frontline workers.

Frontline jobs in retail

  • Cashiers
  • Store clerks
  • Salespeople
  • Customer service representatives
  • First-line management over retail sales workers


This is another significant sector, employing roughly 427 million around the world and between 12 and 13 million people in the U.S. While sometimes confusing, manufacturing differs from other key sectors like agriculture and the retail industry in that these jobs focus on the production (and not sales) of non-farm consumer goods.

Frontline jobs in manufacturing

  • Production workers
  • Inspectors, testers, sorters, and quality assurance professionals
  • Machinists
  • Purchasing agents
  • Assemblers


Construction spans a wide range of workers, from the person who fixes your leaky faucet or squeaky hinges to the people building skyscrapers. As of 2022, BLS statistics reveal this sector employs roughly 7.7 million workers in the United States—and there are about 265 million construction workers in total around the globe.

Frontline jobs in construction

  • Construction laborers
  • Construction managers
  • Equipment operators
  • Engineers
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians


Education is made up of lots of little sub-categories to support learners of all kinds. For example, library workers are one frontline group in this industry. Then there are a variety of teaching jobs, from elementary and middle school to post-secondary and adult education. Each school district has frontline support staff like counselors, student services workers, substitute teachers, cooks, and janitors employed throughout the school year.

This industry employs about 226 million globally and 1.7 million people in the U.S.

Frontline jobs in education

  • Pre-school, elementary, and high school teachers
  • Post-secondary education
  • Tutors
  • Library workers
  • Fitness instructors
  • Teaching assistants
  • Support staff, including janitors, cooks, counselors, etc.


Healthcare is interesting: Globally, it’s among the smallest sectors of frontline workers, employing only 148 million people. But in the United States, healthcare is huge—easily the biggest of all frontline industries. The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent data reveals that about 20 million people work in healthcare and social assistance in the United States.

Frontline jobs in healthcare

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • EMTs and medics
  • Clinical laboratory technologists
  • Audiologists
  • Mental health therapists
  • Massage therapists
  • Midwives
  • Home health aides
  • Surgeons
  • Veterinarians


The restaurant industry is another composed almost entirely of frontline workers. Globally, about 122 million people work in this industry. In the United States, about 11 million work in restaurants.

Frontline jobs in the restaurant industry

  • Waitstaff
  • Hosts
  • Cooks
  • Dishwashers
  • First-line supervisors of restaurant workers

Key components for frontline recruitment success

You want to fill open positions as efficiently as possible—and with top-quality recruits, too. The guide below outlines the key components you’ll need for success.

High-quality candidate experience

Not all companies prioritize providing an excellent experience to job applicants, but you should. A great experience builds up your reputation as an employer and sets your future employees up for success. Start the hiring process on a positive note, and you’ll attract higher quality talent and retain them for longer, too.

The following three components are crucial to providing a great recruitment experience:


A speedy hiring process makes job openings much more inviting. No one wants to wait days or weeks after filing an online application for a response. If your hiring process is slow, you may lose great candidates to a competitor with a more streamlined approach to recruiting. In a survey by PWC, 67% of respondents say that slow recruiting processes are the most frustrating part of job seeking and results in a poor candidate experience.

Even those currently employed and looking to switch jobs value a speedy process. It makes them feel valued and less like they’re just a number in a queue.


Efficiency is all about making a good impression. If your hiring process is messy and disorganized, it speaks of an organization where disorganization is the norm. Job seekers are more likely to withdraw applications from companies with inefficient hiring processes and instead focus their efforts on organizations with an efficient application process.


As mentioned above, people don’t like to be treated like material assets or a number in a queue—and empathy, or hiring with heart, is the secret to avoiding this problem. Hiring with empathy means providing a personalized recruitment experience in which you serve almost as an assistant to the new recruit. Answer their questions, send out reminders, and do everything it takes to offer meaningful support.

Frontline recruitment automation tools

Automation tools are a key component for recruitment success because they help you smooth out the application and hiring process by removing many of the manual tasks that bog your team down.

For example, a frontline applicant tracking system like Emi can help you create and automate job postings, monitor social media, and even communicate with applicants via automated emails for important paperwork, interview dates and times, etc.

The right sources to attract the best talent

Building a great talent pool means hanging out in the spots where external applicants are most likely to find you. This means finding the right social media sites, job boards, and career platforms.

With 850 million users, LinkedIn remains a popular place for people to job search—but Glassdoor is another top contender among job seekers. Other sites, like SimplyHired or Indeed, can also prove useful.

Social recruiting is huge these days, too. Fifty-nine percent of the world's population now uses social media, so advertising your job openings using social media sites like Facebook is a great way to meet candidates where they are.

Mobile-friendly recruiting strategy

Appcast’s 2022 Recruitment and Benchmarking Report reveals that 67% of job applications in 2021 were completed on mobile devices. This number is expected to grow because it’s easy, convenient, and engaging for job seekers. Remember how we said that over half the world’s population is using social media? Those apps are primarily accessed via mobile devices. To be competitive in the job market, you need a mobile-friendly strategy, such as providing further information about the job or interview availability on-demand via SMS and messaging apps.

Shorter time to hire

Reducing time to hire saves your organization money compared to a lengthy hiring process. It ensures that you can bring in the best candidates—before they get tired of waiting and move on to other opportunities. Secure top talent by accelerating employee onboarding.

Referral program

Up to 91% of employers rely on referrals to bring in talent. Magnifying your referral program is important because it’s an incredibly effective way to source new employees. You’re effectively asking your best workers to refer their peers, which enables you to make more hires while assessing fewer applicants.

Upgrade your frontline recruitment process with Emi

Frontline workers are the backbone of most industries. It takes a lot of work and the right tools to make great hires, and Emi is here to help. Use Emi’s tools to screen for the right applicants, reduce your time to hire, and handle many of the myriad tasks associated with applicant tracking, hiring, and onboarding.

Enjoy cost savings, a streamlined hiring process, and better hires with Emi. Request your demo today.

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