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Searching for a job? Local businesses are finding creative incentives to get new hires in the door

Anything from signing bonuses to Dogecoin for an interview goes when looking for new employees.

TAMPA, Fla — While Florida’s economy gets back on track, businesses are working to keep up with demand.

“For the last, I think month or two, overall, across our locations, we're about 30 to 20 percent understaffed. Right now, especially now, with summer coming around, normally it’s pretty tough for us to hire. But I think with the pandemic going on, it’s a little bit tougher,” said Robert Ly, the owner of Sus Hi Eatstation.

There are nine different locations of the popular sushi spot across the state. Each of them was hit hard throughout the last year.

“It was really tough. Because we’re understaffed, we’re trying to find clever ways to get new applicants in,” Ly said.

Dogecoin is the latest incentive for people to apply. Once your application is submitted and you do an interview, you’re eligible to get 25 Dogecoin. Ly says anyone who’s hired gets a $100 sign-on bonus and $25 extra dollars if they’re vaccinated for COVID-19.

“We normally post on Indeed, or we do on Facebook or Instagram. But they haven't been working so well until we recently started using Dogecoin as a way to incentivize people just to show up to an interview. So far that has been working phenomenally,” Ly said.

More than 40 new applicants have applied in a week. Ly’s business isn’t the only one offering a little cash to get new hires in the door. Datz’s locations in Tampa Bay are offering a $200 sign-on bonus after 60 days of working with the company.

“It’s on every single application we provide. It's the first thing you see and it has helped bring in some employees because that's a hundred free bucks you get for working for us,” said Cristian Davila with Datz’s marketing team.

The Sunshine State’s latest unemployment rate sits at 4.7 percent as of March 2021. The Department of Economic Opportunity is set to release the data for April on May 21.

While businesses struggle to get new staff in, Gov. Ron DeSantis is urging people to find a job, saying Floridians have until the end of the month to continue to file for unemployment benefits without submitting proof they’re looking for a new job.

“I think it's pretty clear now we have an abundance of job openings," DeSantis said during a press conference last Wednesday. "You go and talk to businesses, they want to hire people, particularly in hospitality and restaurants, all these things. So this is the last month where you're gonna have that in place. You are going to have to resume at the end of this month the job searching as part of continuing to receive benefits."

Citing the economy’s strength, DeSantis said businesses in the state have the power to hire more people and put them to work, saying “I think we'll be able to go in that direction very soon.”

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