Job zone 2: what is it and how to hire for it

Learn how to hire job zone 2 candidates

If you're hiring candidates for a job, understanding the job zones is crucial for choosing the correct applicants. Each job zone encompasses careers with similar education, experience, and training needs. While one study suggests that 52% of adults are currently content in their roles and are not looking for a new job, that still leaves many job seekers competing for positions in job zone 2.

The careers in job zone 2 require some preparation before job seekers will be considered successful in the role. Many of these positions are considered blue-collar roles that might make between $20,000 and $50,000 per year. If you're hiring for roles in job zone 2, there are a few things you should know about the candidates applying.

Job zone 2 work experience

Job zone 2 roles require some previous work experience or work-related skills and knowledge. While candidates won't have a strong history of working the same job, they may have transferable skills that will prove helpful.

For instance, you might be hiring for a role as a cashier. Successful candidates may not have prior experience as cashiers, but they may have experience with customer service or in other public-facing roles. Hiring managers benefit from looking beyond specific work experience and instead looking at transferable skills like communication, analytical skills, teamwork, computer skills, critical thinking, and leadership skills.

Job zone 2 education

As you hire candidates from job zone 2, you will notice that most candidates have a high school diploma. Some candidates will have taken some community college classes, and some may have vocational training. If you're hiring for a customer service role, a candidate need not have a college degree to get hired. However, you may fill the role with a candidate who has a high school diploma for reassurance that the candidate has taken courses in English and math.

If you know that on-the-job training is available for these candidates, you can hire candidates who may not have extensive education in the field.

This also applies to some fields that are more technical. For instance, if you are hiring a veterinary assistant, the right candidate may not have a veterinary degree, but they may have some community college courses in animal care. If you know that on-the-job training is available for these candidates, you can hire candidates who may not have extensive education in the field.

Job zone 2 job training

No matter what kind of role you're hiring for in job zone 2, you should expect to train candidates. A job zone 2 role may require between several months to one year of on-the-job training. This type of job training may also require an apprenticeship. Job training may also come from school, military experience, or vocational training. In fact, a candidate with these types of experiences can be more appealing because you may spend less time training them.

For example, you'll spend less time training a bartender who has gone to bartending school than somebody who is completely new to the field. You may also find that some programs offer more training than others. For instance, different medical assistant schools may offer different levels of training, so you might have candidates with different levels of preparedness even though they've both attended a vocational program. Understanding these differences will help you determine which candidates need more training than others.

Tips for hiring in job zone 2

Job seekers in job zone 2 are more likely to consider getting a new job than those in other job zones. Even though there are barriers, like experience and education, to getting a job, these candidates want to feel valued. This can make the field competitive, and choosing the right candidates for a role can be difficult. These tips will help you hire the right candidate for a job zone 2 career.

Don't discount work experience in other fields

Many candidates will not have work experience when they apply for the role. As a hiring manager, you may look for other ways the candidate demonstrates responsibility and skills. A candidate who is switching from a retail role to a driving or transportation role will have experience with customers, which can help create a better experience for patrons.

Offer an apprenticeship

If you feel like you aren't getting the candidates you're looking for, you may offer an apprenticeship for new candidates. These candidates will learn the skills necessary for work in a hands-on environment. This kind of training is also an option that helps candidates find out if they enjoy the work and will find value in the role.

Craft job postings carefully

You'll get the best candidates applying for a role when they can easily discern that you're hiring for a role in job zone 2. There are a few facts you'll want to make clear, including the fact that successful candidates should have a high school diploma or some college credits. You may also want to specify that the role requires less than one year of work experience so you don't risk hiring somebody who is overqualified and feels undervalued.

For those skills that are necessary, you may want to include specific keywords to indicate this. Make a list of required skills and ensure it's easy to read or scan for job seekers who want to make sure they are qualified for the role.

Let cover letters do the talking

Many hiring managers find success in requiring that each candidate submit a cover letter. These cover letters can shine a light on the individual experiences of job seekers. For example, you may read resumes and find many new high school graduates with no work experience, but a cover letter can reveal that some of these new grads have strong communication skills, relevant coursework at community college, or experience working with a family business. You'll find that there's a lot more to these candidates than the information available on a resume.

Find ways to prove that you value employees

One of the biggest reasons why job zone 2 workers leave their roles is because they do not feel valued. They often feel they will make more money elsewhere for the amount of work they are doing. You can retain employees and encourage great candidates to apply in the first place by making clear what kind of value they will find in the role. For instance, you might list the benefits an employee can receive or discuss training and educational opportunities available for newly hired employees.

Use the job interview to your advantage

Since job zone 2 applicants may not have extensive work experience or education to list in a resume, getting to know them can be difficult. The job interview provides a great opportunity to get to know these candidates and see what they can bring to the table. Ask specific questions that pertain to experience, perhaps outside of work, to see where the transferable skills exist.

If you're hiring for a career in job zone 2, it's a good idea to have realistic expectations. Job zone 2 is competitive, but job seekers also want to know that their employers and managers will see their value before they commit to a role. Giving these candidates careful consideration will ensure that you choose the right candidate for an open role.


Get inside the minds of nearly 2,500 job seekers with these powerful insights to help you land quality candidates. Grab a copy here. 

Related reading: find the right candidates for a role

You could be missing out on great talent. Could you be overlooking great candidates for job zone 2 roles

Did you lose job seekers in the hiring process? These are some of the reasons job seekers stop responding.

Interview questions are key to learning more about job zone 2 candidates. These are questions even small businesses should ask job seekers.

Finding new employees is also about examining former workers. Use your exit interviews to find great new candidates.

Previous Article
What is a job zone?
What is a job zone?

Read about the different job zones and how to hire in each zone. Learn some ways you can put job zone infor...

Next Article
Job Zone 3: What it is and how to hire the right people
Job Zone 3: What it is and how to hire the right people

Use this guide to learn more about Job Zone 3 to help you get a better understanding of what employees in t...

Get inside the minds of 2,800 job seekers and what they want

Download Now