Hiring Hard-to-Find Manufacturing Talent in a Competitive Market

  • October 18, 2018
  • Feature
Hiring Hard-to-Find Manufacturing Talent in a Competitive Market
Hiring Hard-to-Find Manufacturing Talent in a Competitive Market

By Robert Cohn, Managing Partner, Direct Recruiters, Inc.

Earlier this year, the US economy crossed a new threshold of success: Job openings now outnumber job applicants. Noted by Alexander Acosta, U.S. Secretary of Labor, in a July 2018 news release, “Never before have we had an economy where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of job seeker.”

As recently reported by The Wall Street Journal, there were 650,000 more U.S. jobs than available workers as of July 2018, with the manufacturing sector adding 37,000 jobs during July, the best annual job gain in more than 20 years. A clear indication of a thriving economy. However, on the opposite side the coin it creates a dilemma for recruiters. As job vacancies continue to exceed the number of available employees, manufacturing organizations are forced to adapt the way they hire.

Hiring hard-to-find talent in a tight labor market presents a challenge to recruiters. A reasonable response would be to view this challenge as a headache. However, this unfavorable balance can be seen as an opportunity for automation and manufacturing employers.

There’s a natural tendency for companies to allow their procedures to become stale. In time, these methods become outdated and ineffective if not updated. But as the principal goes: Constraints breed creativity. Rather than becoming the victim of this saturated labor market, consider it an opportunity to improve your manufacturing company’s hiring practices.

Let’s take a look at how we can improve traditional recruiting methods and implement new ways of attracting employees. Here are six recruiting strategies that will help you hire hard-to-find talent in a competitive market.


Start Internally

First, you need to realize this process starts internally. This seems like an obvious point, but the ideal candidate rarely lands on your doorstep. Traditional methods of posting an ad and hoping for the ideal candidate to come calling often don’t work anymore.

Working from an internal approach requires reflection. The company seeking to hire must ask themselves: Are we representing an ideal environment to potential candidates?  Highlight your strengths throughout the company social media accounts and company branding. Interview current employees and get their feedback: What do they enjoy most about working for your company?


Meet Candidates Where They Are

It was previously mentioned, but hard-to-find talent won’t automatically come to you. As the current market continues to tighten in favor of job seekers, recruiters will feel the competitive pressure.

Identify where your ideal candidates are spending time. Discovering what social platforms they use will allow you concentrate your efforts. Rather than a shotgun approach, you can focus your attention on digital services that will provide a cost effective result.

Additionally, you’ll want to find out what manufacturing and automation industry conferences, seminars, and events your ideal candidates attend. Don’t assume you know. Be creative and consider new events or opportunities you may have overlooked in the past.


Fine Tune Your Interview Process

Have a plan in place that you’ll walk a candidate through once they walk through the door. You don’t need to explicitly outline the process for the interviewee. However, he or she should know the next step of the process and the general expectation.

Develop an internal guide for the HR department to follow for each interview. It could involve greeting the applicant with a beverage of their choosing, where they will be directed, and installing measure to prevent them from waiting. They need to know they will be treated as a potential asset and not a number.

It’s no longer acceptable to drill them with questions then end the interview by saying, “You’ll hear from me.” Before they leave your office ensure your job applicant knows what to anticipate and make sure to follow through with the expectations.


Go Beyond The Basics

A great salary and good benefits are a start, but what can you provide that your competitors are unwilling to provide? Better yet, what can you offer that your competition can’t provide?

Highlight lifestyle benefits when making an offer. Candidates want to know what type of lifestyle they can enjoy as an employee of your company. Make note of the attractions, recreation, and activities they can do in the area.

You can make your offer more appealing by providing non-traditional benefits. Flexible work hours, work from home accommodations, midday power naps, or unique company incentives are a few simple ways you can improve your job offer. Consider what accommodations your company is able to provide.


Stay Up-To-Date

Technology impacts every area of our lives. More than ever before, companies need to stay up-to-date with current technology trends in order to attract and maintain their workforce.

Today, candidates expect a mobile-friendly hiring process. According to Dr. John Sullivan, a Silicon Valley-based author and HR expert, more than 43 percent of job seekers conduct job searches with their phones.

Technology can create many headaches. But, when it comes to recruiting great employees, it can also provide an opportunity. Thanks to cloud computing and videoconferencing, employers have access to talent pools previously limited by geographic constraints.

Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of Insightly, explained it well in recent interview: "Technology allows for smooth collaboration and communication no matter where employees are located, so you don't need to lose out on experts in your field because of where your company is based."


Treat Recruiting As A Marketing Effort

In general, your recruiting efforts should take a proactive approach. And proactive engagement should be treated as a marketing effort. You must be willing to implement each of these strategies to varying degrees to attract key employees.

Effective marketing involves a clear message. Evaluate the message being communicated to potential candidates. Current generations often desire to be a part of something larger than themselves. What impact does your company have on the global or local economy beyond its day-to-day operations?

It is important to showcase the way your company gives back to the community, philanthropic causes your organization supports, and how your current employees are getting involved. This can be an important factor in job candidates’ decisions to join your company.


In Summary

To discover hard-to-find talent, manufacturing companies should implement a comprehensive strategy. In your recruiting efforts, consider the needs of the candidate in addition to the needs of the company. What will the ideal employee need in the role to be successful?

It’s not just one of these methods that will make a difference. Be willing to step outside of your traditional methods of attracting talent; analyze what has previously worked; be willing to adopt or abandon what isn’t working; and consider the needs of the employee in addition to the needs of the company.

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