8 Creative Ways To Recruit Skilled Workers
Hiring skilled workers can be a daunting task. Here are tips on creative ways to recruit for your shop.
The labor market in all technical roles remains tight, with pockets of extreme skills shortage. Repair technicians, quality engineers, developers, programmers, machinists, G-code programmers, toolmakers, and fitters are in chronic short supply. This is badly affecting a large number of companies, as the economy, and therefore demand grows.
In a competitive market, the only way to succeed in recruitment is to adopt creative ways to recruit. Many manufacturing companies are just not so good at telling their story—which in many ways is the heart of the problem. Learning the ways to improve your story and tell it well at all levels in manufacturing is crucial. If what you are offering looks like dead-end roles, you'll only attract people you don't really want. Listed below are creative ways to recruit skilled workers.
Apprenticeships and internships are on the rise. This more traditional approach is the key to a long-term solution to your skills shortage. It allows you to target training precisely to your needs. Catering to the long-term needs of the learner generally coincides clearly with the company’s needs. When they advance, your company advances.
Internships can help in the short term, and allow you the luxury of measuring learner quality before making the longer-term commitment. Attitude and enthusiasm are 90% of the battle and really cannot be learned. The rest is training. It's better if interns are not considered cheap (or free) labor but as part of a mutual growth pact.
Think very clearly about the must-haves and nice-to-haves in your requirements in a resume. If you can attract people with transferrable capabilities, skills, and knowledge who have the enthusiasm and a great learning attitude, you may be able to partially solve your recruitment problem by approaching it in this way.
Technical course graduation in US colleges has been in steady decline for a long time, leading to the whole technical college sector shrinking. Reassessing your required qualifications and expectations may open up new groups that you can attract. Design and architecture courses are great examples of near-parallel technical qualifications that encompass some of the same aptitudes. Many basic design courses offer poor career paths, but plentiful students.
Build your team leaders’ strengths and diversity. Great leaders build stronger teams that hold together better. Less churn means less recruitment and less loss of the skills you’ve worked hard to build. Work is always more rewarding in a strong, supportive team with sensitive, affirming, and decisive leaders. Invest in your managers and team development by offering career-making training opportunities and helping your team leaders to improve their methods and communication skills. Make clear you're creating career-path opportunities—as the company succeeds, so can every team member.
Most people who succeed in a job and ascend to leadership get zero training and support in the selection process. The psychology of the interview process is a soft skill for which manufacturing and technical leaders are often ill-suited. Interviewers need skills that can be learned, but these cannot be assumed to exist. The failure modes are legion, such as speaking too much, listening haphazardly, and failing to direct the conversation. This can be helped by interview technique training. Filming interviews (with the candidates’ permission) can really help in understanding. A key perspective is to consider that you're not just evaluating the candidate. It's also a sales process, to show the candidate the reasons why yours is a great place to work.
Once you have your potential candidates, don’t delay. Efficient competitors may quickly be making contact and following up decisively. Any delay can only reduce your options from a candidate list.
Rapid and personal responses underline your strengths as an employer candidate. It takes more time, but a quick call to thank the candidate for their application can be impactful. That 5-minute chat can be the first interview, by stealth. You can test their range of interest, and see if there's a better fitting role than the one they applied for.
Also, make time (and keep to it) for follow-ups. Rejections delivered in a call are uncomfortable, but they personalize the process and help your recruiting manager gain a further understanding for next time, by getting the candidate's (perhaps blunt) feedback. An offer made in person in a timely fashion will have a deeper impact on the appointee.
Even when your need to fill a narrow role is urgent, keep some attention and discussion on the longer term. Yes, you're trying to fill an immediate need quickly. But you're also trying to build a strong team that's as future-proof as your current budget allows. No candidate is ever put off by discussing career-path opportunities beyond the current role. The best employee wants to grow out of the role they're interviewing for. Acknowledging this will increase the attraction of the immediate role, as it makes clear how it fits into a longer-term plan. Hiring is both a short and a long game. Consider the long-term value a good appointment offers, and never forget the huge benefit of retaining good staff.
It used to be that a good salary and simple benefits package were enough to win great candidates. With inflation not yet gone from the economy, candidates don't just want enough now. They need assurances about not falling behind. As capable technology and manufacturing staff remain scarce commodities, COVID-19 rewrote some rules that seemed absolute. No matter the job, flexible attendance is deeply appreciated. Allowing some degree of remote work can swing a package from being merely good to hard to refuse. Similarly, judiciously picking up some of the cost of student loans (while the individual stays on your team) is like funding training after the fact and can be the frosting on the offer and the glue that keeps them on the team.
The one fact you can be clear about is that your competitors will not hold back in recruiting the best talent, so you cannot either. If the process looks expensive, compare that with the stagnation of not appointing or the pain of taking second or third best. Thriving when subject to a skills shortage requires you to play the game better than others dare to. Recruiting and hiring with these strategic tools will show candidates that your targets are long-term wins for them.