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Recruiting is really hard. It takes time, effort, and tenacity! I spend a good deal of time helping companies recruit new talent, particularly in manufacturing. It’s hard work, but we all continue to do it because the most rewarding part is seeing a candidate become a new hire and then thrive as an employee.
Robert Hatta talks about why HR sucks at recruiting. He suggests that HR people’s primary job is creating rules and regulations for the company, while recruiting is just tacked on for good measure. Would you put an accountant in charge of customer acquisition? Probably not. So why put an HR person in charge of talent acquisition? Such a simple, powerful insight. But HR will be in charge of recruiting for the foreseeable future. Here are four ways to start recruiting in a way that will boost your results and make it far more rewarding!
1. I get to bring “Human” back into “HR”
Hiring a new employee can be like inviting in a new member of the family, especially for the second and third generation family manufacturers. You wouldn’t have your daughter’s new boyfriend submit an online form to get to know him. You’d invite him to dinner, see how he behaves around grandma and helps clear up dishes.
Hiring practices have suffered from being made ‘efficient.’ Why talk to someone when you can have an algorithm or keyword search tell you their potential? What is meant to save time actually results in poor communication, and more wasted time.
We need to bring the human element back into recruiting even if that means taking time to get to know candidates. Small talk. Phone calls. Learning about their hobbies. When it’s time to recommend them for a particular position, I have much more confidence in someone I took the time to connect with on a human level.
2. Recruiting is like putting together a puzzle
Companies and candidates alike have personalities and needs. Recruiting is about keeping a pipeline of candidates I can bring to a company at the right moment. I look at every single candidate as a viable worker. Some may be further along the continuum of being work-ready and some may need more training or preparation. I don’t discard applications, instead candidates are added to the pipeline to keep in touch as they grow, and as different opportunities arise.
3. It’s professional matchmaking
Hiring is strikingly similar to dating. My first matchmaking success was setting up my college roommate with my now-husband’s roommate. I orchestrated study sessions, dinners and other excuses to get those two to together. Several years later, they’re married, have two boys and own a successful chain of restaurants together in Oklahoma.
I love matchmaking and have honed my efforts into a professional outlet. There is a job out there for everyone, and a candidate out there to fill any open position. I don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole, but I do try to give companies and candidates good experiences that help them see the potential in each other.
The trick is to highlight the qualities of both the job and candidate in a way that gets them excited about each other.
4. I get to help candidates show off their skills
It’s hard to get a job. Your resume is swallowed into the abyss of online applications. You rarely get to talk to a real human being.
Just yesterday I spoke with a woman who was brought to tears simply because I gave her an opportunity to show her skills. She told me that she had been trying to find work for months since she was laid off, and never hears back. “I’m a really really good worker. But I’m a terrible interviewer. I want nothing more than to work hard for a company to make us both proud with what we’re making. But I can’t even get through the door most of the time.” The idea of demonstrating her skills instead of talking about them was so simple, yet inspiring to her.
Companies are hiring again! People are going back to work! What an exciting time to work in recruiting. It’s challenging, but you get to participate in your community’s economy by helping companies find talent. Work is such a central part of our identities, and helping people get back to work is so rewarding.
Reading a tape measure is a skill that's used in many industries from manufacturing to construction. Here's a video about the basic techniques. What have you used a measuring tape for lately?
America built it’s vast economy by inventing, building and innovating in manufacturing. Despite this foundation, 90% of America's manufacturers say they are struggling to find qualified workers.
The reasons are varied and there is enough blame to go around. Schools focused on academics over vocational experiences. The general shift to an information and service economy drove more people to so-called white collar jobs. In 1970, more than a quarter of U.S. employees worked in manufacturing. By 2010, only one in 10 did, as many of these job shipped overseas.
But as we start to see a resurgence in manufacturing, we can all agree that there is simply a lack of exposure to the industry. Few people, especially the younger generations, know what manufacturing is all about. What jobs and careers are available. And how rewarding making things for others can be.
How do we create new perceptions of manufacturing and expose a generation of young people to the career opportunities that exist?
INSPIRE A CULTURE OF MAKING
Several manufacturing veterans tell us that their interest within manufacturing started as children. They were the kids who loved to build and tinker long before they knew that there was an industry that embraced their passions. What if manufacturing companies were to sponsor events to spark that inner maker? What if they were to put 'real tools' in the hands of young people and provide them with mentors to help solve the problems that they care about?
There is no better feeling than seeing the physical outcome of one's hard work. Unfortunately ‘technical education’ has diminished over the past 30 years, eliminating a key way students discovered their passion for hands-on careers. We should applaud and encourage the tinkerer in all of us. We need to provide opportunities for young people to get messy while they break, fix, and create.
Matrix Tooling is starting a new dialogue about manufacturing that attracts new talent to the industry and celebrates the maker in all of us.
Community colleges, trade schools and industry credentials are trying to close the manufacturing “skills gap”. Programs can last anywhere from a couple months to two years to teach candidates what they need to get a job in the industry. When we talk to manufacturers hiring for entry-level positions, they say it’s much simpler.
“I don’t need people to have a degree or certificate. I need people who can use a tape measure and learn how to use my equipment.” Craig, CEO // Electrical OEM
This may seem counter-intuitive at first. But consider for a moment the possibility that education, both primary and secondary, is over shooting employers needs at the entry level. While the level of intellectual learning advances every year, the hands-on and practical skills necessary for working productively in your first or second job is neglected.
At Skill Scout, we focus on capturing and portraying the actual skills needed to do a job. We build simple activities for candidates to demonstrate and experience the relevant skills. Most of these skills do not require candidates to go through extensive training or preparation.
Here are 5 skills our manufacturing partners request:
1. USING A TAPE MEASURE. We all learned how to read a tape measure in 4th grade, right? Well, many of us have grown rusty without practice. Building pallets, measuring boxes and packing trucks are some of the activities that tape measures are used for in entry-level manufacturing jobs. When using a tape measure is not a daily job task, this basic skill is still important to learning more advanced measurement techniques.
Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.