Back to Work!

The economy might, on average, be improving, but if you – or someone you love – worked in a factory that closed, the odds are, their personal economy is worse. Maybe even a lot worse.

It’s easy to blame it on politics and trade agreements, but let’s talk about what business owners can do to help. Because the most important part – who you hire to do the job – is in your control.

Many recruiting firms actively promote, and religiously adhere to, their favored, standardized processes. Unfortunately, many of those standard procedures and practices evolved during times when the job market was radically different from what it has become. The result is a serious mismatch between the recruiter’s assumptions and the potentially available workforce. Consider these points:

  • Because recruiters are required to adhere to these practices, they make little or no effort to evaluate transferable skills. As they see it, there is either an exact match, or no match.  Standard recruiting practice is to screen out all candidates who do not possess a near-match for the enumerated skills.
  • It is standard recruiting practice to reject potential candidates who have not, within the past year, held a position similar to the one that is being filled.
  • In a world where both skilled workers and relevant jobs were plentiful, these recruiting assumptions made sense. But the facts no longer fit the assumptions.

As a direct result of America’s declining industrial base, many experienced and competent workers have long since given up on looking for jobs in manufacturing. They are now doing completely unrelated (and relatively low-paying) work such as retail and grocery stores, in food service, and in maintenance. Not all, but certainly some of these people, would welcome the opportunity to return to their ‘real’ work, especially in a progressive company that offers good pay and job security.

If people are not looking for manufacturing jobs because they do not believe they will be acceptable, then why don’t we just change what we’re doing? What we are doing doesn’t work very well. If you don’t agree, just check on the latest research on lying on resumes.

Here’s a new recruiting model designed to help manufacturers who are struggling to get the team players they need and put people back to their real work.

  • Explicitly instruct your recruiters to INCLUDE persons who are working in unrelated fields, but who have had manufacturing experience as far back as 1990.
  • Describe transferable skills, such as measuring, cutting, and fabricating mixed materials as highly desirable. Demand that the recruiters INCLUDE people who’ve done work as diverse as upholstery, floorcovering installation, dressmaking, jig and fixture building, cabinetwork, and carpentry.
  • Stop assuming that ‘targeted advertising’ will produce desirable candidates. Skilled industrial workers who are now employed in non-manufacturing jobs will never see the listings. Instead, use non-traditional marketing practices such as community-board postings, word-of-mouth campaigns, public-service announcements, talk-show appearances, and even cash rewards, to bring good candidates to the surface. Here’s what I’d post if I was still back in manufacturing:

We need skilled factory workers, and we’ll pay you $100.00 if you help us hire one.  Here’s what we want:

*** Someone who cares about doing quality work and making things right.***

*** Someone who has had lots of experience in carefully measuring and fitting parts, and in following detailed instructions. Their work experience could be in anything from upholstery to metal fabrication to carpentry.***

*** Someone who may not have done industrial work for many years, but would really like to return to a full-time job in a progressive company with good pay and benefits.***

To make the referral, contact us and mention this ad. If we hire the person, you get $100.00.  Note:  It’s OK to ‘refer’ yourself!!  If we hire you, you’ll get a $100.00 bonus.

  • Finally, determine someone’s teaming characteristics BEFORE you invest time in personal interviews and drug testing. The risk management, time savings, and long-term business benefits will sweeten the deal – for the company that’s recruiting, as well as the people who need to get BACK TO WORK!

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