Manufacturing's New Reality on Recruiting Top Talent

Missing Manufacturing Talent

Over the past decade, talent realities have changed in the U.S. manufacturing sector demanding a new approach to recruiting. Manufacturers are up against a critical talent gap as more and more of the skill- sets they need do not align with those in the marketplace. One of the most powerful examples of this dynamic is the fact the forecast from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute that “two million manufacturing jobs will likely go unfilled” in the next decade.

To fill these critical skills gaps and remain competitive in a global marketplace, something has to change… and fast. Improving and expanding the talent pipeline needs to be a top priority for manufacturing businesses and it all begins with how you are engaging talent.

The velocity of technological advances across the sector has created high demand for technology, engineering, and math skills and the manufacturing workforce can’t keep up. According to the Global Robotics Technology Market: Forecast 2014 – 2020, 67% of manufacturing executives feel that workers lack basic technical training.

Where do you start? At the beginning: here are three proven recruitment strategies for building a healthy and growing talent pipeline in high demand, low supply hiring cycles.

1.  Optimize the Candidate Experience

With today’s low unemployment rates, candidates have growing options and leverage. Strong candidates receive multiple job offers and to win their attention recruiters have to court them with attention and responsiveness. This is not the time for a clunky application process or lags and lapses in communication. Every moment you have to engage an applicant is essential because it is a window into the efficiency and culture of your business. It provides candidates with direct insight into how they will be treated as employees. Is your candidate experience up to the challenge?

Consider these questions:

  • How long is your application process? If it’s longer than a few minutes (over five really), you will have high attrition rates and miss out on top talent. Candidate experience excellence begins with a seamless, easy-to- understand application process that provides candidates with all the information that they need, quickly.
  • Is the application process mobile friendly? With smartphones and tablets today’s primary gateway to information for most job seekers (90% of candidates prefer using their mobile phone during the application process), it’s critical to ensure mobile applications are an option.
  • Are you responding to candidate questions and interactions with speed and clarity? A top concern for job seekers is not receiving information from potential employers in a timely manner. If you are not responding with speed (or worse, simply not responding), you have a flawed candidate experience that hurts your reputation among candidates and every potential hire in their network (beware the power and reach of social media).

To increase the number of candidates applying, improve the application process. Make it faster, make it mobile and ensure there are mechanisms to ensure you are responding to questions and acknowledging the many interactions that occur throughout the job application lifecycle.

2.  Adopt a Passive Recruitment Strategy

To hire employees who can hit the ground running, manufacturing businesses need to adapt a passive candidate recruitment strategy. In the marketplace, skilled and experienced workers are the most sought-after candidates and are typically already working for someone else. This makes them passive job seekers but highly attractive potential hires.

Because passive candidates already have jobs, attracting, engaging and retaining them requires additional time and strategy. However, the payoff is experience and productivity. It takes less time and training for passive candidates to become productive contributors. At Novo Group, 65+% of the candidates we place each month are passive candidates engaged through our passive talent engagement strategy. The goal is to put additional resources into the networking, referrals and research required to understand where passive candidates can be reached and what would entice them into a new role. It requires both a strategic plan for targeting the right talent and recruiters who are strong relationship builders and gifted at helping employed workers see the value and opportunities in a new job and workplace.

3.  Leverage Behavioral Interviews

Finally, simply having technical skills is not enough to succeed in today’s manufacturing sector. That’s why 69% of manufacturing executives say that workers do not have the problem-solving skills required for the job.

Employers need to incorporate behavioral interviews into their recruitment process as a way to assess emotional intelligence, soft skills and communication capabilities. With the rate of product and skill change, manufacturing companies require employees who can best adapt in an ever-changing and dynamic workplace. Behavioral interviews are a proven way to examine the communication and problem solving skills found in flexible creative employees who are not daunted by challenge and who push businesses forward.

Adapt Quickly, Benefit More

The more quickly and efficiently manufacturing businesses are able to adapt to today’s new recruiting realities, the more access they will have to the talent they want and workers who can help them continue to adapt to an ever-evolving marketplace. The good news is that there are lots of resources, tools, associations and providers at the ready to help manufacturers make these adjustments and move forward. Should your manufacturing business need advice on where to improve and adapt talent acquisition processes, start with Novo Group or send me an email today. Let go of yesterday’s talent acquisition approaches and get on the path to better, smarter and more effective recruitment.