6 tips for how to recruit in manufacturing during a labour shortage

Written by Jaclyn Menendez, Ph.D., Project Consultant
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.

We’re all seeing it: “Help Wanted” signs are adorning businesses in every direction you look. And many of us are feeling it. Even if you don’t work directly in the manufacturing world, chances are you’ve experienced at least one shortage (ahem, looking at you, toilet paper) over the past year. On one hand, the demand for goods and services couldn’t be higher. On the other hand, the gaps in manpower required to meet the needs are huge. And stuck right in the middle is nearly every manufacturing company (as well as many other industries) trying to gain their footing and get some traction in the labour market.6 Tips for How to Recruit in Manufacturing During a Labour Shortage

In recent months, PSI has seen unprecedented consistency among nearly all of its manufacturing clients regarding the US labour shortage. Regardless of the specific business or company size, manufacturing as a whole is struggling to fill both skilled and unskilled roles. Below are some tips to help you boost your applicant pool and some trade-offs to consider along the way.

Develop a marketing strategy

Application incentives and sign-on bonuses are becoming more common, though be aware that these measures do not necessarily lead to high quality or long-term recruits. Also consider one-day job fairs where applicants can complete the entire selection process from start to finish and receive an offer same day. This is beneficial to the candidate as well as the company, since it expedites the available start dates.

Have targeted recruiting efforts

Realistic job previews (RJP) and testimonials are helpful for showing the “real life” benefits of these roles. These also humanise the work itself and the employees performing the work. Partnerships with local colleges, vocational training establishments, and even secondary schools have been shown to increase applicant pools. Get your company’s name in front of these students early and often.

Employ an efficient screening process

At the start of your selection process, the importance of streamlining your basic screening steps and communicating timelines cannot be overstated. When candidates do not know what to expect, they will continue to apply elsewhere in the meantime. Being up front on estimated timing for next steps and communicating any changes goes a long way with what will hopefully be future employees.

Keep candidate convenience in mind

The assessment stage of your selection process must be accessible via mobile phone or some other convenient alternative. A feasible option is offering to administer the assessment on site along with all other in-person requirements for the entire process. This is particularly attractive if your candidate is already employed; do not ask them to take multiple days off from their current job to apply for yours.

Bonus tip!

You may be tempted to shorten the steps in your assessment process in the hope that it will lead to more candidates getting through the early steps. While this may seem great for filling job vacancies quickly, a common trade-off is a spike in failures during the interview stage which can strain your HR department.

If you choose to remove selection steps altogether, the most commonly associated issues are an increase in safety incidents, increased early turnover, and negative impacts on company culture.

Invest in your people

After hiring, on-boarding and team-building are crucial to keeping new recruits long term. The more committed your new recruits feel to the company and its mission, the longer they will stay. One simple way to engage new recruits is to promote training and development. Another is to pair new recruits with an incumbent mentor who can serve as an additional resource. Let’s not overlook providing company-branded gifts. This can help make your new recruit feel like part of the team. It might seem like something small, but celebrating their first day with a gift will make them feel welcome. And really, who doesn’t like free gifts?

Feedback is your friend, so solicit it

After hiring, recruit your team leaders to provide insight on any questions they’re getting or issues they’re seeing with their new team members. Also gather frequent informal feedback from new recruits regarding their satisfaction and perceptions of the role. Engage them as your new marketing assets on how to best draw in more applicants. Above all else, remember that even in high-volume hiring, everyone wants to feel that they matter.

While times are tough now, this shortage will not last forever. The pandemic will gradually have less of an impact on many aspects of our lives and people will be comfortable returning to their old routines and work habits.

The comprehensive guide to hiring in manufacturing

Solutions to common challenges faced in the industry

For decades, the world’s top manufacturers have trusted PSI to build solutions to help make the best hiring decisions and build productive, skilled workforces.

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