E-Clusive: Growing Your Manufacturing Business Through Smart Hiring

November 19, 2013 No Comments
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5 Do’s and Don’ts in Today’s Job Market

By Marni Hockenberg, Principal of Hockenberg Search

toc_eclusives50pxManufacturing is on the upswing and many hiring managers are competing with other companies in a ‘candidate driven’ market for skilled manufacturing workers at all levels. Now that the job market is active, some of your key employees are feeling more confident and are confidentially exploring opportunities with your competitor. During the recession, your employees hunkered down to keep their coveted jobs, which slowed the natural career progression for many promotable employees. These key employees are likely the keepers of ‘mission critical’ company information and relationships with your customers, suppliers, and service providers. What would happen to your business if/when they leave your company for another job?  In some cases you might breathe a sigh of relief, but in most instances it’s a cause for alarm as you’re handed a resignation letter from your top employee.

Here are five hiring Do’s and Don’ts that can prepare you to bring the A-Game candidate across the finish line to your manufacturing company door.

  1. 1. Do make sure that your compensation is current and competitive in today’s job market. Companies who haven’t hired senior leaders in the last few years are experiencing ‘sticker shock’ at the current compensation levels in this market. You may need to make some upwards adjustments.  The current job market is akin to the recent changes in the housing market –supply/demand driven.  Research current salaries in your area by obtaining wage and salary data from your local manufacturing or HR associations. If you aren’t attracting the quality of talent that you want, you may need to increase your compensation or relax some of the ‘must have’s on your list of candidate qualifications. Currently employed ‘recruited’ candidates will expect you to put your best foot forward and come in with a strong first offer. They have choices and are often entertaining multiple offers. Make sure that yours is accepted!
  2. 2. Do review your current staffing model and evaluate your job descriptions. Are the job descriptions current or do they harken from pre-Internet days? Do the descriptions reflect what each individual will be hired to do? When and if your key person resigns on a Friday afternoon, you’ll be one step ahead of the search for a replacement if you have a current job description. It doesn’t take much time and you’ll be thankful for this investment of time when the dreaded resignation letter hits your desk.
  3. 3. Do build a pipeline for good manufacturing talent, even if your company is not actively hiring right now. Consider carefully the skills, education and qualities you need in your workforce. Think about the people you know who are top-of-mind in these areas of expertise. Stay close to them, communicate with them, and keep your eye on them. Then, when you need to hire, you will already have built a rapport with potential job candidates, giving them in return a favorable impression of you and your company. Networking is a great way to build a pipeline.
  4. 4. Do consider your company’s process for hiring employees. Who from your company is involved? How many people should be responsible for evaluating candidates, and what criteria will be used to evaluate candidates? Do you have a slate of quality interview questions that can draw out the skills, experience and value of your candidates? How long can your company go before a particular position must be filled? Considering these questions now can help you prevent a misstep in your process, which could ultimately derail your entire effort. If the process is too convoluted or takes too long to make decisions, you may lose your top candidate to frustration—or, quite possibly, to a more assertive competitor.
  5. 5. Don’t just stop once your candidate has accepted your job offer. Do have a plan for effectively managing the “fragile time” between a candidate’s acceptance of employment and his or her actual start date.  What protocols do you have in place to help new hires feel welcomed, valued and integrated, even before their first day on the job? The time between a candidate’s acceptance and arrival is a particularly vulnerable time. If the new hire doesn’t feel welcomed and excited, she/he may seek a better offer elsewhere, continue to interview or accept a counteroffer from a current employer. Stay in close contact– go to lunch or invite her/him in to your company for a short meet & greet with the staff.

Taking the time now to consider some of these important questions and to develop a hiring strategy for your company will save you time—and frustration—later on, so that you can spend valuable resources proactively growing your manufacturing business.pm_endmarkorg-e1320337214275


Marni Hockenberg is the Principal at Hockenberg Search in Minnetonka, Minn. She can be reached at marni@hockenbergsearch.com.

Copyright © 2013 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Amy Slettum, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing journal.

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