Whatever industry you’re in, it’s a seller’s market for talent. The latest statistics from the US Dept of Labor show unemployment holding steady at 3.7%, the lowest it’s been since 1967. It’s hard to remember that only six years ago unemployment was over 8% and employers held all the cards!
According to a study conducted in 2018 by global consulting giant Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 89% of manufacturing executives agree there’s a serious talent shortage in U.S. manufacturing, and their prognosis is that it’s only going to get worse over the next 10 years. With the pronounced long-term shift in market dynamics and dramatically evolving candidate behaviors and expectations, employers need to re-think their recruitment gameplans or risk having their recruitment performance continue to fall short of requirements.
Here are 5 tips manufacturers can apply immediately to improve recruitment:
1. Make Recruiting Mobile-Centric
According to ZipRecruiter, 70% of candidates use mobile devices to search for and respond to postings, and they believe anything less than first-class mobile user experience is a mistake. Even more surprising, 23% of all searches done on mobile contain the word “job”! So if you want to start in the right place with quality candidates, get your mobile experience right. And the definition of “right” should probably be left to the millennials on your team.
2. Create Job Postings that Sell
Your postings are often the first chance to make a good impression, so don’t waste the opportunities with dry and soulless postings. Instead, consider them the best place to start telling your stories of “Why?” Why people consider your organization great, why talented people love working there, why it’s a great place for people like them to launch or advance their careers, why their local communities appreciate all they do, and why people with their values will find your culture a perfect fit. You can’t do it all in a posting, but thinking about all the things you could say should be the inspiration to tell the right stories.
3. Use Technology to Find the Right Talent
If you were a professional bass fisherman you wouldn’t enter a tournament without the latest and greatest fishfinder technology, and people are a lot more complicated than fish! Recruiting software is big business, and the leading platforms have evolved rapidly to provide everything from candidate attraction and sourcing to hiring and onboarding, with reporting capabilities that rival the best CRM systems. Start by tapping into a third-party reviewer such as Capterra or G2Crowd to help you find a few products that fit your needs and budget, and then put them through their paces.
Consider also that technology is not the entire answer; it’s also critical that you go deep into understanding what you really need to be looking for, both for present and future needs. The more effort you put into understanding talent needs from a strategic perspective, the better equipped you’ll be to write a killer posting and interview in a way that converts the best candidates.
4. Eliminate Friction in the Hiring Process
This is sort of a no-brainer, but I’m including this since lots of employers are still violating this advice by having too many intentional and unintentional filters in candidates paths. Employers should learn from the best online retailers and subscription services (like Netflix) and use AI, live chat and chatbots to make the application process as easy and enjoyable as possible. And then extend that thinking to the interviewing and hiring processes. My favorite car dealership brand in Wisconsin is Bergstrom Automotive, and they’ve found ways to make the car buying and servicing experiences so enjoyable that I don’t consider buying from anyone else. Wouldn’t you want to be seen in the same light as an employer?
5. Tell Your Story Well, and Often!
To be the most effective talent attraction organization you can be, you need to treat your recruitment marketing with the same energy and serious resource deployment that you give business development – because without talent attraction, there can be no business. So just as you consider your ideal customer personas, the journeys they take to find you and learn about you, and how you want to attract, nurture and convert them into rapid, loyal customers, so too should you view your ideal employment candidates.
And the most powerful steps you can take are those that make your authentic, employee-centric stories of your culture, team members, and proudest moments as a manufacturer impossible for them to ignore because of their relevance, persuasiveness, and persistent appearance whenever candidates decide to learn more about your business.
Your website and social media profiles should be dynamic 24/7 pillars of inviting testimony providing evidence in all directions of why the best in their fields should include your company on their employment shortlists. Anything less than aspiring to fully leverage everything at your disposal should be seen as a potentially dangerous compromise.
If the next 10 years in U.S. manufacturing is going to be a battle for talent that will determine which companies dominate and which fade away, the winners will likely be those who understand that the game has changed and so the way they play it must change as well.