The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 11 months ago

How to Solve the Manufacturing Recruitment Puzzle w/ Patrick O'Rahilly


The industrial sector's labor market has shifted over the past decade. From the emergence and adoption of recruiting technologies by Indeed and LinkedIn to the widening manufacturing skills gap, most manufacturers face stiff challenges on the recruiting and hiring front.

On today's episode, I talk about solving the problems in hiring with Patrick O'Rahilly, Founder at

Here's what we discussed:

  1. Recruiting and hiring mistakes manufacturers make today
  2. What it costs to make a hire
  3. The future of hiring in the manufacturing sector

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Executive, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here

Ultimately hire jury proactive and we're buildinga typefline for your company. You know exactly where to go and that situationhappens. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiencesthat are driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionatemanufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles,and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionablebusiness development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome toanother episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host anda CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla. Seventy six from the emergenceand adoption of recruiting technologies by companies like, indeed, Linkedin and others, tothe widening manufacturing skills gap, to the more recent disruptions caused by thepandemic, the industrial sector labor market has changed so much over the past decade. There are few manufacturing organizations that I talk to that haven't mentioned their challengeson the recruiting and hiring front, and so today my guest is an expertin this exact space. Patrick o'riley is the founder and CEO of factory fix, recruiting platform built specifically for the manufacturing industry. Previously, Patrick was thecofounder of Compass Automation, a company that built custom automation solutions for manufacturers.Compass was eventually bought by tesla in two thousand and seventeen. Patrick, welcometo the show. Yeah, thanks for ever. You bet well, Patrick. You and I talked a few weeks back to sort of formulate some ideasfor this conversation, and I thought that the story of what led you kindof to where you are today, is...

...the founder of factory fix, isone worth telling you. The the bio I just read was doesn't do anyit doesn't do justice at all, though, what you've, you know, experiencedin your career and what's kind of helped you wind up where you areat this moment in time. So I was hoping you could kind of recapthat and give our listeners sort of an idea of who you are and whereyou came from. Yeah, so factory fix is actually born out of myfirst company, which was compos automation. I actually started that right out ofhigh school, if right out our college ex used me with two high schoolfriends and you know, we ended up designing and building custom automation solutions formanufacturers and really had no idea what you're doing when we started. But,you know, my partner really smart and we just figured it out over time. But if you have any listeners in that in that business, they knowit's just an absolutely like brutal business. You know, every machine you're doingscompletely custom. You're only doing one of them, giving like, you know, fixed bids anywhere from half a million to a million dollars before you evendesign like a single component. We never, like actually really made any sort ofprofit building the actual machines. But what did come of that is,after we install the machine, you know, customers would always called us back forservice opportunities or little upgrade projects, programming projects, that sort of thing, and those were really profitable. So basically we got together and said weneed more of those jobs. Like how do we do that? So endedup watching a website calling it factory fix one to keep it separate in caselike our competitors would potentially use us and...

...that sort of thing. And theidea was kind of automation guy on demand, right, like Uber for Automation Guy. So We'd send customers to this website. They basically fell out aform and say I need a controls engineer for a week or something like that, and I would basically you find someone in my network that did, youknow, that type of Gig work and just play matchmaker and, you know, handle the billing and insurance and that sort of thing. And the ideait was going to build this into a more like automated platform that would makethe matches, you know, automatically and all that good stuff. But onceI got into factory fix full time, you know quickly realize that that's nota super scalable business and that the bigger pain was filling these full time jobs. You know, I talked to customers and they say, you know,the projects of is great when I have it, but you know, canyou fill this second shift machinist position for me? So, you know,we were super scrappy and you know, being a start up, we coulddo pivots and you know, ended up where we are today, which is, you know, most of our businesses is filling full time roles for companies. Yeah, that's really cool. How you, I mean you, youwere in your right there in the business. You saw the issue in where theneed really was and and sort of build something around it. So okay. So what's of us? The the quick rundown of what factory fix istoday for those who aren't familiar. Yeah, so we are a recruiting platform builtspecifically for manufacturing companies. So you can think about our product as reallytwo components, the first being our network of manufactured professionals. So we've overa hundred and seventyzero workers that have signed...

...up and build profiles and it's likea you know, pseudo linkedin experience, but we're capturing the data that manufacturerslike actually care about. You know, for example, if if you're amachinist and you sign up, you're actually telling us like what types of machinesyou have experienced with, like do you know mills or Laths, even brands? You know, have you worked on hosses or mazed acts industries, likethe types of parts you've made, that sort of thing. And you know, with that data we were able to make better matches. And then thesecond piece of our product is this technology that we've built to one fine peoplethat are the right match for your particular job, but then also when applicantscome in, we're able to automatically screen and vet that through, you know, those cold chat that we build that will actually, you know, askspecific questions about that candidates experience and then this algorithm that'll actually like score thecandidates resume and then their answers to those questions and determine whether or not they'rea good fit for your job, so that customers aren't, you know,wasting time with with applicants that either don't have the right experience or, youknow, aren't located close enough to the facility or, you know, wanttoo much money. That then that customers willing to pay that sort of thing. So, yeah, that's what we are today. It sounds like areally great platform. where, Patrick, you see manufacturing companies making mistakes withtheir recruiting and hiring efforts today? Obviously something led you to say, Hey, there's a gap here, a hole that has to be filled, andwhat are some of those mistakes that you're...

...seeing? Yeah, I think thebiggest thing is that there's a lot of unnecessary friction in the hiring process,with a lot of companies that we talked to. I mean they these arecompanies that is like unbelievable manufacturing processes. You know, they practice lean manufacturing, there's no wasted effort, and yet in the hiring process they'll have unnecessarysteps where, you know, maybe it's a you know, one h ourperson and there sifting through resumes and then they have to do a phone screenwith the candidate and then after that they'll send the resume to the hiring manageron the the production floor, wait for them to give feedback and then tryto coordinate with their schedule and then get back to the candidate and try tocoordinate with their schedule. And with every or with each unnecessary step, you'regoing to see like more and more candidates drop off, especially in the tight, way red market that we see today. And so, you know, that'sour goal and factory fix. We want to build features that are goingto streamline this process and we're really working towards this like ultimate goal of havinglike the most efficient recruiting process possible where, you know, a company can posta job and then our software will immediately know who's a good fit forthat job. Africans will come in, we'll be able to score them andthen hopefully schedule the interview right there, so the candidate will just show upready for their fire at the interview. So that's what we're working towards.Should try to knock out all of those unnecessary steps. Yeah, it's interestingto hear you talk about this because it resembles, you know, a lotof a lot of things that are part...

...of my world, is a marketingagency, where there are, you know, marketing automation, for example. Thereare elements of the marketing process that should be automated based on, youknow, Data and various inputs that somebody provides to help you, you know, kind of screen someone and and help, you know, show maybe who's afit and who's not. But ultimately you're going to need people to doit. It just streamlines a process, it speeds it up, it eliminatesbloat, gives you a process. So it's it's just interesting to hear youkind of talk through what this does. I can see the value. Sohow do you think? Is there anything you'd comment on that in terms ofhow you believe that manufacturers should be thinking it differently about recruiting and hiring today? So I think I think today you see a lot of companies be veryreactive in their hiring process. Right, like my guy on second shifts quit. I need to show that role and I'm willing to pay whatever it takesto like fill it, which need a machine running. So I think wesaid that's where you run into paying more than you need to. High costper higher, but ultimately hire and should be proactive and where you're building apipeline for your company, you know exactly where to go and that situation happensand ultimately it's just like I mentioned before, eliminating any ways you can throughout thatprocess. Yeah, I'd again make a parallel comparison to marketing. It'slike you can't wait to start generating new business when all of a sudden,you know there's a there's you lose five customers. Are some emergency pops up, like you need to be prepared for when that inevitably does happen, havea pipeline ready, and it's really the same thing on the people side ofthe business, right. Yeah, exactly.

And you know, another comparison tomarketing, right, like these companies are, for the most part,good and knowing what their cost is to require a new customer. However,you know, we talked to a lot of companies that don't know what itcosts them to make a higher right on the recruiting side. And and youknow, I see that. There's a couple of reasons why that is one. You know, they they see it as a necessary evil. When thatposition opens up, right going back to hiring, being to react active,they'll pay whatever it takes to whether that the you know, job board feesor, you know, paying a recruiter or something like that, just toget that position filled. And then the other things like it's not a supereasy metric to calculate, right. You need to you need to add allof the job board spend, any fees paid to staffing firms, any salariesfor recruiters, any African tracking software use, and you know, divide that bythe number of hires you can make. But, you know, I thinkthat is a metric that company should track, just like, you know, cost to acquire customer. Are there any benchmarks that you guys lean onthere or you know something that's established as a way to just sort of guidesomeone? Yeah, you know, there's there's some things out there. I'veseen for the manufacturing industry that, you know, somewhere around five thou costperhigher is like the industry standard. But as something that you know, weget factory fixed. Try to show as a tangible metric that we can helpyou improve on this and are, you know, our pricing and our businessmodel is all, you know, hinge to that very cooled. So,Patrick, and what ways do you think...

...that this world of hiring, andthe manufacturing sector specifically, will continue to evolve in the years ahead? Youknow, I honestly I think we're kind of in in for a world ofher care in these coming years. As you know, the skills gap getsmore serious and the labor market, you know, tendens even more. Youknow, we're going to have to figure out how to recruit and attract moretalent to manufacturing and you know, obviously you know hang more is easier thanit sounds. So I do think like wages are going to have to goup a little bit. But you know, one thing I think we can dobetter as an industry is, you know, building like career development pathsfor people getting into the industry. Right just just making it super clear how, okay, you're a machine operator today, here's the steps and the skills thatyou need to learn in order to make a six figure career and manufacturingin seven years or something like that. You know, it's something that otherindustries do pretty well and you know it does take intentional effort to map thatout. But once we can do that, then we can figure out, okay, how do we actually train those skills? And you know, it'sjust more attractive for people if they can see, you know, wait atthe end of the tunnel and how you can make a really lucrative career inthis industry. Yeah, those are all really good points. The sort ofpainting a picture for someone of what career advancement looks like is probably a amissed opportunity for a lot of businesses. Yeah, I agree. I thinkit's it's it gets back to that like reactive versus proactive hiring and you know, if you as a as an owner,...

...can kind of map out career passin your company, I think you're going to have an easier time attractingthose entry level positions if they know that they can, you know, geta promotion in two years or that they will get a promotion in two yearsif they hit the benchmarks necessary. What, if any, impact have you seenover the last year or so? You know, we're recording this rightnow in January of two thousand and twenty one, but in the middle ofthis pandemic, are there any observations about how the labor market is changed inmanufacturing as a result of any of this? Yeah, it's really, really,really tough right now, you know, especially with you know, the caresact and, you know, unemployed and it benefits obviously increasing temporarily thereyou're seeing a lot of candidates just stay home rather than, you know,I actively try to find a job and you know, obviously I don't blamethem, but it just makes makes it more important for you as an employersjust to make your process as efficient as possible. And so yeah, we'reseeing a lot of issues with that. A lot of you know, thebiggest thing that I didn't realize was such a problem before I started this wasinterview no shows. You're seeing that as like an all time high. Youknow, candidates who say they're interested, they apply, they schedule the interviewjust won't show up and you know, I'm sure covid is thrown a ranchinto that and plays into that but you know, I'm sure your listeners havedealt with that and you know, we're trying to figure out ways to,you know, prove that with notifications and acceptance, automated acceptances. And Yeah, it's just a it's just an issue.

That's that's gotten worse in this season. Yeah, it's interesting. It's something I wouldn't I wouldn't have anticipatedeither. You'd think you know a job interview right, you show up orif you're not interested, you let him know, but not always the case. Yeah, and and sites like indeed and Linkedin, and it's so easyto apply for multiple jobs at once that candidates like they have no idea whatthey're applying you most of the time. Right, if your machine operator,you apply for a machine operator job, indeed, will like send you apop up with these, like twenty other machine operator opportunities and you can justlike apply all and those companies just think you sought out their job and appliedfor that. So it's even more critical to do another screening, obviously toconfirm they are actually interested in this opportunity, and then following up and then hopingthey show to the interview. Wow, yeah, now that's that's interesting.With technology platforms are making the problem worse. They're helping in ways andhurting and others, I suppose. But okay. Well, Patrick, isthere anything else you would like to add to this conversation that I didn't askyou about? I don't think so. No, I mean, I lovedhave your listeners. Manufacturing owners or you know, hr people or whoever youknow, feel free to reach out my emails. Patrickty of factory fixcom.We offer free trials of factory fix. You know, we're all about likeproving that we can add value to your company before you commit anything. Butyou know, even companies that want to talk strategy or you know, talkabout their hiring process. So I'm open to it. I love talking shop. So No, just appreciate the opportunity. Yeah, I know, that's great. Well, I'd advise anybody listened...

...take Patrick up on the offers.Is a guy who's been through it and he's has seen a lot. Soanybody's struggling on in the hiring front, encourage to reach out or to checkcheck out factory fixcom. So really cool platform you've put together, Patrick.Yeah, thanks, I really appreciate it. Awesome. Well, I appreciate youdoing this today and for the rest of you listening, I hope tocatch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive you've been listening to themanufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe tothe show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more aboutindustrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles,videos, guides and tools specifically for B Tob Manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learnthank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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