The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode 108 · 4 months ago

How to recruit talent in a candidate-driven market


The days of posting a job and watching candidates line up around the corner are now in the past. We’ve quickly shifted into a candidate-driven market and many employers are being affected by it, but most don’t know how to handle it. ` 

Today we talk to Ann Wyatt, founder and agency owner of Ann Wyatt Recruiting. An expert recruiter in the manufacturing sector, Ann shares her insights on what you can do to make your workplace more appealing to prospective candidates.  

Join us as we discuss:

  • The current state of recruiting in the industrial sector
  • How the current unemployment rate impacts recruiting and ways around it
  • Why culture fit is so important, and how a recruiter can make the perfect match between candidate and company

It is such a candidate driven market and right now the unemployment rate is three point six percent, and it's really hard to convince somebody that you know they want to come work for your company if you're not giving them the attention or the follow up, or being communicative, I guess, is the correct word, just being communicant to welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving midsize manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing 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 actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency Gorilla Seventy six. Remember the not so long ago days when you could post an open job and watch candidates line up down the street? Yeah, seems like kind of a distant memory right. It's amazing how quickly we've moved into a candidate driven market on the hiring front over the past few yars. Almost everyone's feeling it, but very few seem to know what to do about it. My guest today is an expert in recruiting and specifically inside of the manufacturing sector. She'll share her wisdom about what you can do to make your workplace more appealing to the shrinking pie of potential candidates out there. We'll talk philosophy, but will also talk tactics that you can put into play right away. Let me introduce her. And Wyatt, president and owner of and white recruiting, is passionate about helping innovative and progressive industrial, small to medium and enterprises and solutions providers in accessing top leading technical talent within an increasingly decentralized market. Achieving this goal relies on blending emerging digital capabilities with a highly personable customer user experience, resulting in bridging of the talent gap and building stronger company cultures and communities. And welcome to the show. Thank you, Joe. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, you bet, big fan of your your show and your podcast. Thank you very much. Yeah, we've known each other for a while here and it's about time we got you up on here on the show as a guest. So I'm glad we could do this. Yeah, me too, me too. This is a this is a privilege for me because you're out there making great contents and creating some some great marketing materials as well for company. So this is really awesome. Thank you. I appreciate that. So and you have been running your own recruiting business specifically in the manufacturing sector for I think about seven years right, and you have worked in workforce development prior to that. You've seen a lot of change in the sector over the past decade or so, I imagine. So I wanted to kind of just open up in broad terms and ask you what's your perspective on the current Labor situation in manufacturing and where it's headed. Yeah, this is a great question and I get this question a lot with the with the labor markets. I'll give you kind of a little bit of background on what I've seen through the years and in total I've been in some aspect of workforce development for around ten years or so. So when I first started at the Career Center, I'll just I'll put it in this in these terms. The unemployment rate at that...

...time is around seven percent and when I first started I worked at the front desk, so I would check people in and I remember it would log the number of people that we had in the crew center every day. It usually average anywhere from five hundred to six hundred people. So that was around two thousand and ten coming out of two thousand and eight, and at that time the unempoyment rate was still very high a percent. By the time I left the career center the unemployment rate was around five percent at that time in two thousand and fifteen, that was considered full employment. Currently, and I just check this morning, currently the unemployment rate is around three point six percent. So I believe that they have changed the full employment from five to four percent in recent years. I think I saw that on the bls website. But at three point six percent that's still well into full employment levels. So at that being said, what I've seen is a very, you know, a transition through a very extreme end of high unemployments, low job numbers and very few opportunities into the absolute one eighty in verse of that to where it is now and almost one hundred percent candidate driven market. And you have seen these. We have recruiting we have seen some of the highest offers made, some of the best benefit packages being put together. It offered. So a lot of analysts right now are saying that the supply chain issues are probably going to affect the labor market and that you're going to see a little bit of a slowdown that compared with other world events, you know, what's going on overseas is just getting it's getting really it's a lot harder to get the product out the door on time, things that that nature. So I mean, we will see where that goes. If anything, though, I would expect almost like, if you think of like stock markets, I would almost expect like a correction of some sort because we are still so, you know, so low on the full employment then the unemployment rates three point six percent. It's going to take a lot. It would take a lot and I don't know that manufacturing will necessarily be as impacted as other industries, honestly, because we're going to also see a lot of restoring efforts to so, if anything, you know, it may be slow for a little bit, that I think it will pick up speed again. And you were recently telling me about sort of all the hats that HR folks inside of manufacturing organizations often need to wear and being such a candidate driven market, as you mentioned a few minutes ago, it can be really hard to put the time and energy into what you described as rolling out the red carpet for a candidate, which is kind of what you need to do right now, because a lot of the power tends to be in their hands. So can you get into a little bit about why that's so important at this moment in time that you manufacturers make the time and devote the resources to actually courting their potential hires? Yeah, absolutely so. A lot of the clients that I would work with on a normal basis...

...there are small medium enterprises and their HR department is literally like maybe two or three people. So, with that being said, they have a lot of different functions in their roles and responsibility. So it's not just all about recruiting. It also encompasses payroll and a lot of cases, because a lot of companies don't necessarily have their own accounting department, that's falls under an HR function, benefits on boarding employee relations. So anytime there's any issue with employees on the floor with each other, that has to be addressed by HR directly. So you can you can kind of imagine that if you have this department of, you know, two to three people, they have a lot of roles and responsibilities that they have to manage day to day and you know, people are people and you know they things, things come up all the time, right like they also manage the staffing flow, like who's calling and sick that day, who has appointments, that kind of thing. So recruiting, I think, in a lot of cases, has become not I mean it's not daytoday. It's not like a day to day operations thing. It's like we have personnel issues and we need to take on some new employees to fill those needs. Right. So I think that it kind of they're so inundated on day to day operational things that they don't maybe have a lot of the time or resources to devote to recruiting specifically. I feel like that can really impact your recruiting efforts, however, because it is such a candidate driven market and right now the unemployment rate is three point six percent and it's really hard to convince somebody that you know they want to come work for your company if you're not giving them the attention or the follow up, or being communicative, I guess, is the correct word. Just being communicative with them and just being letting them know kind of the process and what's next, and being timely, because in the amount of time, and I've seen this happen so many times, this is called like a fall off, right. So when you're in the middle of the interviewing process, you submit a candidate for the interview, the candidate interviews. By the time that the operational readership comes back or the HR leadership comes back and says, yeah, we want to move to the next step with this candidate, that candidate has already received multiple offers. So then that candidate is kind of in this position like you know, I don't I mean people or people. They're like, okay, well, I just interview here and I don't know what, I don't know right, and so they're either going to be hesitant they're going to say, you know, I have another opportunity that I would like to move forward with instead these types of situation. So being very quick to communicate and revive you back is very important. Right now. That's a that's a huge, huge setback when you're trying to recruit in this candidate driven market. That's a really good tip there. You can't, you can't wait a few days anymore. You know, it's I think people are probably stuck in that mindset from a decade ago when they felt like they had the power in the and then not that it's supposed to... a big power struggle, but you know, candid even market, they're calling the shots in a lot of ways. is the reality and you need to be fast and responsive and that that's kind of your first impression for them. In a lot of ways. Does this person actually want does this company actually want me working here? How much of they care? Right, absolutely, and you know, we've heard this phrase over and over. You know, if we build it, they will come, and I mean that's true to some extent. But when you're in a situation like we are, we bit in for the past couple of years, you're you're almost so you know, they have so many options. It's it's kind of like you can't just post your job order anymore and expect for for candidates to apply. You really have to be proactive and aggressive in reaching out to them and that working with them and building and growing your network. And I've spent a lot of time and efforts doing that myself. So it takes a lot of work. It's no longer passive, you know. It's no longer like we're going to throw this out here and expect for people to apply. It's very much you know, you really have to go and communicate that you have needs and then you have to market and then you have to be communicative through the process and really reach people where they are, which under we'll talk about more later, but it's a it's an active process, you know. Yeah, that's definitely changed, I bet. What are other examples, like tactical things you've seen really smart manufacturers doing or things you recommend, you know, just to get a little bit more tangible. What can companies be doing to roll out that red carpet or show a candidate we're serious about you, we really want you here, I'll open it up to you solutely. Yes, so you don't really have to have all the bells and muscles. You do have to be flexible, I think, at a certain extent. So if you really want somebody, you know, if they are just the perfect fit, you have to be proactive in retaining them to your work force and bringing them on board. So by that I mean, you know, if you really want some manyad the there the perfect fit for your culture, for the job, all of those things. You the number one thing you can't do is weight or hesitate. You have to be ready to make them an offer and then you're probably going to have to be a little flexible. So maybe their salaries not as high as it was previously, maybe they had three weeks of vacation and they're looking for for you have to figure out and find out what that person kne needs to make that move, and having a resource like a third party recruiter, for example, is a great way to find that out, because that's where I come in and I say, okay, we'll let me really kind of have that conversation with them and figure out what they really what it's going to take for them to get there. But some of the more simpler things even that I've seen that companies have done. They've taken their potential hires on tours of the plant before actually bringing them in for the interview and letting them talk to employs on the floor. You know, especially if that candidate is being motivated by maybe they want a tighter, you know, community feel to their to their workplace. So if they're looking for that smaller medium size enterprise that feels more like a family environment, which some people prefer, that bringing...

...them onto the floor and letting them talk to people and letting them meet people and letting them ask them questions about their job and day to day is a huge step towards providing an excellent candon experience, rowing out that red carpet, so to speak. Another thing. Some of my companies that have been more progressive and I have been successful in their creiting efforts right now. They had been flexible, but they've also been communicative and responsive and they are also not afraid to show off their their workforce or their plan in some way. So they are okay with the marketing piece of it and showing that person you know what specifically you're doing, either they do that internally on their own through their marketing department or if they don't have a marketing department, I've seen a lot of companies very be very successful by a pointing like branded like, like employee influencers. I don't know really what the right word for that is, but employees that essentially work for them, that are posting on social media anyway, and then are saying, yeah, go for it, use this Hashtag, you know, let's get the word out there that we're a good place to work for. So that's been a strong, a strong marketing point as well. But there are different things that you can do to provide that cat and experience. It doesn't have to be like Oh, well, I know that this person is is making x amount and, you know, we need to feel like we need to match that. It depends on the amount, right, I mean, if that's I mean there's only so far we can probably get right with with going roles, and it doesn't always have to be that. So I don't want people to think that. And people are motivated by different things and really working with them to figure out what that thing is, what that motivating thing is, and making sure that there are a good fit for what you're company can provide transparency, if you will. Just being transparent. Yeah, that's going to make you successful in recruiting. It makes sense. I think the common thread that is I as I sit here listening to to is is you just you need to have a really good pulse, I think, on what your workforce really cares about in values, because I think it's. I mean, for everybody I talked to, it's just changed a lot over the last decade. You know, there's especially with the younger members of the workforce, where it seems like a lot of people value the flexibility and schedule and the you know, when you got kids at home and and you know, being able to work maybe a little different hours or more on certain days than others, and you know, deaf course it's sometimes easier said than done, but I think the point I'm making is talk to your people, talk to your candidates, learn what actually is important to them rather than making assumptions, and you'll probably recognize patterns and then you'll probably have one off cases to I imagine, where it's like, okay, well, the particular person, this is just something that really matters to them and I could show them that, you know, we're willing to be flexible because we want them here, and that's going to immediately make them feel valued. I imagine absolutely, and that is another really key point, Joe, is that you know, there's a lot of I mentioned this earlier. I think that there's a lot of instability right now and we're kind of seeing all of these different factors coming coming to play, not just, you know, the supply chain issues.

We've been doing. You know, we may we made it through covid people do have, like myself, and I know you do. You have children as well, and sometimes you just have to be a little bit more flexible with people and understand. Okay, you know, twelve hour shifts, seven days a week. It's probably can't. You know, it's probably not the thing, is it? And that's why I'm all about bringing in some automation to to help alleviate that and let people have that work life balance that they're looking for, because I do think that that's that's huge in today's Day and age, and I know is a parent yourself. You Know How many times? How many holidays do we have? You know? How many? How many times do you know do the Kiddos get sick and how? You know you were always taking off. You're always shuffling them somewhere. You know, you have to have that flexibility, especially to diverse sappire recruiting efforts as well and your workforce. So that's, you know, leaving with empathy, being flexible. It's a great point. Let's talk about culture fit a little bit. Touched on it a bit earlier. But why is culture fit so important and what are the some of the things that you do as a recruiter to help create that perfect match between a manufacturing organization and a candidate? Yeah, so I love I love talking about the culture because I think that is such an important piece of the manufacturing workforce that I think I've seen. I mean I've seen exceptional examples of company Goulder. I've also seeing not very good examples of company culture. Let me just put it out there. But those exceptional examples with company culture they don't have a hard time recruiting, they don't have a hard time retaining their their workforce. They have you know, that build your brand. I don't think that manufacturing company sometimes they miss that. Like their culture is a piece of your brand in your community and when you don't have a good culture, your recruiting efforts are going to suffer, your attention rates are going to be our non existent as sorry, his one. As one of my HR contact said. It's so it's really important piece to to your workforce and it's the only way to create a sustainable manufacture workforce is through culture improvement. But I think that's also very important when it comes to those motivating factors as well, right, because if you have somebody that is motivated by a salary increase, then you know they're not necessarily they're probably more willing to be okay with less worklife balance. If you have somebody like myself, though, that you know I have to constantly re rearrange everything and then come back and say, okay, well, you know, I'll hit it after nine eight, you know, nine pm tonight when he goes to bed. You have somebody that has to always like looks their schedule around a child, or somebody that just prefers worklife balance, then that person is not going to be probably be as motivated by a salary. So they are probably more willing if the culture is good and if you're, you know, if your company is pretty flexible with their workforce, they would stay regardless of salary.

And I I've known people, I've known several people that have said, you know, I really like my company. Doesn't pay, you know, as high as other companies. Know, but do we have good management and do they offer a flexible work schedule? Absolutely, and I would stay as long as as long as they'll happening. So they that's that's a that's super important. I always make it a point to assess my candidates for culture, because I think I'm just such a big believer and recruiting. You never want to put somebody somewhere that's not going to be a long term fits, because candidates, when they're applying for a new position, more often than not their thought process is, I want to be here somewhere for a while. It's not, you know, they're not looking to job pop, they're looking for a steady career that they're going to be happy with and grow. Growth is a is another motivating factor that I hear so much from candidates reaching out to me. But they want that investment. They want to be there for the long call. So I really filing that it's helpful to assess the candidate first of all identify one of those five motivating factors, which are salary, growth, opportunities, work life balance. I think benefits is one of them, and then also, I can't remember the fifth one right off hand, but there there's five motivating factors. Identify one of those, what that candidate is leaning towards, and then be very transparent about the company and what their qualifications are. So if they're coming to me and they're saying, you know, this is what I value as in terms of attitude, attitude Kpis what our company sizes, what our priorities are. That's all information I like to get up from from the client and then I like to compare it to the information that I go over with the candidate. And there have been plenty of cases where I said, you know what, I don't know that this company is the right fit for you because I know their company. You know, I know the shift hours, I know, based on the information you're telling about your salary. I know you're getting like five weeks of vacation right now. I mean, there are just different factors that go into that and the last thing I want to do as a recruiter is really set somebody up for failure. I want to set them up for success. I want them to build that last relationship and that's my goal. You know, I'm really passionate about work force development. I want that sustainability, I want that stability in manufacturing workforce. Yeah, there's a lot of good stuff in there. I imagine too, there are times where it's not. There are certainly examples of this is bad culture and this is good culture. Probably a lot of times too, though, when you're talking about fit, it may not be so so black and white. It may just be do the things that this company values align with the things that this person values? And for some people the answer is going to be yes, and for others it may not be, and that's okay too. But having, yeah, identified all that ahead of time as a manufacturer and asking those questions and making sure that there's sort of a mutual understanding about what this job is going to be like and what it's going to be like to work here can probably build a lot of confidence for people who are the right fit and detract people that probably aren't but may not have realized..., and then you know, three months down the road everybody's unhappy. You can maybe avoid those situations, to write so lately. So that's something that you know. When I'm on a client and take call, a client discovery call, something in that nature, I want to identify right off that. I want to know, you know, what what is your your hours of operation, I want to know all of that stuff. Company size, all of that, but I also want to know, you know, what are, what your path forward would like like what's Your Career Progression Hath, and what's your recruitment strategy when it comes to sitting down with the candidates and talking out, you know, what your path moving forward with your organization looks like. That's a huge that's a huge factor in recruiting and retaining and giving them those opportunities and saying, you know what you're going to do two years in this apprenticeship program and this is what the pay rates going to be, and then after the two years, we're going to move you up into this role you know, and then from there, this is what the projected longevity of that position is until we're moving you up again, and this is in the meantime, this is the extended education and professional development that we're going to offer to you. This is available if you would like it. Companies that are very good at not only having those different steps in place for their employees, but also being able to explain that to them and walk them through that are also usually very good. But the recruitment efforts, you know so and that's that's also a culture builder. That's building your culture. Absolutely so, in shifting gears a little bit here, I've watched you over the past couple of years staying ahead of the curve digitally, which I applaud you for. You've you've helped facility some amazing conversations and industry. Four point no club, which began on clubhouse and I think is kind of migrating gradually. Two, Linkedin live, if I've heard about that correctly. I see you creating video content on Tick Tock, where I know very active communities of, for example, welders and machinists congregate, and I think it's really great because you're looking at how and where your audience consumes information and figuring out how to reach them there. And I think that's a thing that most people and companies don't do well. They just don't. They say, Oh, that's that's for you know, that's not for us or our audience, and the reality is well, in some of these places, yeah, actually it is, and you need to pay attention to that. And so it to me it really just comes down to understanding your audience and where they go, especially digitally. So I was just going to turn it over to you and let you kind of speak to that topic and maybe provide some advice to manufacturers, especially in this you know world of recruiting and trying to find talent. Like you're the people you're trying to reach are out there and you can connect with them in places that you may not realize it. Absolutely disclaimer. I don't know that I'm very good at ticktock either. I don't just you know, I like to talk. I will say how I tick Tock because it is really easy to create content interning in the APP and you can, I mean those videos where is before? If I would make a video, I have software to do that and it takes I mean it's a couple hour deal. I'm not going to lie. For me, I'm not the best maybe at that either, but tick tock, it's all in the APP and it's just an easy, quick way to make content that relates to people. So when we get into this conversation about, you know, meeting people where they are, something that I say a lot, because that's where your workforce is. So you really...

...need to identify where your workforces in order to even approach their approach them about recruiting, tick tocks a great way to do that. There are a lot of users on ticktock and there are a lot of different communities on ticktock. So I think for all the naysayers, I think it's worth your time. You should check it out, give it a trial run, post some content. If nothing else, you can repurpose it, because you can do that as well with that APP, which is which is just really cool, and put it on your your linkedin and that's something that I do. But it's important to get in front of your market. There's a lot of younger people on Ticktock, but there's also plenty of parents that are on ticktock to be on ticktock to make sure their kids are staying out of trouble on ticktock. I've knows, I know several of those. But being visible and have that presence online not only build your brand by exposing people to your brand, it also kind of gives you a human element as a company, and I think that right now with marketing, people aren't necessarily he's interested and company brands as they are individuals and individual stories, and when you can kind of go out of that, you know, kind of traditional box that we've all been in and you can expand and you can show your humanity and that, yes, you know you have a whole workforce of people and yes, some days, some days it's going to be kind of serious in the workplace and we're going to solve the problems and we're going to provide the solutions and we're going to do great things for our customers and for the industry as a whole. Other days, you know, we're not afraid to have a little fun. We're not afraid to cut up a little bit, you know, but you can't this whole perfect, you know, concept of a company and it being its own entity. It's it doesn't connect like social media does to people on an individual basis. So you just have to be willing to try a few of those things and see what works for you. But I you know, I think that people are always going to be much more interested in seeing the more real life, transparents version of your brand then they are the traditional, more cut and dry into tea aspect of it. I don't know if that makes sense. Yeah, I mean humanize the brand right. People like to work with people they like, and you think you have an opportunity to do that, more so today than ever before. So I think there's there's a lot of good stuff in there well, and this has been a really great conversation. I appreciate you doing this and liked you to tell our audience where they can get in touch with you and learn more about your recruiting business and why it recruiting. Absolutely yes, so you can see. You can see more about what I do recruiting wise at and white recruitingcom or you can connect with and why at's the the person on Linkedin and I'm also working on a few things with linkedin lives and doing some things like that as well, because I'll be starting a new show soon and going to be featuring some other manufacturing guests...

...and influencers and and people in our community through a show called workforce. for Om righted about that. That's great. WHENES THAT GOING TO BE? Whens? That can be starting up in Oh gosh, so this is you're the first person I've told. All right, that's personal awesome. Dune twenty two is the date at twelve o'clock eastern time, and it's going to be linkedin live. There is a workforce four point no page. There's also just me and hey. If you just want to say stabbin and say hello any time, just connect with me on Linkedin. So me a message like hey, how are you? Beautiful? That sounds good looking. Looking forward to seeing what you're doing there. It's obviously a really important topic right now, and manufacturing maybe the most important topic, so I'll make sure to to in tune into the you said it's called going to be called Workforce F Point O. Yes, beautiful, yes, on Workforce Wednesdays. Love it, doing it. Love it all right. Well, and once again, thanks for doing this. Yes, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. Is My pleasure. As for the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast to ensure that you never missed an episode. Subscribe to...

...the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for BTB manufacturers at gorilla seventy sixcom learn. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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