It’s that time again. You have openings on your floor to fill. And to make matters worse, one of your largest customers is ramping up their production, which means you need all the skilled labor you can get. Needing help is a good sign because it means you’re busy. However, if you’re like most shops, finding the talent to meet your needs can sometimes feel like mission impossible.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In fact, with a few tweaks to your hiring process, you may be able to fill your recruiting pipeline with plenty of talented and skilled workers. To do that, though, you need to approach recruiting with the same process-oriented mindset that you have for production.

You wouldn’t think of scheduling jobs and ordering materials on the fly and without running it through your job shop software? So why are your recruiting and hiring on the fly? Develop a process and you’ll find that hiring isn’t nearly as challenging as it may seem. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Recruit constantly, even if you don’t have a need.

One of the biggest challenges that shops face in recruiting is that they can’t find the right talent available exactly when they have a job open. They then perceive it as a lack-of-good-talent problem. The real issue is that they’re not recruiting enough.

The most successful shops are always recruiting, even when they don’t have an opening. They meet with graduates of local programs. They schedule introductory meetings with skilled workers who are happily employed with other shops. They even make calls to workers who live in other parts of the country.

Why would they do this if they don’t have a need? So they can keep their talent pipeline full. When the time does come that they have an opening, all they have to do is circle back to the skilled workers who they’ve already spoken with. They can see who is interested and who isn’t and then progress from there.

If you don’t have the resources to do constant recruiting, consider working with a manufacturing recruiting company. They’ll have their own pool of candidates who you can recruit from.

Expand the talent pool.

It may be that your search criteria are just too narrow, thus limiting the amount of applicants that you’re getting. For example, maybe you list a number of skills as mandatory. If a potential applicant looks at those skills and doesn’t exactly match up, he or she may be reluctant to apply. Think about which skills are truly mandatory and which are just preferred. Maybe you can loosen up the requirements to get more applicants.

Also, consider offering a relocation bonus. That will expand your pool because you can advertise the job in other regions. It may be that the talent pool is thin in your area, but not in other cities. If you offer a relocation bonus, you could attract a talented worker who is looking for a change of scenery.

Involve your employees.

Ever heard that saying that, “the best way to find a new customer is through your current customers.” Well, the same is true of talent. Just as referrals are a great way to pick up clients, they’re also a great way to find employees.

Think about it. Your employees likely know friends and professional acquaintances who work at other manufacturing facilities. Maybe they went to trade school with someone who fits your needs. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who fits the bill.

Tap into your employees and offer them a bonus for helping you find your next great worker. Of course, you’ll probably want to put some conditions on the bonus, such as making sure the new employee stays on for certain amount of time before the bonus is paid.

Get involved in area schools.

Your most effective hiring tactic may be to hire new workers straight out of community college or trade school. That way, they’ll come in with the skills needed to get started, but you can still train them to meet your standards.

Most machining programs are always looking for area shops to help out. Perhaps you can host a class at your shop for a day so they can see how a real shop operates. Maybe you can let a local class perform a small job for you. You may even be able to have students spend some time in your shop as a co-op or internship opportunity.

All of those steps will help you get exposure to the next generation of machinists. And you may even meet a few students who would make great additions to your shop. Talk to your nearest community college about helping out with their machining program.

Of course, planning ahead is also helpful when it comes to hiring. It’s always better if you can project in advance that you’ll need more employees. Job shop software can help see your production queue with more clarity. That will help you start the recruiting process sooner, so you don’t need to hire someone in a last-minute, emergency situation.
For more information on our E2 software, contact us today. We’d be happy to share how using a robust job shop software platform can make you a more effective recruiter.