How to Grow Your Business Through Non-Traditional Hiring

When you’re building your team, you want to find the candidates that will contribute most to the company. Thinking “outside the box” will bring you to the most qualified and hardworking individuals. (The phrase may be cliché, but the resulting actions aren’t.)

Hiring.jpgSure, you’re in the manufacturing space, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider applicants with a variety of backgrounds and skills. People have more talents and larger wheelhouses than you know (and are able to comprehend during a generic interview process).

Not only is it beneficial to recruit employees with a range of backgrounds, but necessary. A recent study by Deloitte shows that the skills gap in manufacturing will result in 2 million out of 3.5 million jobs in the industry remaining unfilled over the next ten years.

You need to start looking for people, and you’ll need to practice non-traditional hiring — so check out our list of dos and don’ts:

Do make job descriptions as inclusive as possible.

Job descriptions that list basic responsibilities may result in poor or underwhelming performance. Instead, write a job description that adequately conveys the challenges of the role. That way, only people who are qualified for the position and motivated to succeed, push boundaries, and get outside of their comfort zones will apply.

You’ll attract just the kind of applicant you want, rather than those who put in minimum effort, following only the responsibilities of the job description they received when they applied.

Don’t stick to traditional methods for recruitment.

Posting job openings to your website no longer passes muster when there are so many other options for recruiting interesting employees. Certainly post to your website, but also utilize LinkedIn, university alumni groups, and Twitter. Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor, and other similar job recruitment sites are also options to consider.

Another surefire way to bring in applicants with the skills you need is to post to job boards within engineering societies. A few examples include the jobs boards of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. (If you need more resources, this is a good list.)

Attending trade shows and other networking events to find new employees will pay dividends — not everyone wants to spend their time at conferences (read: this is how you distinguish remarkable candidates from average ones).

Do interview prospects in new ways.

For decades, the hiring process has consisted of an individual sitting across a desk from the interviewer, reciting memorized answers that may or may not be effective in impressing the hiring manager.

This is a shame, since it’s the non-traditional interviews that give hiring parties the best idea of how an individual will handle certain workloads or team dynamics. Cultural fit is important and cannot be ignored.

Getting a vibe for how the job applicant will mesh with the company culture before you make her an offer is critical, and saves everyone unnecessary stress later on.

Some innovative interview ideas include:

  • Group interviews, where everyone a candidate will work with gets a chance to ask questions
  • Job simulations, where the candidate’s work ethic, ability to problem-solve, and critical thinking skills are tested directly in front of you (a particularly necessary tactic for manufacturing positions)
  • Questions more stimulating and original than “what are your weaknesses?”

Do be wary of temp agencies.

This is especially true for manufacturing roles, for which you want candidates who have been adequately trained. Appropriate placement of job candidates leads to stability within your workforce and a more cohesive — and permanent — team.

Temp agencies are not sugarcoating anything with their nomenclature; they’re for temporary workers. You want someone with long-term plans who wishes to grow with the company.

Don’t be afraid to teach.

With the skills gap growing increasingly large, forward-thinking manufacturers are offering apprenticeships and fellowship programs to educate the engineers of tomorrow. Many individual companies offer apprenticeships, and you can advertise them through engineering societies, as I mentioned above. Check out this example from the American Society for Engineering Education. 

FINE PRINT: Throughout this exciting process, it’s important to take into consideration anti-discrimination laws and other legal details. Avoid potential issues from individuals you hired in ways that are different from your new approach. You may find this account of a successful non-traditional hire helpful.

Final Thoughts

Manufacturing companies don’t need to hire exclusively engineers. Other traits will benefit the company, and you’ll find people with those traits if you ask the right questions and stray from the old-fashioned hiring techniques of the past.

Team Thomas on the marketing side is led by an engineer and marketer, and we also require the skills of the marketing experts, SEO specialists, and sales people that help keep the business running. We are an interdisciplinary team comprised of the sharpest tools in the shed, who research what they don’t know. You can find that for your team if you start recruiting for it differently.

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