Hiring manufacturing talent post-COVID-19: Advice from a hiring manager-turned recruiter

Posted on 24 Oct 2022 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

Every business changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some saw huge growth and rapid technology advancements, while others sadly had to close their doors following ongoing downturns in trade. Since then, talent scarcity and understaffing have emerged as massive economic challenges. 

Lauren Wise, Senior Consultant, Michael Page Manufacturing

The pandemic also prompted me to change the direction of my career, as it did so many others. After eight years at a global food retailer, working across operational, logistics and HR management roles, I chose to join Michael Page, a leading recruitment agency at the forefront of tackling the labour shortage.

I now specialise in recruiting manufacturing leaders across Yorkshire, and I see every day how important it is to attract and retain the right people. Today, I’ll be drawing on all my experience to share some top tips for recruiting the business leaders of the future in the current manufacturing market.

To learn more about creating an Employee Value Proposition that will attract and keep the best people, please download the free EVP eBook.

🎯 Know what you want

It may sound simple, but the first step in any successful hiring process is to know what you’re looking for. This can be surprisingly tricky: a lot of manufacturers have gone through restructures in recent years, either through growth or recession, and so may not be looking for a direct replacement of an incumbent’s skillset.

Before setting out on the recruitment process, decide what scope the role could have at both the lower and higher salary bandings. Be open to seeing people who might need to grow into the role but have the right characteristics, and also to candidates who may be able to do more than the role initially demands.

For an overview of salary expectations and key skills in the engineering and manufacturing space, check out our latest article on the subject.

💻How to advertise a job

There are many tools out there to advertise your vacancies to the world, but your best asset is your people. Use your existing employees to show that your company is already a great place to work, that you’re want to keep improving it, and that the upcoming role is a part of this.

Then, use the right methods for you, whether those be direct applications to your own website or recruitment team, or a partnership with a recruiter or head-hunter. Each role is different, so don’t be afraid to have an open mind with different approaches to each type of vacancy.

For a more detailed breakdown, read our guide to advertising a job and attracting top talent.

🤝How to run an effective interview

Some of the biggest changes to hiring processes since the onset of the pandemic have been in the interview stages. Interviews are now far more of a two-way street than they used to be – especially in light of the current candidate shortages. Therefore, the main things to focus on in the interview are the candidate’s experience and skillset (using their CV as a prompt), the role and key deliverables from the company’s perspective, and the future direction of the business.

It’s also crucial to include a shop floor tour as early as possible, so that the candidate can get a good feel for where they will (hopefully) be working. This also saves time further down the line, if the shop floor isn’t what the candidate expected it to be.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting to interview other candidates by way of a comparison. All too often the candidate you are 99% sure you want will be off the market by the time you make the offer. Someone else will see in them what you did – and if they act faster, you’ll lose a valuable addition to your team.

👍How to make an offer

When it comes to making an offer, the first thing is to make it personal. Even a candidate who is excited about joining your company and eagerly awaiting your offer might also be conflicted about leaving an existing workplace. The more personal the job offer, the more likely you’ll be able to ease any nervousness.

Secondly, but just as importantly, offer the candidate what you think they are worth. This may be different to what you had initially budgeted for, given that the right person might be more junior, or senior, than you anticipated.

🥇How to retain the best staff

Retention is absolutely critical to a successful long term talent strategy, and the key to retention is simply to treat people right. Treat employees with respect, push them to perform their best and communicate with them regularly. This will create a workplace which people are excited to come to.  Don’t wait until your employees hand their notice in for another job before realising how much they mean to your business.

To learn more about creating an Employee Value Proposition that will attract and keep the best people, please download the free EVP eBook.

At Michael Page Manufacturing, we work in close collaboration with our clients to help them hire the most in-demand candidates on the market. We have also partnered with The Manufacturer, to help the manufacturing sector become an industry of choice for high-calibre talent.

To discuss your talent needs, please get in touch today on the details below.

Lauren Wise, Senior Consultant, Michael Page Manufacturing

E: [email protected]