The 3 Biggest Hiring Mistakes Manufacturers Make When Looking for Talent in 2020 (& Solutions!)

Drew Whitehurst | August 13, 2020

While the skills gap in the manufacturing industry has been growing for years, the impact of COVID-19 has rapidly deepened that divide. Today, 89% of manufacturers are leaving positions unfilled because they can’t find qualified applicants to hire, causing 72% of executives to increase spending on hiring technicians this year.

To remain competitive in this market, there’s not much room for hiring error. Here are the three biggest manufacturing hiring mistakes to avoid when looking for talent so that your company can come out on top:

1. Using Unclear Job Descriptions

While this isn’t unique to the manufacturing industry, it’s especially important if potential candidates are being sent multiple opportunities in a short time. Job descriptions should be well-written, but straightforward and simple, so there’s no confusion as to what you’re expecting or the skills necessary to succeed in a position.

That said, don’t just include information about the role — highlight your business and the factors that make you stand out amongst the rest. Attract workers by including your best employee perks, like overtime, healthcare plans, or on-site child-care — anything that could make their life easier during this time should be advertised up front.

2. Looking in the Wrong Place

It’s easy to overlook the digital divide and the barrier that it presents when searching for workers — it may come as a shock to learn that 42 million Americans aren’t in a position to afford high-speed internet in their homes. This subsection of our population tends to have high school education or less, with many dependent on income from manufacturing jobs.

Reach these workers by getting creative with your recruitment strategies; collaborate with public services, like your local library, to provide designated times for potential candidates to use their resources. Or, consider hosting a socially-distanced hiring event. To find talent while staying healthy, recruiters are opting for drive-thru job fairs or inviting potential candidates to meet at a spacious plant and remain a safe 6-feet apart. At more “hands-on” events such as these, your hiring team can provide tech, such as laptops or iPads, that workers can use to then record one-way on demand interviews, videos you can later review and determine their fit for a position.

3. Taking an Outdated Approach

Despite no longer being on paper, resumes remain one of the hallmarks of hiring. Now though, with applicant tracking systems and similar tech controlling which candidates are filtered through the process, digital resumes can still easily be overlooked or lost in the shuffle. Here are the basic dos and don’ts to follow:

Diagram showcasing the do's and don'ts of a recruiting and hiring strategy

It’s a weird time to hire manufacturing workers. The juxtaposition of up-and-coming technology with workers who may not even have internet access at home is stark — but it’s real. And while we all hope that the pandemic will be over as quickly as possible, even after public places are reopened and your hiring team has more access to talent, it’s going to take time before anything gets back to “normal”. With these tips, and by providing the right tools for candidates to succeed, you’re likely to develop strategies that will improve your hiring processes for years to come and that will help you avoid these manufacturing hiring mistakes.

About The Author

Drew Whitehurst is the Content & Implementation Specialist at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.

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