When a manufacturing company comes to you needing help in recruiting employees, how does the process begin?

We have approximately 200 representatives in the field. We make a point of contracting with local reps so that they’ll already be familiar with the market and will know in advance how that community works. That’s one of the things we discuss during our initial conversation, whether that involves a phone call or a site visit. We learn  what the company does before asking specific questions.

ome older manufacturing companies are quite proud of what their families have created, and even cherish the oldest machines in the shop. So you’ve got to tread lightly around these kinds of issues. We might gently inform that state-of-the art equipment and neat, organized workspaces make a big impression on potential employees as an incentive to join the company. We’ve come to realize that jobseekers are looking for more than a paycheck these days. They’re looking for an environment that compliments their own values; a place where feel that their input matters with a diversified workforce. Some might choose to go elsewhere for a few extra dollars, but we’ve found that the work/life balance has emerged as an important issue, especially among younger graduates.

The pandemic and quarantine gave a lot of professionals time to think carefully about where their life and career is headed, and many have chosen to go in a different direction. This is also something manufacturing companies can focus on in their local marketing efforts, specifically addressing those who are ready for a life change. Videos of the various machines in operation on the company’s website and on YouTube also provide a glimpse into the latest technologies in action to help dislodge any negative opinions might hold. We help companies identify their areas of strength when evaluating what might be important to job seekers.

How are your clients protected from spending a lot of money on pursuing candidates who aren’t capable of meeting their requirements?

We work specifically on a contingency basis. Our clients can interview candidates without spending a dime if they don’t find who they’re looking for. We also help clients refine their own interview skills with the feedback we gather from individual candidates. Our field representatives in the company’s locale have developed academic contacts that will help companies locate potential candidates in area. These might involve speaking to groups of high school students and even holding tours of their facilities to let them see for themselves that that manufacturing is no longer the dirty job they once may have thought it was with high-tech equipment, clean work areas, automation and robotics.

What is the most basic advice you give your own clients?

We want our clients to truly understand that everything has changed post-pandemic. People are weighing issues like quality of life rather income alone. You’ve probably read about folks who took the time in quarantine to evaluate their lives and maybe choose a different direction. It’s not just a matter of money and perks anymore, but a company’s values and the environment it provides in order to do good work. The power is really in the potential employee’s hands at this point.

So it sounds like you’re trying to help the employee as well as the employer.

That’s true. We want them both to be educated in this process. For instance, we film all our interviews, but it’s not always about skills. Sometimes we use them to point out weaknesses in how a candidate conducts themselves during interviews. And sometimes, in a very tactfully way, we need to tell the business owner where they fall short of a place where people want to work. More than ever, it’s a two-way street. Companies are searching for great candidates, and potential employees are looking to find a position that complements their lifestyle, values and future plans.

More information at goodwinrecruiting.com.

Russ graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with degrees in English, Journalism, and Art History. He has worked in academic, corporate, commercial, and trade publishing. His most recent affiliations have been with Modern Machine Shop, Production Machining, and Gear Solutions magazines.