Amy Hirsh Robinson, Interchange Group Principal
This article was published in the June 2018 edition of NTEA News
Companies in the work truck industry are facing unprecedented competition for skilled labor. Retirement of baby boomers is outpacing hiring, and employers are running low on their talent inventory. This phenomenon, often referred to as the silver tsunami, is occurring in large and small companies; with manufacturers, suppliers, upfitters and dealers; in rural and urban areas; and across roles and functions.
Today’s job candidates have high expectations of the recruitment process. It’s a buyer’s market. Finding and successfully enlisting the employees needed to replace retiring workers and meet demand for future growth will require new sourcing and hiring methods. To stay relevant and competitive, industry companies will need to modernize their recruitment processes.
Five recruitment strategies
- Focus on the candidate experience. The candidate experience is the applicant’s overall perception of a company’s recruiting process — the most decisive indicator of an employer’s success in hiring. It’s based on the feelings, behaviors and attitudes candidates experience during the entire process — from sourcing and screening to interviewing, hiring and then onboarding. Candidates who have a positive experience in the recruiting process will more likely accept a job offer and refer friends to the company. Conversely, a negative experience will cost an employer the applicant and the company’s reputation in the industry, community and marketplace.
- Get serious about online and mobile recruitment. Online recruitment has become the primary way applicants look for jobs, yet the career section of most websites consists of a static page with vague company and contact information, leaving a poor impression of the company and discouraging further engagement. Websites and online application processes that are not compatible with mobile devices reduce an employer’s likelihood of attracting and hiring talent. To be successful, recruiters must view their websites as marketing tools that vividly and interactively demonstrate to candidates what opportunities are available and why they should want to work at the company.
- Learn social recruiting methods. Social recruiting refers to the different methods of using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), blogs, forums, job boards and websites like glassdoor.com to find, attract and hire employees. Successful employers understand social recruiting goes beyond posting jobs on a company’s social media accounts. It means using social media to proactively search for, build relationships with and encourage potential candidates to apply for open positions.
- Leverage applicant tracking systems. More and more companies are using applicant tracking systems to manage the hiring process. These software systems provide data-centered insights on applicants, automated tasks and touchpoints, and industry-specific features. The ability to post jobs across multiple platforms — from job boards to social media — and track candidate engagement electronically in real time is included in many systems. Most importantly, these platforms create a more engaging and insightful relationship with the applicant from beginning to end.
- Adopt predictive and skill-based assessments. Savvy employers use predictive assessments such as behavioral-based interviewing to predict candidate success on the job. Behavioral interview questions are situational, open-ended questions that ask candidates how they have responded to various past circumstances, thus predicting how they will perform on the job. They provide hiring managers with a realistic understanding of a candidate’s competencies, knowledge and experience. Employers are adopting new skill-based assessment techniques like virtual reality. With virtual reality, companies can safely assess applicant skills (such as welding) in a simulated environment without having to tie up costly production resources, staffing and raw materials for screening. Applicants don’t risk injury, and the assessments deliver instantaneous feedback and proficiency scores to hiring managers.
Running out of talent inventory and time
Industry companies are running out of skilled labor and time to recruit new employees effectively. Their ability to successfully fill positions now will mean the difference between sustainability and extinction in the future.
In May, I presented an NTEA webinar on successfully finding and hiring the skilled talent you need. For a more in-depth understanding of how to navigate this process, access the presentation slides, webinar recording and guide to behavioral interviewing at ntea.com/webinars. Member login is required (contact NTEA’s team at 800-441-6832 for assistance).
Workforce development is an ongoing NTEA priority; find additional resources at ntea.com/workforcedevelopment.