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Three Creative Hiring Strategies for Manufacturers

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Author: Nick Goellner

Three Creative Hiring Strategies

What do we do in this crazy labor market? Do you need to focus on retention? Up your recruiting? Hold on to employees that are just okay? Leverage is changing and employees are increasingly aware of their value. 

As business owners, we need to be aware of this and compensate our teams accordingly. While retention is key, what do we do when we have no choice and we need to hire in this market that isn’t exactly favorable? I’ve found two great strategies in my process.

Solution #1: Hire on a trial basis

When you need to hire fast, it can be easy to hire the first warm body that comes your way, even if they’re not fully qualified. But if there’s a way to test the relationship first, I’m all for it. So I am trialing a method to work with a candidate before we commit to hiring them full-time. 

Making Chips is a podcast and marketing agency. We recently brought on a contractor who we will trial for a length of time before we make a full commitment to hiring him. It allows both parties to feel each other out, even if it’s just temporarily part-time.

What’s the downside? Jason notes that people can stretch the truth about their expertise on their resume when they may not know exactly what they’re doing. Secondly, they might work differently at the beginning to get hired full-time. You may get a different person when they’re hired long-term. It may be a cautionary tale when bringing someone on for a trial basis. 

Solution #2: Recruit high caliber candidates

When you’re hiring for a sales leadership position, it will likely be someone who has a great job and makes good money. So how do you successfully recruit people that work for other companies? 

You could start by developing relationships with people on LinkedIn. Send them valuable information, comment on their posts, and start conversations. But did you know that there’s a “switch” on LinkedIn that people can turn on? It allows recruiters to see that this person is interested in hearing about new positions. Your employer and the general public can’t see it—just people with a LinkedIn Recruiter account. But recruiters pay around $30,000 for this access. 

Can you replicate this process without using a recruiter? You can purchase the recruiting product yourself and LinkedIn will train you how to use it. The opportunity to do it yourself is available for larger companies who can make that dollar amount work. 

I have gotten great candidates through this process. Prior to this, we felt handcuffed and didn’t know where to start. The process of consistently recruiting helps me understand my value proposition as an employer. You can learn what benefits and pay potential hires are getting and compare it to what you're offering to see if you’re competitive in the market. 

Solution #3: Hire a Freelancer

It’s not uncommon to use freelancers in the marketing space. But is the day of the freelance machinist coming? If you’re a master machinist and can prove it, what if you simply contracted yourself for 90 days and made a killing? 

Jason has seen this concept in action. Some of his clients don’t have full-time programmers on their staff because they’re expensive and few and far between. So Jason connects them with a freelance programmer who can make the process change a reality. People are out there, but it’s not common. But we think it will become more prevalent. 

How to choose between qualified candidates

What if you’re one of the lucky businesses that have multiple qualified candidates for one position? I interviewed 6–8 regional sales director candidates and narrowed them down to two. I would’ve hired both if I could but only needed one per region. So how did I decide between the two candidates? I created a role-playing challenge for them. I asked them various questions to determine how they would solve real-life problems.

I asked each candidate what they’d do if they were about to board a flight to see a customer and they got some bad news (such as parts being delayed). What would they do? 

One candidate gave a basic answer that worked. But the other candidate said he’d look to see when the next flight was and hop on the next when. That would allow him to take the time to get the details required to solve the problem. He didn’t want to go to his client unprepared. The guy we hired went the extra mile with a well-thought-out response. 

The hiring process isn’t easy but hopefully these tips can help you fill your next position. And if you’re on the other side and looking for jobs, hit us up! All three of us are hiring.

– Nick

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