Lights, Smart Phone, RECRUIT!

Elena Valentine, CEO of Chicago-based Skill Scout Inc., an experiential hiring firm, gives manufacturers some valuable tips about how to attract and hire the next generation workforce.


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I first met Elena Valentine, CEO of Chicago-based Skill Scout Inc., an experiential hiring firm, last year when she gave a presentation at an American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Chicago Chapter dinner meeting. What she discussed resonated with everyone in the room. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share this blog written by Elena for MMT. In it, she gives manufacturers some valuable tips about how to attract and hire the next generation workforce.

America built our vast economy by inventing, building and innovating in manufacturing. Despite this foundation, many of America's manufacturers say they are struggling to find qualified workers.

At the same time, young adults looking for work lack exposure to the industry. Manufacturing is vibrant, dynamic and has endless opportunities for growth. But the incoming generation of talent ranks our industry dead last for a career they want to pursue. There’s a misperception that the work is dark, dingy and at risk of be eliminated or sent overseas.

Manufacturing itself doesn’t need a facelift, but how we communicate manufacturing careers does. Authentically portraying what that job and environment is about is the first step. For many candidates, your job posting is the very first touchpoint to manufacturing jobs.

Visualize your current job postings for a second. Are they long text documents with 20 or 30 beneficial traits or skills you want in a candidate? A few paragraphs, a few sets of bullet points, some required EEOC language? Do they look and sound like every other job posting out there?

Manufacturing environments are more varied and interesting than bland, cubicle-laden offices. In manufacturing, the high tech co-exists with the low tech. Robotic machinery and measuring cups. Clean rooms absent of dust and milling machines with oil and metal cuttings flying. The work can be very loud and physical or quiet and highly detailed. Seeing these different environments and the actual jobs in action helps build awareness and excitement for potential employees to make informed decisions about where they’ll do well.

So how can we communicate this dynamic industry to the next generation of talent?

Video is a smart way to start.

By 2019, video will be the largest source of internet traffic, and our brains are wired for visual stories. We recall about 65 percent of what we see and hear versus only 15 percent of what we read. Communicating our jobs through video results in more awareness of the industry, and more informed candidates.

You have the power to create and share videos of your jobs right in your pocket, so grab that smart phone!

Here are 4 ways you can use video to upgrade your job postings and attract the next generation of manufacturing talent:

1. Show the job in action:

A picture tells a thousand words, and video is 24 pictures a second. Showing the job being done well, by your best employee, is a great way to show exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate.

●Start with an overview of the job showing a snippet of the tasks involved.

●Take a moment to focus on the three most important aspects of the job.

●Get the camera close to the action! If the job involves assembling parts, show some close-ups of your employees doing that assembly.

2. Interview a current employee or hiring supervisor:

There’s nothing like putting a face to the actual job. Interview a current employee and have him answer some of the following questions:

●Talk about a typical day in this job.

●What’s challenging about this job? What’s rewarding?

●What are the potential growth opportunities?

●Who does well on this job?

●What advice would you have for candidates applying for this role?

3. Show off your shop floor:

●Take us on a tour of your facility.

●What cool equipment, technology or processes can you share?

●What is the coolest feature of your facility?

●Where will the employee be working?

●What does it feel like to come to your shop every day?

4. Show your company’s culture:

One of the hardest things to communicate, especially in a job posting, is why your company is a better place to work than somewhere else. The best-qualified candidates can be choosy about where they want to work, and many of them value being proud to work at their company.

●What are some of the ways your company shows its appreciation for its employees?

●Interview some of your best and happiest employees about why they like working at your company.

You don’t need to be the next Mike Rowe to produce these job videos. Using just your smartphone and some attention to detail, you can get great video. Here are some things to keep in mind:

●When you’re capturing someone talking, try to find a room that’s quiet and well-lit. You can shoot video of a noisy shop floor to show what the environment is like, but when the person talking in your video needs to be heard, it's best to move them to a conference room.

●If you’re hand-holding the camera, brace your arms on a table or against your sides to help stabilize the shot.

●It’s good to be prepared when you’re interviewing someone, so have some questions ready to go before you start shooting. However, don’t be afraid to go off-script, either. Asking open-ended questions, or starting a question like “tell me the story of when…” is a great way to get people talking on camera.

●Don’t be afraid to let the people on camera reveal the challenges of the job. Candidates are smart enough to know that the job isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The more up front you can be about these challenges the better you’ll be at attracting candidates who want to do that job.

Manufacturing jobs and their environments are rich and dynamic. Using video and photos in your job postings helps showcase the manufacturing industry and your own company in a more compelling way to build your brand and attract the best candidates.