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A Fresh Idea for Staffing Your Hard-to-Fill Skilled Trade Jobs

June 25, 2019

The job market is tight and you have several unfilled openings for hard-to-find candidates, causing your company to lose production unless you pay overtime to your current staff. You’re not alone. According to a Boston Consulting Group report, by 2020 there will be a shortage of 875,000 machinists, welders, maintenance technicians and industrial engineers. The steady growth in Northeast Ohio manufacturing, just as many skilled laborers are reaching retirement age, is leaving employers scrambling to find the right candidates from an ever-shrinking pool of applicants. Often, positions remain open for months while HR personnel search for the “perfect” person who can perform 100% of the job duties upon hire. A better solution may be employing individuals with school training who are motivated to work in their chosen fields. Let’s explore why.


Reason #1 – Flexibility


A candidate who is looking for on-the-job experience after completing a training program will be more flexible about work responsibilities than someone with years of experience. They won’t shy away from other duties during down times, such as assisting in the warehouse or cleaning work areas. In most cases, they are satisfied as long as they perform their primary job, such as machining or welding, most of the time. In contrast, many skilled candidates feel that doing work outside their field is beneath them. Recently, we interviewed a highly-skilled welder who refused to do anything except welding, even though other job requirements, such as sweeping his work area, were minimal. Needless to say, our client selected a different candidate with less experience but a more flexible mindset. In industry today, having a flexible workforce is a key component to a company’s success.


Reason #2 – Less Turnover


Some skilled applicants are available in this highly-competitive market because they are simply not interested in committing to any company long-term. They may spend one or two years with an organization before seeking greener pastures and moving on to a competitor who is offering more money or better benefits. Even though these individuals require minimal training and are productive while you have them, they won’t hang around for long, and you may be in a bigger staffing bind once they leave than you were before you employed them. On the other hand, trainees tend to be appreciative and loyal to the companies that took a chance and hired them. There is a higher likelihood that they will stay with you if you treat them well and give them opportunities for advancement.


Reason #3 – Economical


To land a highly-skilled applicant, you must be prepared to offer an extremely competitive salary and benefits package. And, if you want to keep them, you will need to give healthy raises, which may become a strain on your budget. In contrast, a candidate with school-only training is typically willing to work for a reasonable entry level salary, to increase their hands-on knowledge in the field. But be careful of underpaying these individuals once they become proficient in their jobs. You should always keep tabs on the going rate for their experience level and pay them appropriately, so you don’t lose them to your competitors. Keep in mind that other forms of compensation work well too, such as generous vacation plans, profit sharing or production bonuses.



Reason #4 – Faster Hire


Since there are more trainees available than experienced applicants, you will be able to fill your openings more quickly. Many times, a trainee can be hired within a few days, versus the weeks or even months needed to hire a skilled individual. Leaving a position open for an extended period of time will result in higher overtime costs to offset lost production. In most cases, a trainee will become proficient in less time than it would take for you to fill the job with your ideal candidate.



Reason #5 – More Trainable


Have you ever hired a candidate who, on their first day, said, “That’s not how we did it at XYZ Company”? If so, you know how frustrating it is when a seasoned person comes into your organization and is reluctant to conform to your procedures, because they feel they know better. Granted, some of the ideas they bring to the table might be good ones, but if they haven’t learned why you handle tasks a certain way, how do they know their methods are better? Trainees come into your company with a clean slate. They are eager to be taught your processes, to prove that they have what it takes to succeed within your organization. Even though they need more initial training than a skilled candidate, they make up for their lack of experience with a willingness to learn.



Reducing the Risk of Hiring an Entry-Level Candidate


Are you still unsure about hiring candidates with limited on-the-job experience? If so, you can mitigate your risk through Area Professionals’ temp-to-hire program, which gives employers the opportunity to work with applicants during a probationary period, prior to making a long-term commitment. A trainee’s ability to learn the job, their attitude, their reliability and other important factors will all become evident during this timeframe. Candidates who develop into assets to your organization can be rewarded with permanent employment, at no additional cost to you. Please contact us if you would like more details about available applicants or our temp-to-hire program.

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5 Signs You Should Not Accept a Job Offer

March 22, 2016

You’ve interviewed for a position and, on the surface, the job is a perfect match.  But you have noticed a few red flags during the interview that cause you to hesitate about accepting a job offer. Are these issues important or not?  Let’s look at five warning signs that indicate it may be better to continue your job search.


Sign # 1:  Interviewer Complains About Their Current Staff

Just as you shouldn’t bad mouth your current or former employers, it’s never a good sign when your interviewer is criticizing his current staff.  When this occurs, either your future co-workers will drive you crazy with their ineptness, or your future boss is a domineering tyrant.  Regardless of the reason, it’s probably best to leave this company in your rearview mirror.


Sign #2: The Interviewer Oversells the Opportunity

Everyone has heard the phrase, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!”  When you are promised rapid promotion, easy success, and the ability to double or triple your starting salary in your first year, you need to question the long-term potential of the position.  If the interviewer spends little time asking you about your qualifications, and if she is vague about the job duties, those are definite red flags. Typically, overselling means that the company experiences rapid turnover and the interviewer is desperate to recruit as many new hires as possible.  Unless you are in need of some quick cash to get you through a tough time, keep looking.


Sign #3:  The Same Job is Advertised Over and Over Again

Another sign that there will be trouble with a position is if the same opportunity is advertised over and over again.  There are reasons why a job remains open or doesn’t stay filled.  Does the hiring manager have unrealistic expectations?  Is the compensation competitive?  Is it a bad work environment?  Even if you haven’t seen the opening advertised repeatedly, here are a couple of good questions to ask your interviewer:  “How long has this position been open?” and “What is the average tenure of someone in this position?”  Your recruiter’s answers will help you determine whether or not this is a high-turnover job.


Sign #4: The Employees Act Nervous Around the Boss

Most managers can display a warm and welcoming demeanor during the interview, making it difficult to tell if your interviewer is being genuine or if he is hiding his true colors.  However, his employees have seen his real personality so you can learn a lot from their interactions with him.  Do they avoid eye contact?  Do they act nervous or fidgety when he speaks to them?  Do they walk the other way when they see him coming?  If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance that the manager isn’t as personable as he appears.


Sign #5: The Employees Look Unhappy

You can tell a lot about a company by the energy, body language and facial expressions of its employees.  As you walk by, do the employees look content and do they give you a warm welcoming smile, or do they look like they are trudging through their days?  If you work at this company, these are the people with whom you will be spending the bulk of your days.  If it’s a depressing atmosphere, than it probably isn’t the right fit for you.


In Conclusion…


It may be tempting to jump at a job offer if you like the responsibilities, but it is important to consider the whole picture, especially if you are looking for a career.  Keep in mind, accepting the wrong position will likely prevent you from finding the right one.  So if you notice one or more of these signs, it may be better to keep looking rather than put yourself in the wrong situation.


Have you seen other signs during an interview that made you decide against the opportunity?  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.


If you’re ready to find an exciting new position in the Cleveland area, let the experienced team at Area Professionals help fast track your job search. Contact our expert recruiters today.

Posted in Job Seeker Resources  | Leave a replyNo Comment Yet

10 Interview Thank You Note Tips That May Land You the Job

November 09, 2015

You did it! You nailed your latest job interview and you are confident that the recruiter will be extending a job offer. You leave the company on an emotional high with a smile on your face. You think to yourself, “I have this job in the bag.” It is a great feeling to know that you may have found the perfect position. But, regardless of how great of a match you are for the opportunity, you can still lose to the competition if you don’t send a thank you note to your interviewer.


According to a Career Builder survey and infographic, 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they do not send a thank you note. Furthermore, 86% of recruiters believe that not sending a thank you note shows a lack of good follow-through skills. So, sending a well-composed thank you note may be what you need to convince the interviewer you are the perfect hire. Here are 10 tips for writing a great thank you note. 


Tip #1:  Mail or Email? Send Both

To make sure you cover all bases, send both an emailed and a handwritten thank you note, especially if you don’t know your interviewer’s preference. If you send both, the recruiter will receive your emailed note shortly after the interview, and you will have the personal touch of a handwritten note that will arrive a few days later, keeping you top-of-mind. 


Tip #2: Send the Right Kind of Card

Make sure your handwritten note is composed on a fold-over, professional note card. Do not use cards with informal art designs on the cover, such as animals or flowers, or one-piece, heavy stock cards that are traditionally used for short notes and invitations. 


Tip #3:  Make it Personal

The worse kind of thank you note is one that is canned where the reader knows you send the same note to everyone. To make it more meaningful, mention a topic that was discussed in the interview.  For instance, you may write, “It was great speaking to you today. I really enjoyed hearing about…”


Tip #4: Show Your Value

Provide additional value to the note by giving more detail as to why you should be hired, citing specific examples of how your past performance will make you a great fit for the company.


Tip #5: Send a Note to Everyone Who Interviewed You

If you had more than one interviewer, send a note to each individual. However, don’t send the same note to every person. For instance, if you were interviewed by the department manager and the HR manager, you can focus the note to the department manager on why you would be a great fit for his/her team. In contrast, the note to the HR manager may center on why you would be the right match for the company.


Tip #6: Include Relevant Content

When sending a thank you note via email, you can provide links to articles, videos or your own published content that complement the topics discussed in the interview. Doing so will show that you are someone who is taking the initiative and will impress the manager, especially since few candidates will take this step.


Tip #7: Fix any Interview Mistakes

Re-evaluate the interview while it is fresh in your mind. Ask yourself, “Is there any question where I could have given a better answer?” If so, the thank you note is a great place to clarify or re-work any of your subpar answers.


Tip #8: Did You Leave Anything Out?

If you missed mentioning a relevant point about your background that is pertinent to the position, you can discuss it in the thank you letter. Tie the point into tip #4, “Show Your Value,” as an additional reminder that you are the best candidate. 


Tip #9: Send One Even if You Didn’t Get the Job

If the recruiter informs you that you are not being considered for the next step, still send a note. The follow-up note is a great way to ask if there are any other available positions that may match your experience. If you continue to sell your strengths, you will keep the door open to other possibilities.


Tip #10: Be Timely

A quick turnaround time will show the interviewer that you are not a procrastinator. Typically, emailed thank you notes should be sent within a few hours of the interview and mailed notes should be sent within a day.


In Conclusion…

Neglecting to send a post-interview thank you note is akin to serving a cake without the frosting. No matter how good the cake tastes, it just isn’t as appealing without the icing on top. To differentiate you from other candidates, make sending a well-composed thank you note a standard part of the interview process.  


Feel free to share any of your own thank you note tips in the comments section.


If you’re ready to find an exciting new position in the Cleveland area, let the experienced team at Area Professionals help fast track your job search. Contact our expert recruiters today.

Posted in Job Seeker Resources  | Leave a replyNo Comment Yet
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