Mike is an employer at a manufacturing facility who is not currently working with a recruiter. He’s been trying to fill the quality engineer position for his small manufacturing company for the past six months, with no success. He hired one person, who left after 2 weeks to go to work for a competitor.

“That’s the company I really wanted to work for; I was just waiting for an offer from them,” his former employee said in his exit interview.

Mike is now spending hours every night sifting through hundreds of applications that come in through an online site. During working hours, he’s covering the quality engineer duties himself.

When he has time to think, which isn’t all that often, he thinks about working with a recruiter, but he’s not sure how to go about it. He really doesn’t know how to work with a recruiter, and he’s not sure how to find out.

Working with Recruiters

Are you like Mike? Finding the perfect hire for your facility can be stressful and time-consuming, and lots of manufacturing employers experience the same struggles as Mike.

Fortunately, working with a recruiter doesn’t have to be a mystery, and it can relieve you of a LOT of headaches. The keys to working with a recruiter are:

  1. Working with a recruiter who’s a good fit for your needs
  2. Understanding how to make the most out of the relationship with your recruiter.

Working with a Recruiter That Fits Your Needs

Recruiters are not all alike. Most specialize in certain industries. I’m a manufacturing recruiter, and I specialize in helping small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies find employees from technicians working on the factory floor to engineers in the front office.

Before working with a recruiter, make sure you find one that specializes in finding candidates in your field. Find out if the recruiter has experience doing what you do. A recruiter who is already familiar with your type of workplace – who understands the language, jargon, working conditions, and expectations of your field – can recognize quickly if a candidate has the skills and temperament to fit in with your company.

I have more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing, having been a quality engineer, process engineer, manufacturing manager, and operations manager in several types of plants.

Ask what the recruiter’s fee arrangement is. Do they require a long-term retainer? I do not work on retainers; I will bill you ONLY when we make a placement together.

Making the Most Out of Your Relationship with Your Recruiter

Once you’ve chosen a recruiter, you can start working together to maximize the effectiveness of your business relationship.

Be prepared to spend time with your recruiter in person or on the phone so that the recruiter can get to know you and your business. It will be time well spent, as it will help the recruiter find candidates who not only have the job skills you need but also have the intangible qualities that a job description doesn’t cover.

This process is also a good opportunity for you and your leadership team to look at your company from a fresh perspective and determine what qualities your company truly values in its employees.

As a manufacturing recruiter, I always ask my clients about their corporate culture so that I can better evaluate potential candidates for them. Is teamwork important in their workplace? Do they value individual initiative? How would they describe their company’s work/life balance? Knowing the answers to these questions will come in handy when working with recruiters.

As your recruiter gets to know you, you’ll learn new things about your company. When I’m talking with clients, we discuss turnover rates and ways to find employees with staying power. We talk about why some employees have worked out well and why others have never seemed to “fit in.”

Taking the time to consider what works and what doesn’t helps slow down the “revolving door” that some employers experience. Working with recruiters will help with this process.

4 Tips to Make Working with Recruiters More Effective

1. Know What You’re Looking For

The right job description is crucial to finding top candidates. To write a good job description, imagine you’ve already hired just the right person in the position you’re trying to fill. What education do they have? What specific skills have they brought to the job? How many years of experience have they had in similar roles? What were their previous jobs? What is their attitude like?

Once you’ve visualized this “perfect candidate,” write down those qualifications. Read over them and consider which ones a candidate truly must have to be successful in the position, and mark those as required. List the others as desirable.

When working with recruiters, it’s a good idea to think about previous employees in this role and consider what made them effective or not. Include those characteristics in the job description, e.g., “Top candidates will be comfortable working in teams” or “Top candidates will show initiative and be able to work with minimal supervision.”

Have others in your organization review the job description as well, especially those who will work with the person being hired. They will have valuable insights into what is needed for the new hire to be effective.

Add the location of the position, salary range, and benefits offered. Think about the “soft skills” you value and communicate those to your recruiter. Make sure your recruiter knows where you have flexibility in the description, and where you need to hold firm. Also, make sure you and your recruiter are clear on what details can be shared with applicants and which ones are confidential.

2. Be Ready To Act Quickly

As anyone involved in hiring these days can tell you, unemployment is low, and the job market is tight.

Excellent candidates do not stay available for long. I tell my clients that they need to make a decision whether to interview a candidate or not within 2 days of receiving the referral.

The demand for high-quality employees is just that tight, and moving quickly will help the employer and recruiter zero in on the right candidate to complete the hiring process.

3. Be Reachable

You will want to keep in touch with your recruiter throughout the entire hiring process.

When working with recruiters, the easiest way to stay connected is via phone or email, so return calls quickly and keep an eye on your inbox.

As a manufacturing recruiter, I find that phone calls or emails are always the best way for my clients and me to communicate. When you find the right candidate, it’s imperative to act fast before your competition does. Timing is everything when a top candidate becomes available.

4. Provide Feedback

Working with a recruiter is a two-way street.

If your recruiter sends you a candidate that isn’t a good fit, let the recruiter know that, and WHY.

One of my best clients sends me a paragraph about each candidate I send to her, whether she hires them or not. She sends me a bullet list of the pros and cons of each one, and I can fine tune my selection process so that I only send her candidates that best fit her needs. She has been my client for years. This arrangement has led to many very successful placements, and a similar process will help you with your hires as well.

Working with recruiters can save you time, money and frustration. Contact me for help finding the Top Candidate for your open position.