A good manufacturing headhunter and HR directors across the country know all too well that it’s an employee market. So why does it take so long to hear back from a company after you’ve been submitted as a candidate by a manufacturing recruiting firm? The answer: it’s complicated.

The U.S. added 148,000 jobs in December, 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Gains occurred in several sectors including manufacturing employment, which rose by 25,000. Overall, manufacturing added 196,000 jobs in 2017.

This is great job news for job seekers, but employers are still having a tough time finding workers in the tight labor market.

Working with a Manufacturing Headhunter

I’ve worked with many companies who tell me they need to hire someone ASAP. The search begins, I reach out to talk with candidates and submit resumes to the hiring manager for feedback. The next steps include prepping the job seeker for a phone or on-site interview. Afterwards, you feel you nailed the Q&A. We both know that you’re a good fit so what’s taking so long?

Most likely, the hiring manager needs you right away, but priorities change. Here’s a list of my top eight reasons why the interview process comes to a screeching halt:

  1. The hiring manager can’t find the time to set up a second round of interviews because he/she is putting fires out on the plant floor.
  2. The plant will be closed for the next two weeks because of a holiday break.
  3. The hiring manager has some people he/she wants you to meet, but they’re out of the office on vacation or business.
  4. There’s an internal candidate also under consideration and the hiring manager is weighing the pros and cons of bringing you in.
  5. A hiring decision has been put on hold until the next quarter for budgetary reasons.
  6. The company lost a client who created the need for this position in the first place.
  7. Several people you met during the interview process were very impressed with you and several people thought you didn’t have the right skills so the hiring manager has decided to interview a couple more candidates.
  8. The hiring manager doesn’t realize that time is NOT on his/her side. The best candidates don’t stay in the job market long.

The above scenarios don’t occur with every candidate, but it happens. We all agree: candidates, HR directors and manufacturing headhunter/recruiters hate the waiting game. The best way to ensure that you’re moving to the next round is to create a knock-it-out-of-the-park first impression. Remember, it’s what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Relate Your Experiences to the Job Description

During a phone or on-site interview, share several success stories about how your past experiences relate to responsibilities outlined in the job description. Describe your strengths and be prepared to answer some follow-up questions. The candidate who gets the hiring manager’s attention is the one who stands out from the crowd.

I’ve had several hiring managers tell me that they could not get through all the interview questions because candidates talked excessively. Did they move to the next round? No!  Remember to have a two-way conversation during the interview and don’t monopolize the time.

Come in with enthusiasm, a smile and a confident attitude. Check your ego at the door. No one is impressed with a candidate who shows up and tells the hiring manager that the current production process is all wrong. You should be familiar with what the company does and be able to talk about some of their products and accomplishments. (Google the company and review the website.) You can then relate something you have accomplished in the past. Responsibilities you think are just “daily” or “routine things” you’ve done in the past may be exactly what the company is looking for right now.

Share Accomplishments During the Job Interview

The following scenario is an example of using a success story to your best advantage.


A company was making electronic connectors and workers were assembling them to wires where they were placed 4” apart. This was done by hand. An employee had to take a ruler and mark every 4” to make sure they were in the right location. The connectors also could be put on backward if the employee wasn’t careful.


The floor leader made a fixture that spaced the connectors 4” apart and would only accept the connector in the correct orientation. That seemed simple to the floor leader, but other employees never came up with a solution like that. Not only did this eliminate bad parts, it saved the company time and money.

An example like this is an accomplishment that you can discuss during an interview. The success story shows the hiring manager how you were creative, focused and ready to make a difference. Think back to some of your achievements. How did you make an impact or implement a change? Remember to share a few details during your interview. Accomplishments can set you apart from your competition and show the hiring manager that you’re a top candidate for the job.

If you’re ready to make the next move in your manufacturing career, a reputable manufacturing headhunter is the perfect place to start. We’ve got several automotive and metal fabrication clients looking for maintenance techniciansAPQP engineers and cold header operators. Give us a call at 317-903-0186.