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Recruiting Blue-Collar Workers When Unemployment Is Low

With unemployment hitting a 17-year-low of 4.1%, much of the country is celebrating what appears to be a healthy economy. However, there’s one role that’s having a hard time keeping up in such a strong economy: recruiters, specifically blue-collar recruiters.

According to USA Today, more than 2.5 million blue-collar jobs will be created in the next few years, a number that accounts for a staggering 40% of all job growth. That means the difficult job of finding qualified candidates will only get harder for recruiters. Because of this, some rules of recruiting are changing, and we’re here to help you find creative ways to get great candidates in the door.

Network, Network, Network

It’s a common practice to tell candidates to network, but when you need candidates more than candidates need you, it’s time to flip that advice. If you hire linemen or welders, make a contact at a training program in your area. That gives you an easy way to funnel qualified recent graduates into your system.

One HR professional, who preferred to stay anonymous, told us how they were able to have recruiting success in a tough market: they would go to box stores and look for employees who are really hustling. They reported that these types of employees are almost always great performers and looking for opportunity. They even had managers carry cards to give to employees at other companies that impressed them, which helped bring in eager, driven candidates.

Qualify the Unqualified

When unemployment reaches low numbers, qualified applicants are more than likely clocking in at a different company. One way to fill your floor with great employees is by building great employee development programs. Many companies are developing training programs designed to funnel motivated people onto their work floors, and finding incredible success with these programs.

Bodine Aluminum, a subsidiary of Toyota, formed a partnership with a local tech school where prospective employees could learn not only the hard skills needed to succeed, like welding, but also business and professional skills that helped develop leaders out of entry-level candidates. The internationally award-winning program has been recognized as a top technical career pathway program, funneling great talent to the Bodine plant floor!

Act Fast

If you haven’t already, it’s time to tighten up your hiring process. That’s because when unemployment is low, chances are that your candidates are interviewing at multiple companies. According to an MRINetwork study, it takes on average three interviews and six weeks just to send an offer!

Being faster than other companies gives you the chance to offer a better interview experience, and tightening up your hiring process allows recruiters several advantages over rival employers!

Retain Your Top Talent

The last thing you want is another recruiter reading these tips and poaching your qualified employees. It’s important to build a great work culture and keep your pay and benefits competitive as well. If you’re looking for more ways to boost employee engagement, consider some of the tips found here.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick summary of how to recruit blue-collar workers when unemployment is low. With great training, creative recruiting, and competitive benefits, you can keep your plant and workforce filled with great talent.

Want to fight employee turnover in your organization? Check out our free infographic to save talented employees and your bottom line!

Content Marketing Specialist