By Bridget McCrea
From her vantage point as NAED’s talent recruitment and retention specialist, Allison Olden gets a bird’s eye view of how the typical electrical distributor handles the all-important recruiting task. And while a few companies seem to “get it” when it comes to finding, recruiting, and retaining good personnel, many more distributors are missing the boat completely. “We definitely have noticed a couple of key issues that companies tend to run into and/or create when recruiting,” says Olden.
Now is not the time to let your recruitment strategies languish. In its 2015 Global Recruiting Trends report, LinkedIn surveyed talent acquisition leaders and found that for the first time since 2011, 63 percent of respondents expect hiring volumes to rise, and 46 percent anticipate an increase in hiring budgets.
While sourcing and improving quality-of-hire were found to be the highest priorities overall, small companies (500 or fewer employees), are more likely than larger firms to prioritize recruiting skilled talent (49 percent to 43 percent), according to LinkedIn, and improving quality-of-hire (37 percent to 31 percent). About 45 percent of respondents reported that the biggest obstacles to landing talent in 2015 will be competition and compensation; 56 percent of respondents in Canada and 53 percent in the U.S. cited competition as the biggest obstacle to attracting the best talent.
If they’re not already dealing with the realities of the “new” job market, electrical distributors will be seeing the effects of it very soon. “Right now, and in the coming years, NAED members are going to have a lot of open positions to fill,” says Olden. “It could be due to the retirement of veteran employees or maybe it’s because the company is opening more branches, but it’s going to happen in addition to the normal turnover that companies deal with.”
With the labor pool tightening up, the economy improving, and companies getting back into growth and expansion mode, there’s literally no room for error during the recruiting process. Here are five critical mistakes that your firm can’t afford to be making right now:
- Putting way too much emphasis on money. In the recruitment game, money isn’t everything. According to Forbes’ 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Recruiting, too many companies believe that offering a higher salary than the competition is enough to attract and retain talented professionals. Yet many studies suggest that tapping into deeper motivational needs trumps purely economic considerations. “That said, it is important to remember that salaries are one indicator of how much a company values it employees´ contributions,” according to Forbes. “How much a company is prepared to pay a person will have a profound ripple effect on the organizational culture, regardless of what the mission statement says. Salaries become a shorthand way of making comparisons between employees, and the variable element [of the salaries] not only rewards but reinforces certain behavior.”
- Not being willing to train on electrical knowledge. The electrical distribution environment is unique in that it requires a level of knowledge and expertise that doesn’t necessarily come “naturally” for job candidates who are new to the industry. “In some cases, veteran/old-school managers don’t want to take the time to train or initiate someone who lacks electrical knowledge,” says Olden. “This can be a major oversight.” A better approach is to involve managers, sales reps, human resources departments, and other interested parties in the recruitment process, knowing that some of the best candidates may need finessing and training on the electrical-specific points. “Be willing to take the time out to train them,” says Olden. The benefits can be twofold: not only are you training a new, good employee, but you’re also making your company a more attractive employment option by putting some skin in the game.
- Turning down overqualified candidates. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it happens. According to The top 10 recruiting mistakes employers must avoidfrom PayScale, rejecting the so-called overqualified candidate out of fear the employee won’t stick around for the long haul, will become bored, will become too expensive, and so on can be a short-sighted error. “Companies may find it easy to vote no on an otherwise great candidate because they don’t want to over hire, but what isn’t being taken into account is that a better skilled candidate could lead to more business and growth for the organization sooner rather than later.”
- Relying on age-old recruitment methods. When was the last time your company participated in a career fair at a local college? Posted its job openings on social media sites? Worked with a local university to cultivate new job candidates? Used online hiring software like Jazz? There are many different and creative ways that you can find new talent, but those opportunities aren’t going to come knocking on your distributorship’s door. You have to get out there and test them out for yourself. “Distributors could definitely be doing a better job when it comes to options like career fairs and college programs,” says Olden, who points to large distributors like Graybar as good examples of companies that have mastered this recruiting tactic. Graybar’s internship program, for example, provides college juniors with work experience, professional networking opportunities, and exposure to many aspects of supply chain management and wholesale distribution.
- Ignoring the need for a diverse employee base. When you rely solely on current employees to refer you to new job candidates, you wind up with a largely homogenous pool of workers that don’t adequately represent today’s diverse workforce. “Often, distributors wind up hiring the same people over and over again, never factoring in variety of age, experience, ethnicity, and other options into the equation,” says Olden, who urges NAED members to think outside of the box during their next round of hiring. “This is definitely something that needs to change, particularly with younger generations entering the workforce and expecting to work with more diverse groups of people.”
McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.
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