Recruiting for niche jobs in a candidate’s market

Many manufacturers struggle with finding and recruiting the credentialed labor they need in the right volumes and locations. They compete with manufacturers and companies in other industries searching for candidates in limited talent pools.

This is an ongoing challenge for a U.S.-based manufacturer I work with. It hires about 2,400 employees globally each year, and approximately two-thirds of them are engineers, machinists and mechanics.

The manufacturer designs and creates customized, industrial-sized products for clients across many industries. Some of the one-of-a-kind products can take up to a year to manufacture.

Recruiting credentialed candidates cross-industry is tough for this manufacturer. While employees who work for companies that make similar products have heard of this organization—in fact, it’s an industry leader—other engineers, machinists and mechanics likely have not heard of it because it doesn’t mass produce anything. This problem is even more pronounced in locations outside of the U.S.

Compounding this challenge is the fact that, given the complex nature of the customized products, this organization needs experienced candidates. At most, only 10% of entry-level candidates are hired each year.

Learn more about the ways IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization can help your company recruit niche candidates and solve other recruiting challenges in the manufacturing industry.

“It’s important to the world”

IBM Recruitment Process Outsourcing partners with this client to hire most of the new employees it needs. We use a variety of methods to compete for the niche candidates they require.

First, we use the company’s stable reputation and its industry-leading brand, particularly in the U.S., to recruit candidates who work within this branch of manufacturing.

Second, we promote the quality of the products this client makes. It manufactures three lines of products for companies in a variety of industries around the world. IBM recruiters appeal to the greater purpose of how the products are used, something current employees cite as a major reason they like working for the company. They truly believe that what they do is important to the world.

For example, its products are key components in the global oil and gas, hydrocarbon and chemical processing, power generation and water resources industries, as well as the general process and industrial marketplace. The products play a leading role in clean energy, greenhouse gas reduction and potable water supply efforts. Additionally, the manufacturer customized products that were used as part of the infrastructure of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Seoul.

Third, we appeal to the mind-set of engineers, who are wired to tackle new, challenging projects, instead of redundant work in mass production lines where minimal innovation is required. All of the client’s products are custom-made and used for unique purposes, and that captures the attention and imagination of candidates.

To find the experienced engineers, machinists and mechanics this client needs, the recruiting team in the U.S. engages in grassroots marketing, headhunting, networking and referrals, and one-on-one conversations, driving candidates to the company’s career site to learn more about employment opportunities and the employer.

Recruitment marketing works well in other countries, where the manufacturer’s brand isn’t as well known. In global markets, one of our most effective recruiting tactics is social media campaigns for specific job roles.

The advantage of experience

The one-of-a-kind products this client manufactures are simultaneously a great asset and hurdle in recruiting. Like the seasoned professionals it seeks to hire, the advantage IBM offers this client is our experience recruiting in manufacturing. We know firsthand the unique challenges manufacturers face when looking for niche talent.