Since early Fall 2010, my team and I have been experiencing a hiring uptick in material handling and logistics disciplines, especially for business development professionals and controls/PLC engineers and programmers. As companies begin to add staff again, I advise them to look for top talent who can satisfy today’s needs as well as tomorrow’s vision.
For example, I encountered a large well-known material handling systems integrator that didn’t follow a long-term hiring approach. In fact, they rushed to hire a particular senior-level sales person because of his impressive number of contacts and years in the industry. Their thought process was that this new hire would generate immediate sales and quickly impact the bottom line. After about six months, the material handling integrator was calling to request a search to replace this sales person.
The company realized it needed a candidate who understood their industry products as well as the nuances and intricacies of their particular organization. Equally important, the candidate had to be an aggressive hunter out to capture new business as opposed to simply farming existing accounts. Their change in perspective yielded positive results.
How do you recruit and hire for a job as it will likely exist in 12 months and beyond? Here are some tips:
1. Consider cultural compatibility. A fast-growth company requires employees who are resilient, agile and able to keep up with the pace. Someone who resists change will probably not thrive in growth phases.
2. Identify candidates who fit the future. You need to attract individuals who not only fill your immediate need, but also have the ability to step into higher roles as your company evolves. Explain to the candidate from the start what the job is today and what it will look like in the future.
3. Look for risk takers and mavericks. A growing business needs workers who may not have all the answers but are willing to join in the search for better ideas and new methodologies. Once aboard, empower these workers, stand back and turn them loose. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
4. Gauge the candidate’s passion. Ask your candidate about what they’ve done in their specialty and career that they are really proud of and have them explain in detail. Listen to their answer but watch for the passion. You should be able to see it. A passionate person will most likely be passionate about the job at hand and excited about future growth possibilities.
5. Spend money to make money. This principle applies to building a solid, future-oriented team. Invest in people who are both smarter than you and who have a track record of excelling in companies that resemble what you expect your company to look like over the next 12 months and beyond.
6. Seal the deal. Once you find the top performer you’ve been looking for, make your move. Delays in your hiring process waste time and virtually assure you’ll lose talented candidates. Therefore, eliminate any unnecessary interviewing steps, shorten the selection process and make an offer. Close the deal while interest is high.
Dan Charney is managing partner with Direct Recruiters Inc.