There is no doubt that recruiting has been impacted by the pandemic. Virtual hiring is here to stay, and for good reason. Virtual recruiting efforts are more cost effective and extend an employer’s reach, whereas in-person recruiting events and career fairs require supplies, travel costs and time spent by employees. They can also be a challenge for prospective candidates to attend, whether due to lack of transportation, childcare needs or time spent traveling. It’s important to recognize the investment involved for all parties and ensure you are set up to take complete advantage when such events do come together — while they are challenging, the opportunity for meeting candidates face to face is valuable if you are well equipped and prepared.
The best skilled worker recruiting strategy is to show that your local is a place where people should want to work.
Online tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter and Facebook Jobs can be effective in recruiting sheet metal apprentices, especially as we target a younger generation. LinkedIn Recruiter is a hiring platform that helps you find, connect with and manage potential recruits. Sixty percent of the workforce is not looking for a new job but is willing to discuss a new opportunity, and LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to search for such passive candidates. It also provides advanced search filters and recommended matches to prioritize candidates based on who is most open to hearing from you.
With nearly 3 billion users, more than any other social media platform, Facebook can reach a wide pool of candidates. Posting a job to a local’s business page only takes a few minutes, and applicants can apply with a few clicks. Facebook also has groups and pages related to sheet metal work, such as Metal Fabrication Tips and Union Sheet Metal Workers. To reach a more relevant audience, a job posting can be shared in these groups (just be sure to read the group’s rules!).
Many locals already have their own Facebook business page. Jobs can be posted here, and that post can be shared by employees and seen by their network of family and friends. This method can be very effective; candidates will be more likely to click on a job listing posted by someone they know and trust compared to an ad that happens to appear in their feed.
Task force findings
The Partners in Progress Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force has developed a number of resources designed to support local areas in their recruiting efforts. A few points were discussed at the recent task force meeting:
1. The average age of a first-year sheet metal apprentice is 26. That age seems to be a sweet spot, where individuals are mature enough to understand the value of a career in sheet metal; they have some work experience; and they are starting a family and/or seeking stability, good wages and the benefits that are offered in a sheet metal career.
2. Parents are more involved in career selection. Because kids are waiting longer to get married and start a family, parents are more influential in their kids’ career choices. As groups are looking at online options for attracting apprentices, taking parents’ involvement into targeting consideration can be helpful.
3. Local areas are using the task force resources in a number of ways, as well as creating their own.
Print and physical recruiting materials available
As 26 is the average age of first-year sheet metal apprentices, many potential workers are more likely to currently hold lower-paying jobs. As a recruiting tactic, a couple of local areas have created “Consider a Career” business cards to show those individuals the benefits of a career in sheet metal. The task force will be making similar cards that can be given to people you meet who you feel may be good candidates for a sheet metal apprenticeship; you can hand them out when you have a great service experience at a car wash or cash register, for example.
Infographics and other materials are available to order at pinp-materials.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org; we will happily send you the posters, banners and/or handouts you need! All materials can be customized for your local area, can be used in digital or print form, and they are offered in Spanish and English. There is even a handout that can work as an online ad or a banner ad for your site that is designed to help parents understand why sheet metal is a great career choice.
Kathy Kerber, a member of the task force, has seen in-person job fairs return in recent months, and her local has been creating engaging handouts for their booth at trade shows. Working with Local 24 (Southern Ohio), Kathy has found success generating excitement and interest in the trade by giving away laser-cut metal projects instead of traditional printed materials. Contact information is included on the giveaway. Additionally, the JATC hands them out at job fairs, replacing the toolkits they distributed in the past. The result: They have lines of career seekers at their booth, and interest in the trade is high.
Spreading the word
A large percentage of sheet metal workers heard about the trade through friends and family. For that reason, the Partners in Progress Best Practices Task Force has created a social media campaign to encourage sheet metal workers to post about their jobs. When union sheet metal workers post about their job with the hashtags #MJMG (“My Job is My Gym”) or #tinisin, they are recognized by the task force, and members with notable posts are awarded $100 gift cards.
The best skilled worker recruiting strategy is to show that your local is a place where people should want to work. Build your digital brand via social media, share videos of your employees and members, and give real-life examples of the work culture. Utilize the resources provided by the Best Practices Task Force and invest in an updated, mobile-friendly website that includes a career tab for trade workers to apply through your site. For assistance navigating the resources available, feel free to reach out to email@example.com, or go to pinp-materials.org to order!
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