In September 2018, the national unemployment rate dropped to 3.7%. That’s the lowest jobless rate since December 1969 - nearly 50 years ago! For the equipment industry, this translates to a hyper-competitive market filled with passive candidates who aren’t actively seeking new career opportunities. To attract top talent in today’s market, it’s critical for equipment companies to put their best foot forward. Here are a few strategies that I’ve seen work for companies that want to stand out in the industry and recruit (and retain) star candidates.
Know the Market
In today’s market, the reality is that there simply aren’t as many candidates who are open to a move as there were a decade ago. When you come across someone who seems like a good fit, be ready to bring them in for an interview even if it’s only the first or second resume that’s crossed your desk. If you waste time waiting to see what else is out there, you could miss out on high-potential candidates who are ready to make a move now.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
After you bring a candidate in for an interview, the clock is ticking. Do everything in your power to streamline your interview process, but sometimes it’s inevitable for this stage to take several steps. In the meantime, make sure that you’re keeping the communication channel open. Speak with your candidate by phone or via email at least once a week to keep their interest fresh, and let them know what to expect in terms of a timeline. For candidates, no news is not good news, so keep them in the loop from the first phone call through the final offer.
Make Your Best Offer
When you find a candidate you want to bring on board, it’s important that you bring your strongest offer to the table. In a candidate-driven market, it’s simply not a viable strategy to offer less than your best; most quality candidates are not willing to consider a lateral move. Chances are good that your candidate will receive a counter offer from their current employer, and that competitors will be reaching out to them soon if they haven’t already. You want your candidate to feel valued and excited to come work for you, and that starts with a strong offer.
Implement Retention Strategies
The work doesn’t end when a new employee comes on board. Once your competitors know someone is open to a move, that employee will be fielding multiple phone calls from other employers and recruiters. Make sure you have retention strategies in place to keep your employees happy and feeling valued so they aren’t tempted to consider other offers. Competitive pay and benefits, exciting projects, and a supportive work environment are all critical components of keeping employees motivated to stay in their roles.
Plan for the Future
Given the high rate of industry executives who are retiring every day, many equipment companies are struggling with succession planning. The best way to prevent gaps at the executive level is to plan ahead and build up your bench strength today. Hire and train candidates who are not yet ready for the C-suite but have the potential to be within the next few years. Have your current executives mentor promising lower-level employees to prepare them to step into a leadership role when the time is right.
The equipment industry is full of exciting, challenging opportunities for ambitious professionals. But in a candidate-driven market, it’s important to make sure your company is effectively attracting, recruiting, and retaining strong employees. I’ve seen these five strategies help equipment companies successfully fill senior management positions and provide their teams with an infusion of fresh talent at the entry level as well. How is your company working to put your best foot forward?