One Reason Manufacturing Jobs Stay Unfilled

Nov 07, 2018

In the US today, the universal complaint about recruitment for manufacturing jobs is that there aren’t enough qualified candidates for all the positions that people are working feverishly to fill. So why are recruiters hobbling their own efforts by purposely limiting the candidate pools they’ll even consider?

“Not Invented Here Syndrome” has historically been about technology and innovation, and referred to people’s unwillingness to look outside their own company or outside their own industry for new ideas.

And now the syndrome has infected recruiting, at perhaps the worst possible time. Increasingly, manufacturers will consider only those candidates with direct experience in their own particular line of production. At a time when “diversity” is the most over-used word on the HR front, recruiters are looking at anything but diversity when it comes to their candidates’ prior manufacturing experience.

Corporate recruiter Ed Ouellette is blunt about this. He confirms that most companies simply won’t look at candidates outside their own areas of manufacturing. “It’s very difficult to make a career transition, especially at higher levels,” he says. “Unless you’ve got a particular desired skill set, like managing a turn-around situation, for example, it’s probably not going to happen.”

This is occurring at a time when most candidates, by the time a company is ready to make an offer, already have at least one other offer in hand. “This is like no other time in my experience,” says Ouellette. “The pendulum has swung so far to the candidates’ advantage.”

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