Best Practices for Recruiting Technical Talent

At the 2015 Smart Manufacturing Summit in Indianapolis, attendees participated in an exchange of ideas and best practices on how to recruit the best technical talent. Their ideas and experiences are shared here.
1. Finding Experienced Technical Employees

It’s a challenge to find talent trained to use automation/controls/robotics. Suggestion: recruit candidates with technical/mechanical aptitude and train them (either in-house or through external programs).

Quite often, experienced employees are loyal to their companies because they stuck with them during the recession. These loyalists would be less inclined to look for a different job.

Consider targeting early retirement engineers (e.g., 55+ years of age). They often do not want to stop working. They have a lot of experience and may be willing to mentor younger employees.

2. Hiring Millennials

Millennial hires are aggressive in managing their careers, and perhaps, unrealistically impatient about how quickly they can advance. They want it now! Challenge this generation with new responsibilities, change and new projects to keep them engaged.

Millennials want friends. To meet that need, one suggestion was to set up an extensive mentoring program. One company assigns an existing employee to each new hire. The new and veteran employee connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These new hires are provided with close support during their first few months at the company. For the first 18 months, for example, new hires and their mentors can go out together at the expense of the company. Someone in HR organizes these activities. This company invests heavily in building the social/psychological contract with each new employee to build loyalty and friendships.

“Millennials want friends. Set up an extensive mentoring program.”

Convince future prospective workers that a career in manufacturing is interesting, well-paying work. Dispel the image of the dark and dingy factory environment. Use your facility as a showplace in your local community to build awareness of your company, your culture and your career offering.

If they feel, after joining your company, that the work environment and career path have been misrepresented in any way, they are much more likely to leave. Be very clear when you hire millennials about your culture, your work environment, the career path and the expected timing for career advancement.

Use the lure of such things as 3D/additive manufacturing and other high-tech manufacturing tools to improve interest in engineering and technical training.

Provide recognition and perks; pay attention to quality of life to improve retention.

3. Working With Local Schools and Universities to Train and Prepare Students for the Workforce

Provide in-school information sessions, internships, sponsor robotics teams, etc.

Note: Internships are a long-term investment. Not likely to yield results (i.e., college grad hires) in the first few years. Be sure to make your internship experiences enriching and positive if you want the candidates to come back upon graduation.

Create your employment/career path package (job titles, skills, tuition reimbursement, etc.) and communicate this program to high school students.

Work with schools to encourage them to incorporate specific skills and training into their curriculum. Several high schools have initiated technical education pathways into their curriculum. Offer to enhance these programs with specific, real-world training on equipment, software and information systems.

Expect that you must first give back to your schools; invest in those institutions before you can expect them to “let you in” and influence their training programs and have access to their students.

This 2015 Smart Manufacturing Summit Solutions Exchange was sponsored by Lincoln Educational Services Corporation and Lincoln College of Technology. To find out more about Lincoln, contact:

Susan English, Vice President of Career Services
Lincoln Educational Services Corporation
200 Executive Drive, Suite 340
West Orange, NJ  07052
973-736-9340  |  908-405-1615 (cell)  |  [email protected]

Facilitator: Steve Rutan, President, Rutan Management Consulting, LLC, 585-671-4670 (office), 585-402-1300 (mobile)


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events