Earlier this month, North America celebrated National Manufacturing Day, while many other regions opted to codify the day into the entire month of October to highlight this important career. With an emphasis on an industry that has become the backbone of society, Refresh Leadership sat down with a seasoned professional recruiter who specializes in manufacturing positions. Roger Purdy of Express Employment Professionals in Tyler, TX, has been in the industry for more than a decade and knows what to look for and how to find top talent. In our third installment of “Ask a Recruiter,” we spoke with Roger about industry insights and what it takes to be successful in his field.
What is your secret to successfully recruiting manufacturing workers?
Building relationships with associates, whether they are looking or not, and explaining to them that not all jobs are a fit. If the job offer presented is not a fit, let’s talk about it and find a better match versus ghosting. Working with good companies that do not burn out our associates. I also recruit everywhere I go.
What skills do you look for in the perfect candidate?
According to The New York Times, 80% of a perfect candidate is cultural match with the company. Our clients know the candidates may not have all the skills but trust our judgment with the cultural match. Find the fit and train the skill in some cases. Having grit and soft skills makes them stronger candidates.
What trends are you seeing in this job field?
People are being picked off for more money, PTO, and work-life balance more today than ever. People want more flexibility and a true path to growth.
What types of jobs do you recruit for?
Skilled Trades positions, welders, maintenance tech, CDL drivers, plant managers, production supervisors—anything that falls under the Skilled Trades banner.
What are the hottest jobs right now?
Property maintenance techs; carpenters; painters; and travel combo welders.
What is causing the Great Resignation among manufacturers and what are organizations doing to find top talent?
The Great Resignation is driven by companies increasing pay and looking at more soft skills and headhunting. They are developing training programs and offering a path to grow starting at entry-level positions. Local schools have built career centers focusing on skilled trades in high school.
What type of new fields are hot spots for talent?
The market is driven by the employees, and right now, everything seems to be a hot spot.
With all industries experiencing talent shortages, are you looking past any requirements (like years of experience) to place someone in open positions?
Yes, find the fit and train the skill—aptitude matters.
During such a successful career, I know you have many stories of helping great people find great jobs. Would you share one success story with us?
I placed a CNC Operator at a local plant who had moved here from Houston. Two years later, they divested in the machine side of the business. He called me, and I put him at a shop as a machine shop Foreman, which ended up being a better fit. That was a good feeling to know that he reached back out to me when he needed a job versus looking on his own.
About Roger Purdy: Roger worked as a Human Resources Manager for more than 15 years. During that time, he supervised staff and recruited for blue, white, and grey-collar jobs. He served five years in the Marine Corps and moved to Tyler, TX, to be closer to his family. He enjoys spending time with his family and dog, as well as attending live concerts. He loves to help people, and that love is why he joined the Express team. His passion to help clients and associates achieve their full potential fuels his desire to succeed. Semper Fidelis.
Ask a Recruiter
We appreciate Roger speaking with us and discussing trends and stories of recruiting for this field. What type of stories from recruiters would you like to read about? What specific industries are you interested in? Let us know in the comments section below!