Recruiting talent

Discover key data-based insights
to source talent

Searching for talent

Attract and identify
great candidates

Engaging with talent

Start the conversation
with confidence

Recruiting talent

Woman with mobile device carrying out an inspection

Understanding the state of the most in-demand manufacturing candidates can help you make better talent decisions.

  • Where are candidates located?
  • Where should you open your next office?
  • Which of your competitors are vying for the same talent?
  • What’s the size of the candidate pool you’re recruiting from?

Read on for insights into how to gain a competitive advantage in the hiring market.

Machine operator Packer Plant manager Quality control specialist Warehouse manager

Searching for talent

Two construction workers discussing information on a clipboard

The qualified manufacturing talent you’re looking for is out there, and the best way to find it is by searching through online networks. To do this successfully, you need to understand essential search operators, write appealing job descriptions, and master candidate engagement tactics.

The vast majority of candidates, especially those in the Generation X and millennial generations, use online job boards like LinkedIn to find open positions. Making your role stand out among the thousands of similar positions online can be daunting and time consuming. To help, we’ve put together job description templates for five of the most common roles in the manufacturing industry. Use these templates to save yourself some time and learn what manufacturing candidates are looking for in a job description.

 

For more, check out the full selection of job templates.

 

 

Machine operator Packer Plant Manager Quality control specialist Warehouse manager

 

A machine operator is responsible for working with heavy machinery so that companies are able to manufacture and distribute goods effectively. These professionals set up machinery to start a production cycle, operate and oversee equipment, test machines to make sure they’re running smoothly, feed raw materials into semiautomated machines, and adhere to health and safety regulations at all times. Machine operators must be meticulous, skilled individuals who can contribute directly to the success of a company’s product. Excelling in this role takes years of on-the-job training; it’s vital to understand the nuances – and hazards – of each particular machine.

Responsibilities

  • Verify that safety equipment on machinery is functional prior to operation
  • Follow production instructions, either written or verbal, as necessary
  • Set up and perform minor calibrations on machinery as needed
  • Operate machinery in a manner that’s safe to yourself and others
  • Perform inspections of machinery to ensure efficient operation and production
  • Maintain high quality of products as produced through machinery

Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • 1–3 months related experience in a manufacturing setting
  • Ability to read, write, and understand instructions
  • Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measurement, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals
  • Ability to use arms and legs, and lift 30 lbs.

 


 


 

Much of the goods and products we rely on go through a meticulous packaging process before they get to the general public. This requires the skills of a capable, detail-oriented packer. Most packers work in a warehouse environment, preparing finished products for packaging and shipment. Typically, a packer will be assigned to a specific area, retrieving the items needed from the inventory, checking that they’re in good condition, wrapping them securely, and packing them for shipping. Warehouse packing often requires physical strength and stamina to lift and pack heavy boxes and products.

Responsibilities

  • Work at different stations as production requires
  • Inspect, weigh, and package products
  • Monitor flow of products into processing machinery
  • Verify compliance with quality, safety, production standards, work rules, and efficient operation of equipment
  • Report potential production downtime, scrap production, verify quality of each machine, and summarize data from shift
  • Maintain a clean and safe work environment

Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • At least 18 years old
  • Able to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Able to stand up to 4 hours at a time
  • Demonstrated ability to operate machinery
  • Detail oriented

 


 


 

Plant managers are at the helm of a manufacturing or production facility, and are actively involved in daily operations and the company’s long-term plans. At some larger plants, they may be assigned to manage one area, but typically they’re responsible for an entire plant’s operations. The plant manager supervises all activities of that facility, which often involves overseeing team performance, expediting the receiving and shipping of goods, and ensuring efficient, organized storage. By streamlining all plant activities, this detail-oriented leader can help drive overall profitability and customer satisfaction – two of the main goals of any consumer-facing organization.

Responsibilities

  • Plan, direct, and coordinate all manufacturing operations of production, machinery, processing, and packaging departments
  • Ensure that all process-line schedules are in accordance with facility capabilities, customer requirements, economic performance, and planning – expediting as needed
  • Direct and manage the establishment and maintenance of material replenishment methods, quality standards, and performance metrics in support of the organizational goals and objectives
  • Budget and manage manufacturing cost structures by developing and maintaining operational expenses within budget allowance, and investigate cost-reduction measures
  • Create documentation protocols, and ensure that all operation records are properly maintained and reviewed

Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s in operations management, business, engineering, or related field
  • 10+ years of plant operations or engineering experience
  • Proven supervisory leadership skills
  • Demonstrated understanding of lean manufacturing concepts

 


 


 

Quality control specialists are responsible for inspecting and testing products before, during, and after the manufacturing process to ensure that products align with company and legal standards. The professionals monitor nearly every manufactured product, ranging from food and clothing to glassware and cars. If quality control issues arise, quality control specialists often troubleshoot or liaise with other specialists to find a solution. The best quality control specialists have strong analytical abilities, excellent organizational skills, and a knack for solving complex problems.

Responsibilities

  • Conduct thorough quality inspections for safety, sanitation, and product specification assurance
  • Uphold specific quality specifications as outlined in company manual
  • Create reports on production quality to present to management team

Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor of science in engineering or related field
  • Demonstrated ability to perform quality improvement processes and audit manufacturing operations
  • Excellent attention to detail

 


 


 

Any company that stores and distributes materials or products relies on a high-functioning warehouse. The warehouse manager supervises all activities of that facility, which often involves overseeing team performance, expediting the receiving and shipping of goods, and ensuring efficient, organized storage. By streamlining all warehouse activities, this detail-oriented leader can help drive overall profitability and customer satisfaction – two of the main goals of any customer service organization.

Responsibilities

  • Supervise daily activities of a warehouse, including quality assurance, inventory control, space management, logistics, floor productivity, shipping, and customer service
  • Schedule and oversee warehouse team to meet the demands of the fulfillment center, and manage the flow and quality of work to maximize efficiency and minimize overtime
  • Inspect equipment, tools, and machinery regularly, and oversee general maintenance as needed
  • Meet regularly with warehouse leads to review, analyze, and develop actionable plans for productivity and loss prevention
  • Oversee and manage logistics utilized to transport products to customers and internal facilities, communicating with drivers and air partners to ensure efficient delivery of packages

Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • 3+ years of experience in a lead warehouse role managing hourly employees
  • Proficient knowledge of warehouse procedures and policies
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and leadership qualities
  • Ability to work with all levels of company staff
  • Comfortable delivering frequent written and oral feedback directly

 


 

LinkedIn is an excellent source for finding qualified manufacturing candidates. To kick off your search, you can go to our search engine and type in the name of the role that you’re hiring for. But while the search results may be high in quantity, there are often many candidates who aren’t qualified for the role – either because they don’t have the right experiences or skill sets, or because they’re in an entirely irrelevant function or position. And unless you know exactly what to look for, it can be hard to narrow down your search, causing you to spend hours parsing top talent from candidates that don’t quite fit the bill.

Boolean strings can save the day. These allow you to search for candidates more strategically by letting you filter your search results based on the things that matter most to you, like specific job titles, skills, education, and other keywords.

LinkedIn’s Boolean operators are a bit different than those found on other sites, so it’s important to construct your searches properly to get the results you want. Use straight quotation marks (") around a word or phrase that must be included – curly quotation marks (“) won’t work. Or try adding the word “NOT” immediately before a search term that you don’t want to see in your results. You can also use the word “OR” between search terms to find people who match at least some of your requirements, or “AND” to find someone who matches them all. If you need to narrow your search even further, you can put parentheses around multiple terms – we’ll delve deeper into that in a moment.

  • Always type “NOT”, “OR”, and “AND” in capital letters or they won’t work
  • The “+” and “-” operators or the wild card “*” searches are not officially supported by LinkedIn

It may help to think of Boolean searches kind of like math, meaning that LinkedIn Recruiter reads certain parts of the search string before it reads others. That means that poorly worded strings can lead to bad results. Don’t worry, though – understanding how LinkedIn prioritizes search operators can help set up your searches accordingly. The order of precedence is:

  1. Quotes
  2. Parentheses
  3. NOT
  4. AND
  5. OR

Parentheses are key. These help you clearly communicate your intention to LinkedIn’s search engine, so you should use them around certain search terms as much as possible. Let’s look at some examples of how search strings can help you find talent for the most in-demand manufacturing roles.

Machine operator

Let’s say you want to find a machine operator with experience working a forklift. Your Boolean string would read:

"Machine operator" AND "forklift"

Packer

You’re searching for a packer who’s experienced in the retail industry, but you don’t want an intern. You might search for:

("Packer" AND "retail" AND "Spanish") NOT "intern"

Plant manager

If you need to find a plant manager who has experience overseeing production facilities in either the food and beverage or produce industry, your Boolean search might look like this:

"Plant manager" AND ("food and beverage" OR "produce")

Quality control specialist

You want to find a quality control specialist who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering. You may search:

"Quality control specialist" AND ("BS engineering" OR "bachelor of science engineering")

Warehouse manager

You need a fully fledged warehouse manager, not an assistant, with knowledge and experience working in the solar energy industry. Your Boolean search string might look like:

"Warehouse manager" AND "solar energy" NOT "assistant"

To hone in on your ideal candidates, start by creating searches that use clear, concise phrasing. To do this, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the skills and experience that the role requires. From there, use smart searching techniques to find candidates who match your criteria. For more help, select “All Filters” on LinkedIn’s search function to specify additional aspects of an ideal candidate. These search tips can save you time, so you can get back to engaging the best talent for your roles.


 

Engaging with talent

image of two workers in ssfety gear in conversation

It’s vital that you develop a method for effectively starting the conversation with manufacturing candidates, whether you’re messaging them directly or posting an attention-grabbing job post. A great way to accomplish this is by keeping your company’s key differentiators – including company culture, brand, and mission – at the forefront.


Email Your brand LinkedIn Groups

Learning about a new job opportunity can be exciting, but many talented candidates receive a mountain of emails from recruiters. If you want to be noticed, you need to create a message that stands out and immediately piques a candidate’s interest.

General best practices when writing candidate emails:

  • Keep your subject lines short and sweet
    • High-performing subject lines often use keywords like “thanks,” “exclusive invitation,” “connect,” “job opportunity,” and “join us.”
  • Craft a conversation starter
    • It’s a mistake to simply copy and paste a job description in your outreach. Instead, engage candidates right away by asking them about their career goals and aspirations. From there, make an argument for how your role can help them make strides along their chosen career path.
  • Ditch the formality – keep your tone conversational
    • Even if the role you’re hiring for is serious, your approach to candidates doesn’t have to be super formal. Use language that aligns with your personal voice and shines with authenticity.

Successful communication begins by establishing a personal connection with a candidate and sparking their interest in your role. Even if you use a template, that template should be customized to fit a candidate’s unique profile and your own style. Check out these examples, and get started expertly engaging manufacturing talent.


 

Hi [NAME],

I came across your profile while looking for qualified warehouse managers, and your experience is impressive. With five years at [Company X], including three years serving as a warehouse manager at their Seattle facility, I’m sure you probably have your pick of jobs, but I have a role where you could really shine.

[Company Y] is comprised of dedicated, enthusiastic team members like yourself. Every day, our employees manufacture and ship products that enrich the lives of people around the world. I’d love to speak with you about how you could make a difference here, as well as learn more about your career goals. Let me know if there’s a good time for us to connect.

Best,
[YOUR NAME]

 



 

Hi [NAME],

Would you be interested in setting up a time to talk about how your experience aligns with a role I’m looking to fill? From what I’ve seen on your profile, you have what it takes to accomplish great things at [Company X], and we’d love to share more about how we could work together.

Our founders began [Company X] with the mission of providing top-quality electrical services to clients across [Location]. Today, we’re fulfilling that goal by employing candidates who are truly passionate about what they do. We’re also big believers in supporting your career goals, which is why we offer every employee paid training and reimbursement for continued education courses.

Let me know when you’re free for a quick call. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,
[YOUR NAME]

 



 

Hi [NAME],

You may get dozens of these emails a day, but not from a company like ours. [Company X] isn’t your typical manufacturing facility. Unlike the rest, we’re employee-owned and operated, and we treat our team members just as we treat our clients: with respect and understanding.

Are you tired of working for employers who don’t care about your professional goals or a healthy work-life balance? Our founders were too, which is why they created [Company X]. We’ve been ranked one of the top places to work in [Location] for five years running, and we’re just getting started.

Before you delete this message, I’d love the opportunity to learn more about your career interests. I think you’d be a great fit at [Company X] and I’d welcome the opportunity to make my case over the phone. Do you have a time to talk this week?

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

 


 

The key to attracting high-quality manufacturing talent is to have a strong online brand. The modern job seeker conducts ample online research before they decide to apply for a job. They’ll browse your company’s website, check out your LinkedIn Page, and look through any official social media accounts. That makes it crucial to curate an online brand that stands out and has the potential to stick with candidates. In doing so, even passive candidates will want to engage with your brand, helping you grow your recruiting pipeline.

In the manufacturing industry, where professionals are detail oriented and often work with cutting-edge technology, a process-focused brand can be effective. Make it clear how your organization accomplishes highly complicated tasks, and discuss your commitment to supporting employee training and continued education. If your approach to manufacturing resonates with candidates, they’ll want to learn more about your brand and consider joining your team.


 

Your Online Brand

Here are a few things you can do right away to boost your online brand:

  • Include pictures and videos to visually entice candidates
    • Be authentic – ditch the stock photos in favor of authentic shots
    • Show real employees interacting with each other
    • Showcase the unique work environment
  • Offer meaningful insights into your culture
    • What’s it actually like to work there on a day-to-day basis?
    • What motivates your employees to continue innovating?
    • What makes your culture stand apart from the crowd?
  • Share honest testimonials from your staff
    • Provide real, concise details about the role and the workplace
    • Don’t be afraid to get personal – share stories candidates can relate to
    • Provide clear information that shows how you value your staff

LinkedIn Groups provide the opportunity for like-minded professionals to network, share their interests, and discover new opportunities. There are hundreds of manufacturing-focused groups on LinkedIn, and smart recruiters can use these spaces to connect and engage with top manufacturing talent.

It’s important to explore the purpose and rules of a group before using one to find potential candidates. Some groups don’t want you to solicit members or post job openings on their page. Reading the rules thoroughly before joining can help you stay respectful of a group’s wishes. Here are a few manufacturing groups to explore that are designed with recruitment in mind:

How to join LinkedIn Groups  

You can find groups in two ways:

  • By name or keyword: Enter keywords or group names in the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. Then click the Groups tab on the Search Results page.
  • By browsing groups recommended for you by LinkedIn: click the Work icon in the top right of the LinkedIn homepage and select Group from the menu.
Finding LinkedIn Groups

There are two ways you can join a group:

  • Click the “Request to join” button on the group Discussions page, or anywhere you see the button.
  • Respond to an invitation from a group member or manager. Joining a LinkedIn Group is easy. After finding a group that fits your needs and visiting its page, click the button to join the group.

How to post a message in LinkedIn Groups

  • Once you join a group, you’ll see a box called “Start a new conversation in this group.” In this box, you can type a message, post links, or even upload images and videos. As you do this, keep in mind that you can only type up to 1,300 characters, including spaces, so it’s best to keep your message short and eye catching.
  • When you’re satisfied with your message, just click “Post” and you’re good to go. Members will be able to read your message and contribute with their own comments and reactions!
Posting a message in LinkedIn Groups

How to start a discussion and engage group members

  • Be strategic about starting discussions. By sharing stories and posting relevant content, you’ll encourage group members to respond with equally positive and interesting feedback. This approach can boost your odds of sparking quality conversations with group members.
  • Remember that respect goes both ways. When responding to members’ comments, maintain a kind, respectful, and professional tone.

How to reach out to a candidate in LinkedIn Groups

  • If someone catches your eye in a group, click on their profile to learn more about their experience and connect with them directly. Once you’re connected, you can easily message them by clicking the “Message” button on their page to reach out to them in an InMail (a direct message on LinkedIn).
  • When you send an invitation to connect, be sure to mention that you enjoyed chatting with them in the group, and give them some compelling details about the job you’re hiring for. If they’ve interacted with you before, you already have a personal connection that they will respond positively to.

In such a competitive industry, the pressure is on to win over qualified candidates. But by learning more about a candidate’s experience and career goals right off the bat, you can have more success aligning your messages to fit their interests and get them excited about the roles you need to fill.

LinkedIn in action

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