Houston manufacturing recruiters on the hunt for welders, engineers

Welders are in high demand in Houston as the city's construction activity continues to increase.

For supplemental staffing agencies that support the manufacturing sector and the recruiters who work there, this is a great time to be in business. As the economy continues to work its way back to a pre-recession state, there are a number of companies on the hunt for skilled laborers in a wide variety of different areas. For those organizations unable to identify these individuals themselves, they will likely enlist the help of a manufacturing recruiter to provide a list of qualified individuals with the requisite abilities that they are looking for.

Filling these positions can strengthen the partnership an agency has with its clients, resulting in more opportunities being given to fill openings which will generate additional revenue. However, as some manufacturing recruiters are discovering, there are a number of skillsets that will require a more aggressive approach when it comes to finding the right candidates.

The need for welders and engineers increases in Houston
Houston has become a hub for increased construction activity of late. Whether there are new schools being built or large swathes of unincorporated land being converted into mixed-use building projects, the area has become a hotbed for projects of this kind. So much so that there are a number of positions that need to be filled that manufacturing recruiters in the area are having a rough time with. One of these is welders.

According to the Houston Business Journal, of the agencies participating in the publications survey of area staffing firms, 57 percent stated that welding positions were the most difficult to fill. This is due in large part to two primary factors. The first of which is that the demand for those with welding skills is far greater than the number of people living in the Houston area who have them. However, the biggest hurdle for manufacturing recruiters sourcing for these candidates is their salary requirements.

For welders, it has essentially become an employee's market. These individuals understand that they are in high demand and as a result, the Houston Business Journal stated that these candidates can make a salary of $75,000 annually, or more. For manufacturing recruiters with clients that want to pay far less than what a welder would ideally like to make, making placements can be tough.

"The (staffing) industry has become more like a flea market when dealing with industrial clients," Ann Bedford-Flood, who serves as ProSource Staffing's president, told the Journal. "Service and quality candidates are no longer what's important. It is price. This forces (staffing) services to pick up more business, which ends up meaning less service to clients."

Another hard-to-fill position for manufacturing recruiters is those for candidates with experience in engineering. As many as one-fifth of supplemental staffing agencies specializing in direct-hire recruiting stated that engineering candidates were difficult to find, while 13 percent of temporary placement firms stated the same.

Despite these challenges, this influx of skilled labor needs is good news for manufacturing recruiters operating in the Houston area. Finding the right candidate and making placements – whether permanent or temporary in nature – can have a positive impact for the business in both the long- and short-term. However, in order to accomplish this goal, recruiters will not only need to be aggressive in their sourcing efforts, but savvy as well. They will need to focus on untapped candidate pipelines, specifically, those who may already be working on a temporary or permanent basis.

Strategies to attract the passive job seeker
The fact that someone is presently employed doesn't mean that he or she wouldn't be interested in at least hearing about a potential opportunity. There are is always someone out there who is unhappy, unsatisfied or unfulfilled in their present position. However, despite these circumstances, having a job has prevented them from actively seeking employment elsewhere. These individuals are considered to be passive and they can be a gold mine for recruiters.

Careerbuilder offered a number of helpful suggestions on how to engage with these candidates and potentially take them away from their present opportunity and place them in a new one.

The most important step in this process for a recruiter is to develop a rapport with these individuals. Being pushy or overly aggressive will never work because quite honestly, they don't need to talk to you because they're already working. Careerbuilder suggests that once initial contact is made, a recruiter should try to gather as much information about the candidate once it has been determined that this person is qualified to do the job that is being sourced for.

From there, it is all about having a conversation that makes the candidate comfortable enough to want to hear more about the opportunity that is available. At that point, it is up to the recruiter to keep the lines of communication open and get the individual to the point where they willingly pass along an updated resume which can then be forwarded to the client.

The process itself isn't easy, but if done correctly, it can be highly beneficial for the recruiter, as well as his or her agency. 

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