How Recruitment Has Changed For Manufacturing Businesses

Recruitment has changed for Engineering & Manufacturing businesses over the last 18 months. Companies continuing to recruit through lockdown had to adhere to changing rules and regulations and provide candidates with a positive experience despite the challenges. To provide a quality service, companies had to consider new ideas to attract top talent.

This was especially the case for the Manufacturing sector as businesses needed to continue supplying key supplies, products and materials.

Remote and non-remote workers

The new processes and practices that companies put in place were initially reactive for the short term Q2 to Q3 of 2020. However, it soon became apparent that this would need to be extended and, in some instances, continue for the foreseeable future.

Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics businesses have faced the added pressure of needing to look at recruitment practices for remote and non-remote workers. This dual consideration requires companies to think more in-depth about their recruitment models. How to market them effectively. How to ensure that each candidate has the best experience possible.

In the current climate hiring new people requires employers to plan out the process to be engaging, constructive and positive. It is important to do this whether the organisation is looking for 1 head or 100 heads. A personalised candidate experience is essential if you want to attract top talent.

Candidate attraction

Firstly, you need to focus on your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This includes your attraction strategy, job advertisements, social media output, associated content, and business profiles on Linkedin/Indeed/Glassdoor, etc. They all need to link together to present a unified front that will engage both active and passive candidates.

Saying one thing in your advertising and then acting contrarily through the rest of the recruitment process is even more damaging to your brand than having a poor offering or advertising campaign to begin with.

Over the last 12 to 18 months, businesses have made adjustments to their recruitment practices to ensure that they can attract candidates despite the challenging circumstances.

Figures from analyst firm Gartner showed 86 per cent of businesses have been conducting virtual interviews during the pandemic, and 85 per cent are using new technology to onboard employees.

Recruitment has gone virtual

Needless to say, recruitment has gone virtual. The digital offering depends on the business. The process typically starts with a first stage telephone call to cover the basics, then a video interview once the candidate is deemed suitable.

During lockdown, companies used video conferencing as a way of conducting interviews. This may have changed over the last few months as restrictions have decreased; some companies have found it difficult to  virtually assess candidates and make the process work for them.

Different organisations have different IT providers and thus have different video interviewing capabilities and conferencing systems. This software includes Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Webex, Odro to name a few. Those who have prioritised this have been successful; technology can have a huge impact on the candidate experience.

It is very likely that remote or hybrid recruitment models are here to stay. As such, there is a need for companies to ensure that their recruitment best practice includes efficient digital processes. Investing in equipment and software is logical step.

Potential employees must be catered to in the same way as they would for an onsite interview.

Candidate feedback

Companies need to avoid some of the pitfalls that have been flagged by candidates. These are serious enough to have reduced their engagement and caused second thoughts about working for a company.

Problems range from something as simple as a website link not working because IT security software doesn’t allow external parties to join a Microsoft Teams meeting, to having a third party send the invite out on the hiring managers behalf only for the candidate to be unable to join the session because of permission issues.

Fortunately, solving technical issues likes these are simple. Software should be tested ahead of time, and candidates should have the correct information and thorough instruction.

Most people are willing to forgo tech problems as we have all faced them in our jobs at some point. However, there are worse problems that have led to candidates withdrawing from the recruitment process completely.

Video interviews

Video interviews are new to most organisations and some parties may find this a tad uncomfortable or intimidating. This is heightened for candidates attending virtual interviews. Feedback from candidates includes interviewers not having their screens turned on, thus preventing proper engagement between the interviewer and candidate and they can’t make eye contact and the relationship is one-sided.

Employers should be looking to make digital interactions the same as an in-person interaction. No company would conduct an in-person interview from two separate rooms where the candidate and interviewers couldn’t see each other.

Additionally, some interviewers did not turn up for the video interview. They cited reasons such as an appointment not being in the calendar, not being reminded, or being too caught up in other matters to attend. This lack of planning led to last minute cancellations, too.

99 times out of 100 you wouldn’t turn a person way from your site that had arrived for a meeting face-to-face unless it was an emergency of the highest level, but this does happen a lot more frequently for video interviews. This is likely because the stakes are seen as much lower for cancelling a digital appointment.

Think of the candidate in this situation: they have likely prepared and shifted their days’ schedule to attend the interview.


If an organisation is a repeat offender for missing interviews, it almost goes without saying that it is bad for the company’s brand. This is especially the case for Engineering, Manufacturing and Technical businesses as skilled workers are in high demand. Candidates may share their bad experiences. This could be through small circles or on online review sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor. Negativity travels fast, and brands can get a bad reputation through negligence.

A joined-up approach to attraction, engagement, assessment and onboarding is essential. To avoid pitfalls, companies need to consider all aspects of the recruitment journey. Each stage needs to be treated with equal importance.

Recruiters in the Manufacturing sector are faced with a split between onsite staff and those who can work from home. This requires HR to work in conjunction with these disparate groups to ensure engagement is the same.

Using video facilities for initial introductions and company presentations, etc. allows a business to induct and introduce new remote and onsite workers at the same time while negating the need for people to be in the same place.

Once introduced, new starters can then branch off to their separate departments and teams with reduced risk and follow the rest of their onboarding onsite or at home.

Changes for the better

Most businesses that have made changes through necessity have realised the ongoing positive impact and have pledged to continue implementing them going forward. Benefits that are bespoke to the industry.

Smaller induction groups mean better, more personable interactions. In some instances, companies have realised that a bespoke experience goes a long way when engaging new hires. This is extremely valuable to a business, especially when candidates are in high demand and short supply.

How we can help

greenbean is expertly positioned to guide companies through changing market conditions and the latest trends in recruitment. Our knowledge encompasses the full scope of the industry, from shop floor through to specialist and niche hires. Our team are always to monitoring the talent landscape to provide expert recruitment advice to manufacturing, engineering and logistics businesses.

Get in touch to see how we can help.