How to Hire and Retain Skilled Operators and Technicians: A Guide to Manufacturing Success


Hiring is hard. Hiring skilled operators and technicians can be even harder. This guide shares how to hire the best new employees with ease and how to retain them. Keep in mind that the labor market is tight, so it’s more difficult than ever to find and keep qualified employees. But with just a few tweaks in your hiring process, you’ll be able to hire top talent and gain an edge over your competition. 

This guide walks you through everything you need to know about hiring and retaining skilled employees in the face of the labor shortage. You’ll gain insights into choosing a recruiting firm, making your company appealing to job seekers, interviewing techniques that range from screening to personality testing, retention strategies for top talent (engaging perks, promotions, etc.), and much more.  

Hiring the right people  

Onboarding qualified candidates is one of the most important aspects of running a successful company and increasing profitability. Your recruiting strategy is essential to making sure your new hires are skilled operators and technicians who can perform the tasks needed for success. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with employees, but if you start off on the right foot, you’ll have an easier time retaining them. 

It’s key to figure out what motivates your employees and use those influences to keep them happy. For example, if they’re motivated by money, consider making their base wage higher than average or offering bonuses for meeting specific goals. Compensation packages are key here. If they’re more motivated by job fulfillment, create a culture that’s fun and engaging where they feel they’re part of something rewarding and meaningful.  

Regardless of what motivates your employees, it’s important to not just get skilled operator and technician job candidates in the door but also to keep them there!  

Retaining your top talent  

One of the most important aspects of this process is retaining your top talent to keep employees from jumping ship or looking for a new job. How do you keep your retention rates at the highest level? There are several strategies you can use to keep those great team members with strong skill sets and competency with you in today’s automation-driven environment:  

  • Offer engaging perks like workplace celebrations, parties, and happy hours.  
  • Offer promotions and salary increases when deserved.   
  • Provide opportunities for career advancement.  
  • Invest in training programs and initiatives that will make them more productive and valuable to your company.  

Strategies for finding, hiring, and retaining skilled employees 

  1. Choose the right recruiting firm: Recruiting firms that specialize in manufacturing recruitment have access to candidates whose career paths are right on target with your job description – as well as passive candidates who might not be on the market but are open to the right opportunities. Manufacturing recruiting experts also know what other companies are looking for and how you can align your hiring approach with current and trending industry requirements.
  2. Make your company appealing to candidates: The way you present your company through job postings, marketing your culture, and during the interview process is essential in attracting skilled operators and technicians. If you are known for having a positive, engaging work environment, this will help you fill job openings by attracting people who might not have considered applying with your organization.
  3. Interview techniques from personality testing to screening: There are many interviewing techniques out there, and it’s essential to choose the right one for your type of business. You want to use the most effective method when hiring skilled operators and technicians for a particular field. For example, if you need qualified welders, you’ll want to conduct a welding test or interview potential candidates to see how qualified they are in this area so that the skills gap won’t end up being a waste of your time or money. You also want to ensure your questions are relevant and necessary. Avoid questions that are not pertinent, such as, “What is your favorite color?” Soft skills are very important in team environments, so explore interview techniques that will help you identify people who are good communicators.
  4. Retention strategies for top talent: Once you find and hire that perfect candidate, you want to keep them around! One way of doing this is by providing engaging perks and promotions; another is to ensure they feel they’re at home while they work at your company, and this can be achieved by making sure they have an excellent work-life balance and room for advancement and growth.

The bottom line  

Hiring and retaining skilled operators and technicians is vital to your business success. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and with the right interviewing, hiring, and retention strategies in place, you can keep operations running smoothly for the long haul. 

Learn about the Goodwin Recruiting approach to hiring and retaining skilled manufacturing employees and get the ball rolling today. 

Additional Resources:

A current, real-world view on hiring manufacturing employees: Talking Shop: An Interview With Eric Goodwin – President, Goodwin Recruiting

3 Ways You Can Create a More Applicant-Friendly Manufacturing Recruiting Process

Interview Prep: The Questions You Need to Be Asking Your Mechanical Engineering Candidate

Top 5 Traits You Should Look for When Filling Your Next Machinist Job