How to Find New Manufacturing Talent, with Ann Wyatt — EP 170

November 18, 2022 - 12:23pm -- Selcuk Gulboy

It seems like every other day as a machinery dealer, I talk to someone who says they would purchase a machine from me, if only they could find a person to run it. 

Today’s podcast guest, Ann Wyatt, founder of Ann Wyatt Recruiting, makes her living by finding manufacturing professionals for companies.

Ann’s journey to becoming a recruiter started in 2010 when she was an unemployed recent graduate of Western Kentucky University without the means for a home Internet connection. Her mom suggested she go to the career center at the local unemployment office where she could access the Internet to look for a job. She started going there every day and instead focusing solely on her own job search, she got into the habit of helping other people at the center use the Internet to look for new jobs.

When the receptionist at the career center was leaving, she suggested Ann take over her position because she knew the place so well. That was the beginning of Ann’s work helping people looking for jobs. At the unemployment agency, Ann worked her way through many positions, and when she met unemployed engineers and other manufacturing professionals she was amazed by the wages they had been making. This inspired her to become a recruiter for manufacturers.

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Main Points

Tips for Manufacturing Companies Searching for Good Employees

Ann’s customers are manufacturing companies who contract her to find job candidates using her vast network in the manufacturing industry. In the interview, she discussed some powerful strategies for companies to find good people without using her services. She says that companies need to sell themselves to prospective employees in the same manner they would sell their products to customers. She suggests companies create videos with testimonials from satisfied employees currently at their company. She encourages companies to show off their technology and state of the art facilities, using videos on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.

She also advises companies to provide employees perks for work/life balance, in addition to attractive salaries, such as flexible hours or services like daycare, to set themselves apart from more traditional manufacturing companies. Again, it is important to talk about doing these things in online communities.

Networking on LinkedIn for Employers and Job Seekers

I met Ann on LinkedIn, where she is a prolific participant. The key to Ann’s business is networking and LinkedIn is where she meets many clients and potential job candidates. In addition to creating posts five or more days per week, she has a live streaming video show called workforce 4.0 on LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter in which she gives tips for companies looking for employees and people looking for jobs.

Ann gave me several great strategies for successful networking on LinkedIn. She says it’s important to be generous with your knowledge and participation. Send connection requests specifically to people in your industry and add a personal messages to the connection requests. Engaging in group discussions creates new relationships, and LinkedIn’s algorithm likes users who participate. If a user participates in conversations often it likely will help their posts get seen by more eyeballs.

Ann advises that if you plan to send someone a direct message to tell them you are looking for a job, first try to build some report by interacting in discussions or messaging them about industry topics other than your employment ambitions.

For people trying to get the attention of prospective employers or make important professional connections, she advises making videos showing things they do related to their work. For instance, if a person is a machinist or programmer they could show parts being produced that they helped create. 

Whether you’re a job seeker, an employee seeker, or a connection seeker like Ann, the way you find what you are looking for is by engaging your industry peers and using the right tools to sell yourself. Now is a great time to be a professional in the manufacturing business. If you have talent and you put yourself out there correctly, you will find connections with people who can help you.


Where do you find your best employees?

How did you find your current job?

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