Ask a Recruiter: Skilled Trades

The need for skilled trades workers remains high across all industries and recruiting for in-demand roles like welders, machinists, equipment operators, and more, is a priority for many businesses. We sat down with a seasoned professional recruiter who specializes in skilled trades positions to learn more about this important segment.

Rosa Zermeno of Express Employment Professionals in Yuba City, CA, has been in the industry for years and knows what to look for and how to find top talent. In our fourth installment of “Ask a Recruiter,” we spoke with Rosa about industry insights and what it takes to be successful in her field.

What skills do you look for in the perfect candidate?

Knowledge in manufacturing practices and job shop experience is always helpful.

What trends are you seeing in this job field?

The demand for skilled workers is increasing. We are seeing vacant positions left by long-time employees who are retiring or have moved up to supervisor roles, pulling them away from production lines.

What types of jobs do you recruit for?

Skilled Trades positions, including welders/maintenance mechanics, equipment operators, machinists, and carpenters.

What are the hottest skilled trades jobs in your market right now?

Welders, maintenance mechanics, and electricians.

Do you see any problems with recruiting in a job-seekers’ market?

Pay rates sometimes don’t align with candidates’ expectations. We are seeing more skilled workers with gaps in their work history and lack of longevity expecting higher wages.

What is causing the Great Resignation among skilled trades?

Pay rates for non-skilled positions have been higher in the past two years. I have seen skilled workers leave their position for delivery jobs because they pay more.

What type of new fields are hot spots for talent?

Electrical assemblers. With so many new solar/energy compliance requirements, I have seen manufacturing companies re-invent equipment to operate electric verses gas.

With all industries experiencing talent shortages, are you looking past any requirements (like years of experience) to place people in open positions?

Transferable skills have been a great way to present around specific requirements. Identifying candidates’ top three skills and aligning with the most important required experience is key.

During such a successful career, I know you have many stories of helping great people find great jobs, would you share one success story with us?

Finding experienced fabricators has been a challenge—let alone finding one willing to work a demanding shift with long hours and weekends. While looking for the perfect fabricator, I came across an entry-level welder who was eager to learn the trade. He had a great attitude and was willing to work as a janitor if needed to get his foot in the door. I started him as a shop cleaner at a manufacturing company and informed the welding supervisor of his career goals. The supervisor observed him daily, and during their down time, he expanded his welding training and learned how to operate a press brake. After a short period, he became a full-time Press Brake operator and welder for the company and was hired on.

This experience has helped us see past actual work experience and help candidates understand the importance of soft skills to help them grow in any career. We continue partnering with our local high schools and tech programs and share this experience with welding students who are looking to get their foot in the door in any trade.

Ask a Recruiter

We appreciate Rosa speaking with us and discussing trends and stories of recruiting for this field. What type of stories from recruiters would you like to read about? What specific industries are you interested in? Let us know in the comments section below!

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