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Industry Insiders: Jay Cammack on Recruitment in Construction and Industrial

Summit Search Group

Jay Cammack

Recruitment Consultant

Jay Cammack

Recruitment Consultant

“People who consistently rise to the top of their leader boards — those are our people,” Jay Cammack says. “These are the consistent strong performers. They’re innovative and they’re aiming for progression. They have the capacity to learn, to grow, and to bring your business to the next level.”

With a deep personal background in the industrial sector, Jay recruits exceptional talent in industrial, manufacturing, and construction at Summit Search Group, with an emphasis on leadership and sales. “Machines, skylights, decking, plastic products, piping, manufacturing, industrial services — my clients do it all!”

We caught up with Jay to find out what’s new in industrial, manufacturing, and construction recruitment right now, and how to make meaningful connections in the year ahead.

Hiring Challenges in the Industrial, Manufacturing, and Construction Sector

The sting of the pandemic has touched industries the world over, and recruiters like Jay have seen real-time impacts on talent.

“Our biggest challenges in recruiting are always a shortage of top talent, and a competitive marketplace for that talent,” he notes. “With companies working to be nimble, we certainly saw some layoffs — but we’ve also seen new needs emerge. The industrial talent pool is changing all the time.”

“There are so many things that can make hires in this space complex, especially now. Covid-19 jumpstarted an environment of change, and that’s only added to the everyday challenges. There are so many great candidates who would have made a move before the pandemic, but they don’t want to dive into the unknown right now. They weren’t afraid before, but now they are: they have tenure, and they already survived staffing cuts. They’re hesitant to take a chance, because they don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Hiring Strategy for Industrial, Manufacturing, and Construction Roles

In spite of pandemic changes, some things remain as consistent as ever. Outstanding talent — and the recruiters who connect with them — are still out there.

“What hasn’t changed is that it takes a keen eye to fill these roles,” Jay adds. “If you need good people, it takes expertise. It takes hours and dedication, especially to find a solid match for a difficult-to-fill role.”

“An outstanding candidate will have an unfailing record of achieving performance targets, resulting in accelerated compensation and promotions. That candidate has a single-minded pursuit of results. They have the ability to absorb, process and execute information decisively. To connect with these truly qualified, high performers, you have to put in the work. It requires an active search. You have to carefully evaluate details like location, skills, and qualifications, and actively seek out a strong match.”

Human Connection in the Industrial Space

“In the old world, the way a construction or manufacturing team chose vendors and talent was based primarily on who you connected with: that means in person,” Jay muses.

2020’s unprecedented spike in remote meetings, Zoom calls, and virtual happy hours changed the way we work, and most experts anticipate that the technology will stick around. In the industrial space, it could open a new door for a very essential kind of opportunity.

“There’s a certain percentage of companies that just won’t be able to Zoom into the future — and they don’t want to,” says Jay. “Human connection has particular value for people working in construction, and in manufacturing, and the people who choose to embrace that connection — if you focus on that value — you’ll clean up. Skill with people can’t be replaced. If you want to succeed in this space, show people that you care. Demonstrate your personal investment and a commitment to service, and show that you’re out there. That’s the opportunity, now more than ever. See people.”

Tips for Connecting with Top Industrial Talent

Having a dedication to genuine connection is a serious differentiator in industrial recruiting, no matter what side of the table you find yourself on. However, it’s far from the only one. Jay helped us dig into some of the qualities he uses to seek out A-players.

“In a perfect wish list, a client is always looking for someone with deep experience in their industry. But sometimes those with industry experience aren’t the perfect candidate after all,” he notes. “The roles we recruit for have some strong overlapping themes. What you really need to look for are the people who are very strong at what they’re doing now, and very strong at what they’re doing tomorrow. They’re interesting people to learn about, and they have it together. Take all the data points together, and think of that candidate as a whole person: are they concise? Consistent? How does their resume look? Do they have a plan? Are they aiming to progress? That’s the person who really shines, whether they have precise industry experience or not.”

Jay reminds us that clients need to come to the table with a strong offering, too — and that it often isn’t all about money.

“Don’t worry about competitive compensation — think about creative compensation,” he notes. “Being opportunity driven is a really great mind set to have right now. What opportunities do you have to give people what they really want? For example, some people value time with their family more than a particular salary. Be ready to exchange productivity for refreshment, or to help someone make the most of their schedule. If you can get a bit creative — give them flexibility! Break out from the traditional model. Perhaps try four weeks of holiday to start, or four-day work weeks. An extra long weekend every month.”

“Whether you’re a client or a candidate, now is the time to think outside the box. Differentiate yourself, it will pay dividends.”

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Industry Insiders: Jay Cammack on Recruitment in Construction and Industrial

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