The Future of Materials Handling: Why You Should Change Your Hiring Criteria
If you’ve worked as a hiring manager or staffing decision maker in the materials handling business during the last few years, you may have noticed distinct changes occurring in the marketplace. The definition of a successful candidate remains basically the same (a candidate who steps onboard, contributes to workflow and morale, and stays for at least a year). But the factors that foreshadow and support this success have changed, and they’re likely to continue changing in the years ahead.

Here are some of the ways the applicant pool and the standard “successful” employee have evolved.

1. Successful candidates often come from other fields

Mid-career job shifts have always been part of the labor landscape, but in the past decade, career transitions have left a clear mark on the materials handling sector. The economic downturn pushed many professional workers out of their chairs, and a corresponding surge in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution provided alternative income for laid-off workers in search of a new direction. It’s not uncommon for warehouse managers to receive resumes from tradespeople, sales pros, marketing managers, teachers, accountants, and young entry-level workers with degrees and backgrounds in other areas.

2. Successful candidates have social skills

Years ago, if you could drive a forklift, you could thrive in this industry, even if you couldn’t hold up your end of a conversation. But in the modern marketplace, the ability to work with a team, lead, coach, resolve conflict, take and give instructions, and offer and accept constructive criticism all have a powerful impact on candidate success.

3. Tech skills are a positive sign

As you make your hiring decision, lean toward candidates who are comfortable with apps and software programs they haven’t necessarily seen before. At this point, technologies that support materials handling are proliferating at a rapid rate, and you’ll need a workforce that can keep up and master new tools with minimal training.

4. Diversity brings growth and success

Look around a thriving materials handling workplace and you’ll see something that you won’t often find among struggling companies: diversity. Employees working throughout the shop floor, warehouse, distribution center and back office represent multiple ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. This diversity makes employers stronger and more resilient.

For more information on the changes that are influencing the materials handling labor force, reach out to the experts at Liftow.