Manufacturing and the Future

The livelihood of manufacturing remains critical during this present time in our economy’s history.  For a manufacturing company to thrive in the current era, it needs to adapt to new operations and guidelines to regain its footing amidst adversity. With the most recent Covid-19 layoffs, there are more qualified candidates than ever waiting in limbo while the industry begins to pick up it’s hat and dust it off, while getting ready for the future and the inevitable upswing that we are hopeful is on the horizon. Finding candidates with tailored skillsets is critical for the next era of growth and innovation.

Many companies are in the midst of planning (or RE-planning) for the future. Preparing for growth and innovation, making moves that will be beneficial in the long run and define what their company’s outlook is for 2021.  One of these crucial moves will be attracting candidates with the right skill set and expertise to fill open positions.  According to research, finding qualified people is one of manufacturing executives top three operational priorities. With restructure and preplanning for the future, business owners are having to take a step back and really take a look at the employees they have under their belts and start investing in the future (if they don’t already have enough on their plates).

Many long-term goals for growth involve investing in modern infrastructures which in turn means investing in qualified employees to navigate and operate them. Finding educated, tech-savvy, innovative employees will serve as a fundamental component of improving the future of a business in 2021.

Sourcing the Passive Candidate

These days, it’s easy to round up a list of potential candidates. Simply post your job ad to hundreds of the world’s leading job boards with one click (sound familiar?), or use social media to float an enticing position summary to a few hundred of your connections. But what happens when you’re not just looking for candidates, but the candidate; someone with a skill set so niche, you know you’re searching for a needle in a haystack.

In the business, we refer to them as passive candidates. Their resume reads like the puzzle piece that fits your job description. They’re difficult to source, and almost always currently employed. Moreover, they’re unlikely to respond to your posted job ad. To us, headhunting has always been the business of keeping in touch with people, and that aspect is what we love most. We possess a proprietary database of over 25 years’ worth of contacts, and we check in with folks all the time. Our business is to source the right candidate for your role – even when that candidate isn’t currently applying to jobs.

Alyssa Glass is a highly qualified individual with the aforementioned niche skill set employers dream of adding to their team. A former employee of Imperial Design for over 15 years, Alyssa moved on to a Project Management and subsequent Business Development Manager role at another West Michigan based organization. Making sure candidates find a perfect fit in their current role is a top priority for us, so when we checked in with Alyssa, we were happy to help her find something that better aligned with her current needs. Furthermore, we were thrilled to provide our client with the exact candidate they were looking for; it was a success for all involved. Read on for a brief interview with Alyssa on her hiring journey and how things are going for her now.

Passive Candidate: Alyssa Glass

Can you describe your experience with Imperial Design up until now?

I started with Imperial Design in 1992 (in-house), in their Tech Pubs department. I was fresh out of college with a degree in Computer Graphics (arts and marketing side of the field, not engineering) and excited to put it to use! This was well before Desktop Publishing is what it is now… there was coding required to bold, italicize and format documents. Not point and click as we know it today! After a few years, there was a need in the Engineering department for an Engineering Coordinator. I “temporarily” moved into that department until the position could be filled. I ended up here for the next 12 years! I setup and processed jobs, archived data, closed out jobs, etc. Rex and Tom gave me the freedom to grow and to move around within the company. Before you know it, I’m taking AutoCad classes, doing wiring diagrams, detailing and checking prints. I also discovered a part of my talents included streamlining processes. I was also heavily involved with the documentation needs at Delphi in Coopersville.

When the Coopersville facility closed, I helped transition their documents to the Burlingame facility. The Engineering Manager and I got along well and I was asked to be contracted in to run with their Process Documents. It provided me experience in a large manufacturing company, something I knew wasn’t for me for the long haul. I missed the smaller “family” environment I had at Imperial Design. I asked Mike and Lonny to keep their eyes open for me. It didn’t take long! JR Automation needed someone with my odd set of skills.

I was contract-to-hire into the Engineering department at JR where I was detailing, checking prints, data archiving and became the ISO Management rep for the company. I streamlined processes as I went, able to do my full-time job in part time hours. They kept me busy by adding on work from the Robotics Service group. I LOVED IT! I ended up moving into the Service department where I spent the next 8 years in a job that allowed me to grow my odd set of talents even further. Marketing, Sales, Office Management, Project Management, Dispatching, Streamlining and Improving processes.

As time has a way of changing everything, I found myself needing a change and ventured to Business Development for the Service group of a Robotics Integrator firm out of New York. I really loved my new job and had no intentions of leaving. It consisted of monthly trips to New York, a home office where I’d spend a week or so a month and the rest of the time was jet-setting around the country (foreign travel on the horizon – exciting places…NOT Mexico!). My travel time was around 75-80% of the time. I honestly hadn’t been looking for a new position at the time, however life threw our family a curve ball and I had to take FMLA.

What made you decide to pursue a new position?

In the midst of wondering how I was going return work, knowing the amount of travel my current job required wasn’t in the cards, Lonny called. It was just to check in and see how the new job was going. He did have a possible opportunity with a local automation company and he knew I was the only one that had a background crazy enough to fit all of their needs. Well, they say timing is everything! I interviewed with the company and had the promise of a job offer in less than 24 hours and a presented offer within 48 hours! I am now a proud member of the Service team at Fogg Filler where I’ve been for the last 2 months.

How did your recruiter assist you in finding something that was a better fit for your current needs?

Was really just a timing thing – Lonny got lucky LOL!! 🙂

How are things going for you now?

I believe I have found my home for the next 10 years! I am fortunate to have once again become a part of a visionary company with good leadership, great team mates and the room to grow without being held back. Aside from my daily duties including many of the skills I’ve obtained over the years, they are firm believers in training. I spend my mornings on the shop floor. They are teaching me how to work on the equipment that we build. Not because it’s a requirement for the job, but because I want the hands on. It makes me a more informed, valuable employee and also adds to my crazy skill set! All this from a girl with a degree in computer graphics that was given the room to grow and prove herself. For this, I have the great team at IDS to thank! They helped make me who I am today with the opportunities that were provided throughout the years!

Imperial Design: Then and Now

It’s been about 10 years since the recession hit West Michigan hard, forcing many hard working individuals out of a job. Around this time, Wood TV 8 produced a feature piece on the company that was putting hard-working folks back to work: Imperial Design!

Fast forward a decade, we still come to work each day eager to place candidates in a position that is a best fit from them – from the culture of the workplace to opportunities for personal and financial growth. Eager to get back to work or to make a change? Please visit our current openings or submit your resume!

Resume Writing Tips by Senior Technical Recruiter Lonny Lubben

There is no such thing as the perfect resume in the perfect format. This is a very subjective area for most employers. But, through our experience, we’ve found that clarity is critical and you must focus on results you’ve accomplished.

  • Have a clear and specific OBJECTIVE and SKILLS section – Be very clear on the job you want with a one-sentence objective line. The Skills section should be a bulleted list of your skills that match your desired position’s requirements. When compared against other resumes, having a strong “checklist” of skills at the top gets you past the initial screening process.
  • Prepare a reverse chronological resume. In this format, you begin with your most recent job followed by additional work experience in reverse chronological order, then your education.
  • Use bulleted statements, not paragraphs, to describe your job duties.
  • Focus on results. Your past performance and accomplishments are the best indicator of future performance. List what you have accomplished, delivered and achieved in your past jobs and what roles you worked on with past teams. Use percentages, timelines exceeded, or examples that are easy to measure.
  • Most important – be accurate and truthful

Interview Tips by Placement Director Mike McNamara

If you’re more comfortable sending a text than making a call, an interview may seem like an overwhelming task. In this day and age, technology reigns supreme. When it comes to the in-person interview though, time-tested practices still hold true; Eye contact, a firm handshake and remaining present in the conversation will all get you a leg up over the competition.

Have a big in-person interview coming up? Here are some of the best tips we’ve come across over the years to help you ace it.

  • Dress appropriately for the industry; err on the side of being conservative (business casual to business formal) to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
  • Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
  • Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
  • Treat other people you encounter at the interview location with courtesy and respect. Not only is it a decent thing to do, their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions.
  • Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer. Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation.
  • Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, until invited to do otherwise.
  • Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
  • Bring a pen and a small notebook for any notes you may need to take. Avoid taking notes on your smartphone.
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question.
  • Be prepared to answer common interview questions, such as: “Tell me about yourself” or “Why are you interested in this role with our company?”. Know these answers by heart so that you can give them clearly and confidently.
  • Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Do your research about the employer in advance (start by reviewing their website), ask any questions you did not find an answer to.
  • Write a thank you letter to your interviewer(s) promptly following your interview.