The Importance of Candidate Credentials
NIMS certifications will only continue to grow in importance in a local precision manufacturing market with such a strong presence of medical device companies. Certifications offer candidates a significant edge in job competition as these Twin Cities employers seek greater and greater levels of assurance that prospective employees can deliver what is required in the workplace. Why? Medical device employers live in a world governed by ISO 9000 and FDA “traceability” standards. They are required at the macro-level to certify they can perform at defined levels of excellence with respect to their ultimate experience and satisfaction of their customers. These tidal forces impact the hiring and training practices of the entire supply chain. OEM’s are crawling all over their supplier contract manufacturers seeking to ensure that parts meet certain specs and that only qualified specialists are allowed to work on parts destined for their end product. Both contract manufacturers and OEM’s are increasingly turning to nationally recognized certification programs by way of substantiating their adherence to the highest standards of workmanship with respect to the manufacture of their product. Moreover, smart employers know that certified specialists are far less likely to become costly “bad hires” than those prospects who merely claim they can perform at the required level. Due to the low supply of certified, highly-skilled talent in the region, many progressive employers are now working more cooperatively with “pipeline” technical schools such as Dunwoody or Hennepin Technical College to find and develop interns who are working on their certifications. When they cannot find enough certified talent to meet existing needs, these employers are more often accepting “trainable” talent, and then relying on their in-house programs to get their new-hires up-to-speed quickly. These in-house programs are increasingly replicating the national certification-level programs more common found in the trade schools. MPS Technical prides itself on providing precision staffing solutions for precision manufacturers. In a high demand, low supply market, this means staying connected to the places where specific talent can be found such as schools, job fairs, professional and technical associations and the like. It tasks us with keeping our valued clients abreast of local job market realities and helping them build winning employment strategies that will yield the talent they require. In a market where select quality professionals, welders, machinists, engineers and set-up technicians can be, at times, extremely difficult to source, we are increasingly solicited for advice on non-traditional solutions by our clients. Sometimes we work with them to define what constitutes a “trainable” employee that might benefit from their in-house training and certification programs. Then we do are very best to put assessments in place to measure promising candidates for these specific attributes. In other instances, we try to connect with students enrolled in formal certification programs well before they graduate, either through the schools themselves or at job fairs. The precision manufacturing labor market is replete with well-defined technical “skill ladders” that differentiate competency requirements and often establish the most important basis for job valuation (ie. pay). It behooves our recruiters to stay intimately familiar with different capabilities associated with Level 1, Level 2, & Level 3 machinists, for example, as well as the compensation considerations and trends relative to such professions in order to serve our clients effectively. We must be able to counsel our buyers regarding both talent availability (at each level), where that talent is to be found, and the types of employment packages necessary to attract them (pay, bonuses, benefits, company culture, work shift, other terms and conditions). From our vantage point, it is quite clear that those prospects boasting NIMS or other national-level certifications typically command the highest level of consideration and, thus, go to the head of the (recruitment) class.