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Joe Klocko: Finding the ideal employee

Posted: July 9, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Now that I have your interest, I’ll try to let you down gently.

The task of finding the perfect employee is daunting and made even more difficult by job descriptions that contain a lengthy list of “must have” experiences, skills and education before a candidate can make it through the initial resume screening process and into the recruitment process.

In fact, the strategy to building a great team is more like developing the perfect employee - not finding the perfect employee.

A recent report by Accenture and the Manufacturing Institute goes so far as to suggest that employers should be looking at a broad range of generalist skills and abilities that will allow the employer to easily train and develop a newly hired employee with the specific skills needed to a given job.

Using a tool like the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate is one way for your company to assess candidates for their overall knowledge in the topics of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information and help find appropriately skilled but generalist employees.

The report goes onto say that many of the manufacturing companies contacted in preparing the report believe that they have a ready pool of workers with the appropriate skills.

However, many existing employees lack the specialized skills to fill critical roles.

By taking an approach of seeking out individuals who possess generalist skills and who demonstrate a strong work ethic, companies can deliver the training for specific skills they need.

Organizations like the College of the Canyons Employee Training Institute (ETI) can assist with the latter.

In fact, in the last year the ETI and Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) delivered over 48,000 hours of such employee training to 688 individuals from 53 companies; helping companies meet their needs for specific skill sets in their workforce.

But that’s only part of the story.

Another aspect of developing employees with the right skill sets needed to make your company successful does not start with a job ad, an interview or a skills assessment.

It starts with making sure that your industry is being viewed as an attractive industry in which to launch a career path that allows for continuing growth and can last a lifetime.

Now if you are in the video game or sports management industries, you’re probably not too challenged in attracting our youth to the industry.

However, if you make valves, fasteners or a myriad other manufactured products you are probably aware that students, and their parents, do not generally view manufacturing as the industry for that rewarding lifetime career path.

The same Accenture/Manufacturing Institute report referenced earlier talks about “engaging early to shape a talent supply chain.”

By now the numerous reports issued by dozens of organizations all referencing the large talent shortage should demonstrate that continuing to follow the “if I build it, they will come” philosophy may not be very effective in attracting youth to your particular industry.

For example, if you are a manufacturer how are you helping dispel the myth that manufacturing is a dirty, dead-end career in a shrinking industry?

Are you participating in career path events at your local K-12 schools to cast a positive light on your industry? Have you rallied to the call to demonstrate that “it’s not your (grand) father’s factory anymore?”

If you only focus on your next hire, that myopic view will help fulfill the uninformed prophecy that manufacturing in America is dying.

Instead why not invest less than one-half percent of your management team’s time (about eight hours a year) in informing youth about the great opportunities and benefits associated with pursuing a career in manufacturing. By taking this proactive approach, your long-term actions will help to close the skills gap in the future.

So if you want to find the perfect employee now and in the future, execute tactically to train your workforce for the skills they need today while also acting strategically to assure a pipeline of interested employees in the future.

Joe Klocko is the Director of the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) and Regional Director, Advanced Manufacturing hosted by College of the Canyons. Mr. Klocko’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. For more information about how the college’s CACT and Employee Training Institute can help your business, please call 661- 362-3111, e-mail [email protected] or visit


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