By: Keith Jennings (Cutting Tool Engineering)
As I’ve said many times before: Time flies when you’re busy, and it sure has this year. One area keeping me busy is finding skilled workers.
In the recent past, I’ve had several opportunities to meet and communicate with younger job candidates. One was a high school career fair where I spoke with teenagers and other young people seeking career guidance and recommendations. I also responded to an email from a 19-year-old machinist who wanted career advice, including what habits and skills owners and managers are looking for in young, inexperienced employees. I appreciated the interest and the articulate, logical questions from decent kids trying to position themselves for a successful career. While pondering my answers, I realized how many young people need to hear this information and how important it is to give them good, practical advice.
Most shops struggle with a lack of qualified workers, as well as employees’ personal issues. That makes it imperative to cultivate workers for the future, because the future is closer than we think. Summarized here are the skills I consider important when evaluating and hiring young employees. Perhaps you can add to the list.
First, show up to work on time and with minimal personal drama. Many employees have talent, but can be so distracted by personal matters that it hurts their job performance and their chances for advancement. Most of this is immaturity or an unwillingness to put the smartphone away. Employees who demonstrate that their lives aren’t ruled by social media have an advantage.
Second, accept guidance and follow instructions with a good attitude and write things down. These qualities will be noticed and positively reinforced. Lots of employees appear to be listening and understanding, but won’t jot notes and “forget” too frequently. In addition, always sign and date your notes and documents. This may sound simplistic, but doing so demonstrates a willingness to learn and follow through.