One of the most common recruiting challenges in skilled trades industries is that companies often hire only on an as-needed basis.
An electric company, for instance, may put off recruitment efforts for several reasons. The company may delay new hires until it secures a major contract, or not even consider recruiting until an emergency arises.
Why leave your recruiting efforts down to the wire? Knowing how to recruit electricians the right way can equip your company with a team ready to charge at a moment’s notice.
Our seven-step guide will walk you through how to recruit journeyman electricians, master electricians, and apprentices. We’ll also cover how to gauge the applicant pool for top talent and practical tips for long-term retention.
Statistics of the Electrician Job Market in the U.S.
The U.S. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that by 2032, we’ll witness a 6% rise in employment rates for electricians. It’s projected that nearly 74,000 electrician vacancies will continue to become available annually.
Here’s the problem, though —with the upturn in Baby Boomer retirees, there is now a shortage of skilled electricians to meet the demand. This leaves electric companies like yours with a fundamental yet pressing problem to solve — high industry-wide demand and a low supply of workers can only mean steep competition to recruit top talent.
If you want to know how to recruit electricians with so few available, you’ll need an effective hiring strategy to attract the best talent to your company. Unsure where to begin? Start by defining the top traits and skill sets a new electrician should need to thrive in your company. But that’s just the beginning.
Hiring the Right Type of Electrician
For safety, accident prevention, code compliance, job-related efficiency, and more, your company — and your clients — can’t afford anything less than highly trained (and skilled) electricians on your team.
Many electric companies face challenges at all stages of the recruitment process. Some don’t create a recruitment strategy at all. Other businesses will fail to pay attention to the electrician candidate’s journey throughout the hiring process.
As for what you should look for to ensure you hire the right type of electrician for your company? Consider the following questions before you begin the recruitment process:
- What would they need to thrive in your company culture (e.g., strong communication skills, flexibility with scheduling, etc.)?
- What trade school/vocational education, on-site training, and apprenticeship experience (if any) would they need to succeed?
- Which licenses and permits will they need?
- Would you prefer they already have a sub-specialty, such as electrical systems design or construction electrician experience?
- At a minimum, which electrical career level would the job applicant need to be?
What Are the Different Career Levels of Electricians?
Similar to most other professions, there are different certification levels among electricians. The three main types of electricians include the following:
- Apprentice Electricians: As their title suggests, an apprentice electrician is still undergoing training and development under the guidance of an experienced (and licensed electrician).
- Journeyman Electricians: Otherwise known as a “licensed electrician,” a journeyman electrician has completed their apprenticeship and can work independently, including training a new crop of apprentice electricians. They labor across multiple industries and typically choose a sub-specialty, such as an inside wireman or an outdoor lineman.
- Master Electricians: Master electricians bring advanced skill sets and vast labor experience to the table. They’re equipped to tackle complex electrical systems, often with apprentice electricians under their wing.
How to Recruit Electricians in 7 Steps
As part of any successful electrician recruitment strategy, you’ll need a game plan that’s easy to follow and will bring highly-skilled electricians into your company. Let’s take a deeper look at how to recruit electricians in just seven steps:
1. Generate a Detailed and Accurate Job Description
Think of a job description as an opportunity to spotlight your workplace values and culture and all of the perks your company offers (but that your competition can’t). So, what should you include in your job description that will appeal to the right electricians for your company?
Consider including the following elements in your job description:
- The basics: the job title, job duties, licensure requirements, expected certification level, salary, and more).
- Put your company culture on display (i.e., employees enjoy flexible schedules; you value work-life balance, etc.).
- Articulate the benefits of working for your company (i.e., lucrative personal leave time, a sign-on bonus, funded professional and personal development opportunities, etc.).
2. Circulate Your Job Posting
You need to get the word out to job-seeking electricians that your company’s the one to work for. However, your professional circuit may be limited in scope, keeping you from reaching top talent in your backyard.
Of course, using social media to recruit top talent can be effective. In addition to posting on online job boards or advertising at local trade schools/community colleges, take full advantage of regional, statewide, and national electrician networking events.
3. Screen Applications
Knowing which certifications, work experience, and skillsets (including soft skills) to look for in potential candidates will save you time as you screen incoming applications. Start by defining the must-haves/non-negotiables and the bare minimum qualities in a job candidate as part of your recruitment strategy.
4. Conduct Interviews
Once you narrow down the field of applicants, it’s time to schedule interviews with your top candidates. Think of the interview process as a skills and culture-fit stepping stone toward finding the best electrician for your team.
Asking questions about their certifications or why they chose to apply to your company, while important, isn’t enough to learn if they’re the best-fit candidate for your team.
Also gauge the interviewee’s technical and safety knowledge with hypotheticals and on-site practical tests. You could even test their electrical skills through Virtual Reality (VR) simulation testing.
5. Amp Up Your Company Culture
You’ll want to amp up your company culture at every phase of the recruitment process – from the job ad through the interview (and even after you make an offer). Show applicants that your business is wired differently than the rest of the field. The most authentic way to do this is to show you’re invested in creating a diverse, inclusive workplace culture.
6. Relay an Offer
For your top candidates, there are circuit breakers, and then there are deal breakers. You’ll want to make them an offer they can’t refuse (before your competitor does).
To do this, we recommend following a few guiding principles:
- Know current salary expectations. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary for electricians is $60,240.
- Modernize your benefits package (i.e., funded professional development, stipends for personal wellness, and more).
- Remain open to negotiations with salary and other benefits.
- Simplify and expedite the onboarding and training process with easy-to-follow steps.
7. Rewire Employee-Support Efforts by Investing in Retention
Just because you’ve hired top talent doesn’t mean they’ll stay. The latest survey by the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) — “Gaps in the Energy Workforce” — reports significant employee attrition among young, non-retirees in the energy sector.
Retaining those employees will require more than a quarterly, company-wide BBQ or a monthly gift card giveaway to your top performers. Instead, supporting your employees means investing in retention efforts from the beginning with a world-class team of recruitment experts by your side.
Unrivaled in the industry, the team at Work With Your Handz will work with you to generate and execute a recruitment strategy meant to boost employee retention down the road.
Retaining Your Electricians
Let’s say you’ve hired the ideal electrician for your team. Their background and skillset are electric — their up-to-date certifications and thousands of hours of on-the-job experience are on point. As for an added bonus, they’re hard-wired with professional communication skills and a sense of humor. Working hard since their hire date, they’re even out-performing the rest of the team.
Here’s the problem — even the best employees have their limits. The last thing you want is to overwork or burden them until they quit, or to provide a work environment that’s not enticing enough for them to stop looking into your competitors.
The real cost of employee turnover is high, too. It can cost you in multiple areas — from losing organizational knowledge to the lowered morale among remaining team members and more. Likewise, the cost of recruiting new talent, hiring them, onboarding, and training them also adds up.
With the energy industry facing ongoing challenges to retain top talent, the logical (and more affordable) plan is to channel your energy into improving employee retention by:
- Creating a positive work environment centered around trust, open communication, and work-life balance
- Soliciting employee feedback and taking their suggestions seriously
- Recognizing and rewarding hard work, achievements, and milestones
- Investing in learning opportunities and professional development
- Offering traditional and reverse mentorship opportunities
How to Recruit Electricians Through a Professional Staffing Agency
Knowing how to recruit and retain the best electricians for your team takes a lot of time and resources. Now pile on all the other work it takes to run a thriving electric company, and before long, you’ll find yourself running on a low-energy supply.
Work With Your Handz is a professional recruiting agency with top industry experts leading the charge in hand-delivering top talent to companies in the skilled trades nationwide. From understanding your company culture and hiring needs to identifying the most qualified electricians in the field and interviewing them, Work With Your Handz is wired to streamline and simplify every stage of your recruitment process.
Power through with our team by contacting Work With Your Handz today. Let us be your energy saver in the recruitment process.