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Recruiting Tech Talent Requires Strategies Old and New

January 9, 2024

By John Gallagher

For mobility companies like Magna International and BorgWarner, finding the tech talent they need involves a mix of old and new tactics.

Job fairs at universities remain important, but only when matched with social media tools that today’s college grads grew up with.

“Sixty percent of applicants are applying now on their mobile devices,” said Jennie Ecclestone, Director of Talent attraction and Employer Branding at Magna. “So we have to think about how we are evolving our job descriptions.”

That means not forcing candidates to scroll through page after page but offering them a “short and sweet” job description and an application process that’s efficient.

Magna has found that an online app called Handshake helps. It’s like a dating app matching job seekers with potential employers. Ecclestone calls it a “gamechanger” when recruiting at colleges.

Jennie Ecclestone

“You can’t really overstate the importance of a human connection and that face-to-face initial meeting, especially for a student audience and those who aren’t as familiar with Magna.”

– Jennie Ecclestone, Director of Talent Attraction and Employer Branding, Magna International

And, she added, “Once we have them apply to us, are we creating an environment that’s moving them efficiently through the process. People are used to immediate feedback.”

Partnering With Schools Helps Retention

For BorgWagner, recruiting on campus goes beyond job fairs. Tania Wingfield, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, said the company collaborates with selected universities to create training programs for needed skills. With the automotive industry rapidly shifting to electrification, such programs can help employees get ready to work and to upskill current workers. “That’s helping us from a retention standpoint,” Wingfield said.

BorgWarnerRetraining and upskilling helps in another way. Ecclestone notes that baby boomer workers, now in their 60s through mid70s, are retiring in large numbers.

“There’s a huge amount of brain power that’s going with them that hasn’t been transferred down. So we’re trying to upskill our employees,” she said. That means devoting more effort and resources to training and retraining.

Work Schedule Flexibility Remains Key

And when recruiting mid-career candidates from other firms, flexibility is key.

“If it’s a position where they only have to be in the office occasionally, we’ll entertain remote working,” Wingfield said. “Otherwise we try to offer a hybrid working environment. We’re trying to figure out what’s the right balance of office time and work from home. We know post-pandemic that flexibility and offering both work-from-home and coming into the office is critical when hiring people.”

While online recruiting is important, it’s not enough by itself.

The December Detroiter tackles the intertwined population and talent crisis that threatens Michigan’s future prosperity and growth. View the latest edition.