Business Toolkit - Recruiting With MTWO

Can you elaborate on the key skills and qualities that you look for when recruiting for the sign, graphics, and print industry?


When operating in a niche I think it’s important to obviously be able to demonstrate your skills and experience but there’s been a huge shift over the last couple of years of people enjoying the company of others. So you could be the most highly skilled and experienced industry professional but if that is just hiding you not being a good culture fit or a good team player, I think organisations would rather invest in the right person. In my opinion, demonstration of the right attitude and behaviour is vital.


What are some effective strategies that employers in our industry can use to attract top-tier talent?


This is all about your process. Before casting the net, have a solid strategy in place. Review old applicants for similar roles you’ve had and operate a referral scheme from your current staff. Good people know good people – ask your trusted network. Do your suppliers know anyone, or are there any of your competitors or customers you could reach out to?

If this isn’t successful and you have to be a little more externally focused, then you want a combination of the best person at the lowest possible price, but like the old adage, you can’t have cheap, quality and fast they just don’t combine.


If you are hiring yourself, make sure you have an advert, not just a list of requirements. You’ll have everyone applying and the time that takes out of your day replying and rejecting candidates (you have to do this as it’s your reputation). It is a huge cost you won’t have factored in.


Should you get suitable applicants, make sure your process is slick: in 2 stages. First is a Teams Call to break the ice, then if they pass, get them in for a more formal discussion, show them around, and meet the team. Don’t waste time. If they are right and suitable for the job, don’t delay, get them offered.

If you do engage with a recruiter, make sure it’s a good one. Ask for testimonials, and make sure they are industry specific. Never use more than two, ideally one. You WILL NOT be getting any more candidates the more agencies you use. Ironically, it has the opposite effect.


From your perspective as a recruiter, what are some of the most common mistakes that employers make during the hiring process? How can they be avoided?


In my experience, the hiring process reflects the way you operate as a business. If you’re dealing with me as a supplier or with candidates directly, your process and strategy have to be robust and agile. Be flexible, accommodating, humble, modest, and human.


Communication, transparency and readiness to act are the 3 pillars of a strong recruitment process.


Once an employee has been hired, what are some of the best ways to ensure that they feel engaged, valued, and motivated to stay with the company long-term?


This starts from the moment you interview. The experience must be reflective of your business, and your culture. Through the recruitment process, the onboarding and probation but also when they are an established member of the team. There are normally 3 reasons why people look for a new opportunity; location/flexibility OR progression OR Salary. In your 1-2-1’s rather than it all being about the employees, ask what you as an employer could do better. You might not like the answers but at least you’ll have an indication of early signs of unhappiness or discomfort.


Can you share some successful case studies where a company in the sign, graphics, and print industry successfully attracted and retained talent? What strategies did they employ?


Yes, loads! But one recently was a new MD (that I’ve known for 10 years+) in a new role. It was a clear brief for an Estimator. We need XYZ, we set out the interview process during the briefing meeting and away I went finding them candidates. 3 candidates were submitted, 3 interviewed, 2 whittled down and invited back for a meet the team for a couple of hours. After that, one was offered. It was professional, efficient and transparent. These things shouldn’t be overcomplicated.


How important are professional development opportunities in our industry for attracting and retaining talent? How can companies better provide these opportunities?


You don’t have to look far to see what value this really brings to the table. We want people in our industry that are do-ers. People that will say yes, take on the responsibility and challenge and thrive in these types of environments. For me, this should be encouraged. Companies should offer the opportunity for each department/person to spend time across the business, gaining and absorbing vital BI to develop them.

Another great example of this is The Printing Charity’s Rising Star Programme where 18–30-year-olds are recognised and nominated by their managers for the impact they have. If you are selected, you are awarded up to £1,500 to put towards any professional development course. This is amazing! I’m going to be a judge on next year’s awards! 


How has the pandemic and shift to remote work affected the recruitment process and employee retention in our industry? What adaptations should companies make to thrive in this new environment?


I personally love it. It’s ramped up the use of technology, it’s streamlined the recruitment process and saved a hell of a lot of time in the process. For any client I work with, I tell them to use this hiring process. It’s robust yet efficient…


Teams / Skype Call 🡪 Invite them for a face-to-face 🡪 Meet the team🡪 Offer 🡪 Onboard, invite them to socials, meet them for lunch etc.


If you’re not doing this, your competitors are getting the best people more quickly into their teams.


How important is it for employers in our industry to understand and communicate their own brand effectively during the recruitment process?


Huge, if the recruitment process doesn’t reflect your brand, your business or your culture then you’re going to fail. Be true to your business, be transparent to the candidates and the right people FOR YOU will be attracted and will stick.


If you’re working with a recruiter, if they don’t offer to come and visit your business, feel the business and culture, get a new one. Recruiters need to know your TOV, your proposition, your culture and to give us the best chance, you can’t get that if it’s not in person.


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