how to hire a forklift operator.

how to hire a forklift operator.

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If you're looking for a forklift operator in the manufacturing and logistics industries, you're not alone. The latest numbers from labor market monitor Burning Glass point to high demand: Nearly 67,000 job postings went up in the last year, with an average of 30 days to fill the role. 

Urgency comes as no surprise. Forklift operators may have humble job titles, but they play an essential role in keeping factory floors humming and getting goods to market on time. So when you need them, you really need them.

But how do you go about finding experienced, reliable forklift operators — and shorten that critical time-to-fill metric? Here are some tips that can help you move the process along:

Ready to get started? Continue reading for key insights on each of these points.

1. speed up your hiring process

Forklift operators transport heavy materials and play an important role in inventory management and manufacturing operations. They're often the people who keep goods moving in warehouses and parts moving around factory floors. And in today's growing e-commerce economy, which relies on a vast network of high-volume distribution centers, having top-notch forklift operators on board is essential. Simply put, every day that a factory floor, warehouse or distribution center operates below capacity puts a strain on supply chains and customer fulfillment.

While that's no reason to rush your hiring process, it is reason to take stock of your recruiting methods and make sure they're as efficient as they can be. This diagram can help you determine whether you're leveraging today's best hiring practices.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

To attract the best forklift operators, you'll need to offer competitive pay. And if you need to get a sense of what "competitive" means in today's tight labor market, Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide can help you make sure that the hourly wages you have in mind are on par with market rates. To kick things off, here are the national averages for forklift operator wages, which, as with any position, varies by level of experience:

entry-level
$14.10/hour

mid-level
$17.03/hour

senior-level
$19.45/hour

While these numbers are a good place to start, keep in mind that compensation can vary greatly by location and may be higher or lower in your area. Best to check our salary calculator for the most up-to-date data on the going rates in your specific location. 

3. identify the top skills for forklift operators 

To write a job description for a forklift operator in the manufacturing and logistics arenas, you'll need to know what skills to ask for in your job posting. And while the forklift operator's primary job will likely be just that — to operate the forklift — there are other factors you need to consider while defining the necessary skill set, such as familiarity with inventory tracking systems, attention to detail and whether the candidate is familiar with workplace safety practices.

Whatever the skills are, get them down on paper and sort them into two categories: the "must-haves" — skills needed of any candidate, such as knowledge of forklift operation and inventory control — and the "nice-to-haves" — like a driver's license or experience working with material safety data sheets (MSDS) — which aren't required, but will certainly make a candidate more attractive.

Here are the skills most employers require, based on the 67,000 roles posted in the past year:

forklift operation

lifting abilities

occupational health and safety standards

materials transport

detail-oriented mindset

inventory management/controls

4. write an eye-catching job description

The best job descriptions for forklift operators invite readers to visualize themselves in the role, give them a sense of the company culture and entice them to apply. Here are a few tips to make sure your next job posting is as effective as can be.

don't write like a robot
The last thing you want to be in the job description you post is robotic, which may cause potential applicants to interpret the job the same way. To avoid that, make a point of touching on the human aspects of the job. Yes, your operator will need to know that they'll be monitoring oil levels, battery life, and the rest, but that won't entice the best candidates to apply.

Top applicants will also want to know what it's like to work for you and what skills are prized at your company — like whether there's a shot at upward mobility (maybe this is a great starting role with room to advance to floor supervisor), what leadership qualities will help this role serve as an advocate for floor safety or how strong communication and team collaboration skills will help the chosen candidate succeed at your organization.

show how this job is meaningful
Remember that everyone wants to find meaning in their work, so the more you can connect the job to the purpose that it serves — whether that's getting goods in the hands of customers or keeping manufacturing floors efficient and safe — be sure to point it out.

Adding details about the role's everyday contributions can help paint the value that forklift operators bring to your organization. Include clear, accessible language about how they'll track inventory to help the company meet its deadlines (making note of any specific software they should expect to use) and call out any meetings they can attend to share their insights on how operations could be improved.

There are other points of purpose to hit on as well. Do you look for a certain distinguishing characteristic in your warehouse workers — dedication, friendly communications, a collaborative spirit — that serves as a point of pride for the company? Should maintaining a safe work environment be top of the list for whoever comes to occupy this role? Give the candidate things to latch onto that your company values, so they can value them, too.

connect the job to a higher purpose, like customer satisfaction or workplace safety.

make it easy to skim
Your job ad may be one of many that a potential candidate reads in a day, so it's important not to lose your reader once their eyes land on your listing. Make sure you're using brief, easy-to-digest language that cuts to the chase — don't say in 50 words what you can say in 15.

Use bullet points, short paragraphs and subheadings to break up the listing visually and make it easy to skim. Also, start sentences with verbs that describe what the role entails in an actionable way, such as "operate," "cultivate" and "protect."

If you're looking for more tips and insights, head on over to our complete guide to writing job descriptions

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

Before you post your job description, consider the current trends driving the growth in demand for forklift operators. After all, with all the growth and technological evolution taking place in manufacturing and logistics, you need to know what's happening in these industries today in order to ensure optimal business health tomorrow.

Here are a few trends to keep top of mind:

  • Demand for forklift operators is expected to rise six percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Much of that growth can be chalked up to the surge in e-commerce platforms and the warehouses that stock their inventory.

  • Metro areas like Denver, Atlanta and Oakland are expected to see the highest rise in demand for warehouse workers, so employers in those markets will need to expect (and be prepared for) stiff competition. 

To learn more about what's driving growth in hiring for forklift operators, read our 2019 guide to hiring trends in manufacturing and logistics.

Denver, Atlanta and Oakland are the hotbeds of competition.

6. choose your channels to find candidates

There are any number of channels you can use to start your recruitment process — from the standard job boards to employee referrals and beyond. The best channels for you to find your forklift operators can vary depending on the size of your company, your recruitment budget and your specific market. But regardless of those parameters, your primary goal remains the same: finding the best candidate out there.

Depending on your company's specific needs and location, you may find that partnering with a staffing firm is the best route to pursue. Forging such a partnership drives efficiency, since you gain access to a qualified pool of prescreened, vetted candidates — without having to take the time to sift through hundreds of applications.

Get in touch with the manufacturing and logistics experts at Randstad today to get one step closer to finding your next forklift operator. Or, if you'd like to browse our pool of vetted candidates today, head over to our Find Employees portal.

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how to hire a forklift operator.

Posted by Michael Cirigliano on Sep 27, 2019 4:09:53 PM

If you're looking for a forklift operator in the manufacturing and logistics industries, you're not alone. The latest numbers from labor market monitor Burning Glass point to high demand: Nearly 67,000 job postings went up in the last year, with an average of 30 days to fill the role. 

Urgency comes as no surprise. Forklift operators may have humble job titles, but they play an essential role in keeping factory floors humming and getting goods to market on time. So when you need them, you really need them.

But how do you go about finding experienced, reliable forklift operators — and shorten that critical time-to-fill metric? Here are some tips that can help you move the process along:

Ready to get started? Continue reading for key insights on each of these points.

1. speed up your hiring process

Forklift operators transport heavy materials and play an important role in inventory management and manufacturing operations. They're often the people who keep goods moving in warehouses and parts moving around factory floors. And in today's growing e-commerce economy, which relies on a vast network of high-volume distribution centers, having top-notch forklift operators on board is essential. Simply put, every day that a factory floor, warehouse or distribution center operates below capacity puts a strain on supply chains and customer fulfillment.

While that's no reason to rush your hiring process, it is reason to take stock of your recruiting methods and make sure they're as efficient as they can be. This diagram can help you determine whether you're leveraging today's best hiring practices.

2. develop a competitive compensation package

To attract the best forklift operators, you'll need to offer competitive pay. And if you need to get a sense of what "competitive" means in today's tight labor market, Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide can help you make sure that the hourly wages you have in mind are on par with market rates. To kick things off, here are the national averages for forklift operator wages, which, as with any position, varies by level of experience:

entry-level
$14.10/hour

mid-level
$17.03/hour

senior-level
$19.45/hour

While these numbers are a good place to start, keep in mind that compensation can vary greatly by location and may be higher or lower in your area. Best to check our salary calculator for the most up-to-date data on the going rates in your specific location. 

3. identify the top skills for forklift operators 

To write a job description for a forklift operator in the manufacturing and logistics arenas, you'll need to know what skills to ask for in your job posting. And while the forklift operator's primary job will likely be just that — to operate the forklift — there are other factors you need to consider while defining the necessary skill set, such as familiarity with inventory tracking systems, attention to detail and whether the candidate is familiar with workplace safety practices.

Whatever the skills are, get them down on paper and sort them into two categories: the "must-haves" — skills needed of any candidate, such as knowledge of forklift operation and inventory control — and the "nice-to-haves" — like a driver's license or experience working with material safety data sheets (MSDS) — which aren't required, but will certainly make a candidate more attractive.

Here are the skills most employers require, based on the 67,000 roles posted in the past year:

forklift operation

lifting abilities

occupational health and safety standards

materials transport

detail-oriented mindset

inventory management/controls

4. write an eye-catching job description

The best job descriptions for forklift operators invite readers to visualize themselves in the role, give them a sense of the company culture and entice them to apply. Here are a few tips to make sure your next job posting is as effective as can be.

don't write like a robot
The last thing you want to be in the job description you post is robotic, which may cause potential applicants to interpret the job the same way. To avoid that, make a point of touching on the human aspects of the job. Yes, your operator will need to know that they'll be monitoring oil levels, battery life, and the rest, but that won't entice the best candidates to apply.

Top applicants will also want to know what it's like to work for you and what skills are prized at your company — like whether there's a shot at upward mobility (maybe this is a great starting role with room to advance to floor supervisor), what leadership qualities will help this role serve as an advocate for floor safety or how strong communication and team collaboration skills will help the chosen candidate succeed at your organization.

show how this job is meaningful
Remember that everyone wants to find meaning in their work, so the more you can connect the job to the purpose that it serves — whether that's getting goods in the hands of customers or keeping manufacturing floors efficient and safe — be sure to point it out.

Adding details about the role's everyday contributions can help paint the value that forklift operators bring to your organization. Include clear, accessible language about how they'll track inventory to help the company meet its deadlines (making note of any specific software they should expect to use) and call out any meetings they can attend to share their insights on how operations could be improved.

There are other points of purpose to hit on as well. Do you look for a certain distinguishing characteristic in your warehouse workers — dedication, friendly communications, a collaborative spirit — that serves as a point of pride for the company? Should maintaining a safe work environment be top of the list for whoever comes to occupy this role? Give the candidate things to latch onto that your company values, so they can value them, too.

connect the job to a higher purpose, like customer satisfaction or workplace safety.

make it easy to skim
Your job ad may be one of many that a potential candidate reads in a day, so it's important not to lose your reader once their eyes land on your listing. Make sure you're using brief, easy-to-digest language that cuts to the chase — don't say in 50 words what you can say in 15.

Use bullet points, short paragraphs and subheadings to break up the listing visually and make it easy to skim. Also, start sentences with verbs that describe what the role entails in an actionable way, such as "operate," "cultivate" and "protect."

If you're looking for more tips and insights, head on over to our complete guide to writing job descriptions

5. brush up on the latest industry trends

Before you post your job description, consider the current trends driving the growth in demand for forklift operators. After all, with all the growth and technological evolution taking place in manufacturing and logistics, you need to know what's happening in these industries today in order to ensure optimal business health tomorrow.

Here are a few trends to keep top of mind:

  • Demand for forklift operators is expected to rise six percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Much of that growth can be chalked up to the surge in e-commerce platforms and the warehouses that stock their inventory.

  • Metro areas like Denver, Atlanta and Oakland are expected to see the highest rise in demand for warehouse workers, so employers in those markets will need to expect (and be prepared for) stiff competition. 

To learn more about what's driving growth in hiring for forklift operators, read our 2019 guide to hiring trends in manufacturing and logistics.

Denver, Atlanta and Oakland are the hotbeds of competition.

6. choose your channels to find candidates

There are any number of channels you can use to start your recruitment process — from the standard job boards to employee referrals and beyond. The best channels for you to find your forklift operators can vary depending on the size of your company, your recruitment budget and your specific market. But regardless of those parameters, your primary goal remains the same: finding the best candidate out there.

Depending on your company's specific needs and location, you may find that partnering with a staffing firm is the best route to pursue. Forging such a partnership drives efficiency, since you gain access to a qualified pool of prescreened, vetted candidates — without having to take the time to sift through hundreds of applications.

Get in touch with the manufacturing and logistics experts at Randstad today to get one step closer to finding your next forklift operator. Or, if you'd like to browse our pool of vetted candidates today, head over to our Find Employees portal.

Topics: phase:explore, industry:manufacturing & logistics, topic:problems