Manufacturers Fired Too Many

Manufacturers fired more than necessary. Now they should be poised to hire, but only a particular type of candidate.


Since 2008, many manufacturing, supply-chain and consumer products businesses have been in a state of crisis.

The result was a perfect storm of bad news for Frank Laux, the president and founder of Strategic Search Partners, based in Keller, Texas, and a specialist in such industries.

“Manufacturing has been hit so hard by the economic crisis,” he said, “especially as far as plant managers and these kinds of positions are concerned.”

For months, plants weren’t hiring, only firing. But they went too far, Laux said — fired too many — and the echo effect reverberating now is an opportunity for recruiters and job seekers alike.

Companies understand that their ability to grow their way out of the recession hinges on these crucial employees; however, a job seeker must be at the top of his game.

“I have functional expertise in the supply-chain and manufacturing areas, so I focus on jobs like vice president of supply-chain management, purchasing director, plant managers,” he said. “But these clients are extremely particular, and they won’t even consider a candidate who isn’t 100 percent perfect.”

The “perfect” candidate in this industry must have a proven track record of constant success and be able to hit the ground running in any position, he said.

“Whomever they hire has to be a success immediately,” he said. “There’s no margin for error, and there’s no learning curve allowed. These candidates have to have experience in management in a really tough economic environment; they have to be able to show they can cut costs, run things more efficiently and generate profits.”

Laux said in this industry, “action-oriented candidates” have the best chance of landing a position. Action-oriented candidates generate results immediately; need minimal training; and are ready, willing and able to prove themselves from their first day on the job.

“Ninety-nine percent of the applicants I see are not perfect. They don’t meet the minimum requirements, they don’t have leadership or management skills,” he said. “But the most important factor I have to look for is someone who is bottom-line focused and results oriented. The person who can demonstrate [that] she is, is the superior candidate.”