For Wisdom in Your Professional Choices

Creative Hiring in a Booming Market

Statistics and headlines are everywhere. "Oil and gas jobs plentiful in Houston area, state." U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Employment Tops 1 million in 2013.” “Jobs Boom From US Oil and Gas." The positive economic impact of our industry is unmatched – with Texas leading the country in Oil and Gas production, innovation and employment trends. The majority of the growth in 20l3 was concentrated in oil and gas extraction drilling and support activities. In the first half of 20l3 the US Oil and Gas Industry added a net 23,700 jobs for a net growth of 2.4% reports TIRO. Moreover, during the past l2 months from June 20l2 to June 20l3, the industry grew by as much a 5.7 percent a figure that topped the overall private sector. And the growth will only continue. But is this really good news when the demand for experienced employees exceeds the supply? "The industry is witnessing unprecedented shortages of talent at a time of persistent unemployment," stated Lesley Hoare, vice president human capital management business transformation, Oracle, during a session discussing how the industry needs to focus on talent alternatives to fill vacant positions. So what alternatives are available, and once we secure a good employee by these alternative methods, what can we do to retain this talent?

As a recruiter specializing the oil and gas industry for the last 30 years, I thought I would share some tips that have proven successful in securing excellent employees for my clients. A creative approach to hiring can be beneficial. Have you ever considered skills matching rather than experience matching? What are the benefits to this approach, and why might this work in securing a solid employee that would make a significant contribution and stay long term.

Often I get a call from an employer that goes something like this: "I hired this candidate 6 months ago. His resume had the exact experience I wanted. I paid him a whopper of a salary, and he's left for what he tells me is a better opportunity. I need you to find me a replacement right away." Well, let's talk about Jason, a true success story. Jason was a December 20l2 graduate with a B.S. in Forestry. He came to see me in June and had not been able to find a job since he graduated. When I interviewed Jason, I noticed his high GPA, his computer skills were off the charts, and he had a strong math and science aptitude. He told me he wanted a job that would utilize those skills, as his situation was not conducive to him going out to the woods to become a Forest Ranger. He told me he didn't want a job that confined him to a desk. At the time, I had a job at an OCTG manufacturing plant that was a coordinator type position. What was required in this job was the ability to synthesize technical data, put it into report form, and interface with many departments. My client hesitated to see him as he didn't have exact experience, but I convinced him to see him anyway as I told him I felt he had transferable skills that would fit nicely into the position. He did hire Jason at a much lower salary than what he would have had to pay for an experienced person, and since June Jason has been promoted twice and more than doubled his salary. The client is extremely pleased with him and Jason couldn't be happier. Why is that? Because the skills he had were a match for what the position required.

Robert is another example of skills matching. I had a position with a tubular client for an inside sales representative. Robert had no related industry experience and had been a waiter at a popular restaurant. He told me he made more tips than any other waiter, often worked double shifts, and had always been in leadership roles. He was the Captain of his baseball team, tutored students in school, and was extremely service oriented. Well the rest is history. I place Robert at a salary much lower than market standards, and his first year he sold 9 million dollars. In three years he's now the lead Sales representative and makes well over 6 figures.

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