Think blue-collar workers aren’t comfortable using technology? Well, think again.
At Waste Management, which has more than 42,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada, technology is playing a huge role in improving the speed of its hiring process, reducing it by six days. At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, it’s been instrumental in creating a better experience for job candidates, many of whom are drivers and technicians.
Blue-collar workers today represent about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce, said Kurt Heikkinen, president and CEO of Montage, a provider of interviewing tools that worked with WM to transforms its recruiting processes. “After years of decline, it now represents one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce,” he said, adding that there’s been a resurgence of jobs in industries such as construction, mining and manufacturing.
Speaking at a session titled “How Waste Management Leverages Tech to Engage Blue-Collar Workers” during this week’s Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech LIVE in Las Vegas, Heikkinen said the expectations of today’s job candidate, including those applying for blue-collar jobs, mirrors the expectations of today’s consumer.
“Just as people expect a fast, easy tech-enabled process at home and in daily life,” he explained, “today’s candidates expect the same or even more when it comes to their hiring experience.”
WM Director of Talent Acquisition Alyson Lupa noted that speed and convenience have been two major areas of focus for her team.
To achieve those objectives, she said, WM implemented an on-demand voice technology so candidates could engage in the process when they’re available, not when recruiters are available.
By adding a voice-recorded option, candidates could do a phone screen when it was convenient for them, said Lupa, noting that between the hours of nine to five many may behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Lupa emphasized the word option, since candidates still have the ability to participate in a live screen.
At first, she recalled, some members of the talent-acquisition team wondered if the voice-recorded option might be too impersonal? “But it’s really about the approach,” she explained. “When we send out the email, we’re communicating the … flexibility and ability to move forward in the process quicker.”
Lupa and her team also made sure that the voice recording didn’t sound like it was coming from a robot. “I personally helped our team record the questions we were asking the candidates,” she said.
As to whether the change is paying off for WM, Lupa is convinced the answer is an unequivocal yes, citing the fact that the number of candidates applying through the phone continues to climb daily.