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How Hiring is Like Coatings Technology

January 18, 2024
Hiring like coatings technology

As a coatings recruiter, I love analogies and metaphors that help clients and candidates understand the hiring process. The comparison between hiring and the formulation and application of coatings is one that has been very effective in helping people understand hiring key success factors they hadn’t considered. 

Why the Comparison Works 

The relationship of candidates and employees to the Company parallels the relationship of coatings to the substrate they’re applied to.  

There are just so many great analogies! Here are a few examples from the perspective of raw materials: 

  • Resin: The resin determines many of the fundamental characteristics of a coating. Candidate overall experience, skills, and education are the foundation of their qualifications. 
  • Solvent: The solvent helps to disperse the resin and other components of the coating. Candidate soft skills such as EQ determine how well the hard skills and experience actually function in practice in the workplace. 
  • Pigments: Pigments are a primary influence on the visual impact of the coating and color is one of the first things people notice. Some are designed to grab attention, others to deflect it. And color matching is a topic all on its own! Candidate personality, values and attributes contribute significantly to how they are “seen” and how well they align with others in the organization.  
  • Fillers: Fillers add bulk and opacity to the coating. Some filers have real performance or application value, while others just make a product cheaper to manufacture or sell… it’s the same with people! An insightful client once told me, ten years of experience is not the same as one year of experience, ten times. 
  • Additives: Additives impart specific performance properties to the coating. In the same way, niche skills and experience on unique projects or in specific situations can make a candidate particularly well-suited for a certain role.  

The Importance of Adhesion 

One of the most fundamental requirements of any coating is adhesion to the substrate. The coating formulation, substrate preparation/pretreatment, and also the innate compatibility of the two, all influence that adhesion. It’s no secret that the majority  of coating failures come from surface or application issues, or from harsh conditions in use, or the wrong choice of coating in the first place, not from inherently poor formulation. 

A good hire will stick with the company for the long term. Sure, a lot of that is about the individual – and a serial job hopper is definitely analogous to a poor formulation – but the company also has to be well-prepared to be attractive to a good candidate for a particular role; and there has to be a good cultural fit, to avoid failure of the relationship during challenging conditions.  

How to Improve Your Chances of a Successful Hire 

 If you want to improve your chances of making a successful hire, there are a few things you can do: 

  • Start by clearly defining the role. What are the specific skills, experience, and values that you are looking for in a candidate? Just as you formulate for particular performance characteristics or environmental conditions, you hire someone to achieve specific goals in your particular company culture  
  • Use objective methods to identify the right candidate. Just as you test samples consistently, assess candidates consistently, with tools that accurately test the specific characteristics you are after.  
  • Provide a good onboarding experience. Surface Prep! Help the new get off to a good start. Lack of good onboarding (especially time with the direct boss)  is a major source of turnover – in the all important early days, your new employee needs to know what’s expected of them and that the resources are there to achieve it. Do not leave this part to chance, or to HR. 

The Takeaways 

Here are the key takeaways to help your future hiring: 

  • Understand what you want a candidate to accomplish in a role for accurate position requirements. Don’t just list responsibilities. 
  • Be aware of the impression created during the hiring process. 
  • Ensure adequate resources are provided during onboarding and throughout their tenure. 
  • Attracting and retaining top talent is linked to the above practices. 

And, on the other side of the desk as a candidate: 

  • Objectively assess: your primary motivation, your greatest strengths, your core competencies, and your weaknesses. Not all coatings are suitable for all applications. The same is true for people! 
  • Recognizing the real expectations for a role is vital when seeking a new position. 
  • Like qualifying a resin platform, knowing yourself helps determine ahead of time if an opportunity is a good fit for you and avoids wasted time and emotional energy on something that really, deep down, you know wasn’t going to be the right thing for you. 

Understanding and applying the parallels between hiring and coatings technology can increase the chances that a new hire will stick with the company for the long term – whichever side of the matter you’re on!. 

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