Exploring applicant-tracking systems, cross-training and more

By |  August 24, 2022
Kevin Yanik


A manager’s hiring task is tremendously more difficult today than it was a year or two ago.

Power, in some ways, shifted from employers to employees during the pandemic. Salaries and wages, for example, are higher in 2022, and those who are capable of taking up jobs at aggregate operations have a plethora of options they can choose from outside the industry.

Within recent years, one wave of talent retired and another generation will soon be walking out the door in a development that will compound the hiring challenge employers industrywide face. Producers are doing what they can to consolidate core tasks into fewer jobs, but a critical need for people remains even as operations automate and find ways to do more with less.

As a mine services contractor shared this year: Some of the industry’s best operators excel at production yet struggle with people. This same contractor emphasized the importance of training new employees as a means of getting them to buy into the industry.

Still, getting qualified applicants in for job interviews isn’t easy. When good applicants surface, their résumé or interest in your company may reside with a single person – perhaps even the wrong person. One aggregate producer, however, highlighted the value applicant tracking systems provide, noting how such systems simplify hiring.

As the producer describes, an applicant tracking system ensures those in the organization who ought to know about applicants are notified. Notifications are immediate, too, meaning managers can act decisively.

The systems afford managers the ability to easily communicate with applicants to initiate conversation, set up an interview and move the hiring process along more efficiently.

Says the producer about adopting a system: “I remember the days when we didn’t have one, and it made my head want to explode.”

More food for thought

This same producer discussed the nature of industry jobs with P&Q, as well.

While some operational leaders wear a variety of hats, the producer says some industry employees are restricted to a singular responsibility. The producer argues that employees are empowered when they’re cross-trained and that operations are strengthened when any number of people can step up and handle key tasks.

“A lot of times jobs get really siloed – just do this task, don’t ask questions,” the producer says. “We like hiring people who can do everything – run this piece of equipment, help fix that and come up with strategies to be more efficient.”

Ultimately, molding employees in that fashion makes a manager’s job easier. And in this day and age of labor shortages, managers will take relief wherever they can get it.

Featured photo: kozmoat98/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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