The “Mechanics” of Recruiting Technicians Abroad


As we all know, there is a shortage of qualified, motivated journeyperson technicians in our farm and construction equipment industries across North America. With the need for technicians growing, the labor market is tight with other industries pulling talent, thus finding, and keeping ag technicians has become one of the biggest challenges for equipment dealers.

Your association has been working on developing an international recruitment program designed specifically for NAEDA dealers, to assist our members with their workforce development challenges. NAEDA has undertaken a new project to build out a full-service resource for dealers who need expertise in building an entire recruitment program, or for those who have a full internal human resource team but only need assistance in finding suitable candidates, or for those somewhere in the middle.

Larry Hertz, Vice President – Canada, has been quarterbacking this project and says, “This project has been led by our Canadian office. In the past, we led several foreign recruitment initiatives in Europe and the U.K., and those efforts were successful in assisting dealers in finding foreign mechanics. We realize this has been an issue for quite some time with more and more dealers needing to hire one or two technicians per location, so we had several conversations with dealers who had recruited internationally in order to refine best practices. We started working with one of our associate members, Parent & Associates, who had been working with Arch Staffing and Consulting (ARCH). Over the last year or so we worked on building a playbook and a best-in-class international recruitment program and we are pleased to advise that they are now NAEDA’s endorsed partner on international recruitment.”

“Over the last year or so we worked with Arch Staffing and Consulting on building a playbook and a best-in-class international recruitment program and we are pleased to advise that they are now NAEDA’s endorsed partner on international recruitment.” –  Larry Hertz, Vice President, NAEDA Canada

Over the past year as the program was built and refined, one key learning was that every dealer’s needs are unique. Therefore, the program is built as an “a la carte” offering, whereby the dealer can choose only those specific elements of the program they need. That could be expertise in the provincial, state, or federal program application process, or immigration support, or simply recruiting suitable candidates. The program is built with this flexibility, pick and choose what you need or choose the full suite of services and support, or somewhere in the middle.

“Some dealers may have a fully staffed and capable human resource department who simply do not have time to add international recruitment to their plate, while others may have only one or two people who manage everything HR and lack the expertise along with not knowing where to even start the process. Ultimately, we want the program and our dealer members to be successful, no matter what their specific needs are,” said Hertz.

Focusing originally on Canada, a survey was sent to Canadian dealers on their thoughts to international recruitment. “Since the survey was sent out, we are now working with 10 Canadian dealer groups in various stages of engagement with our partner, Arch Staffing and Consulting,” said Hertz. “We are also currently working with two dealer groups in the U.S. and following up with another 15 dealer groups to better understand their people needs and expectations of the program. Currently, ARCH’s recruiting efforts are focused on South Africa with two recruiters on the ground to actively recruit and present candidates to those participating in the program.” As the need grows and the talent pools shrink, other source countries will be added to hopefully meet the demand.

Part of this recruitment program entails ARCH’s in-country presence which includes conducting face-to-face interviews, administering the NAEDA Ag Technician test, having discussions with candidates’ families, and making sure they would be comfortable in the community they move to, which are all important to the success of their integration. Another aspect are the differences in culture between countries, which could be employment practices, a typical work day, work day humor or simply providing a better understanding of the culture in another country, which is why virtual cultural training workshops are delivered to the new recruit and their family along with the dealership staff where the new employee will work. Hertz continued, “The key piece is in recruiting people from countries that they don’t want to return to, and the willingness of people wanting to move out of South Africa is strong, which benefits companies in North America.”

Another aspect of the program is that it is not exclusive, therefore dealers are free to continue working with current or past recruitment partners in addition to engaging Arch Staffing & Consulting.

There are four phases to the International Recruitment Program:

PHASE 1 – Government Applications and Marketing Materials

PHASE 2 – Recruitment

PHASE 3 – Immigration

PHASE 4 – Settlement and Cultural Awareness Training

Article Written By NAEDA STAFF


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