Solutions Driven

How to Attract Passive Candidates to Meet the Growing Demand For Electric Vehicles

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As EV production and demand grows, the supply chain for electric vehicle batteries is coming under strain. The need to ramp up quickly means companies must start attracting passive candidates to fill their talent gaps.

American President Joe Biden recently unveiled a $2 trillion jobs, infrastructure, and green energy proposal. One of the main focuses of it is increasing electric vehicle production to help lower emissions and promote a more sustainable USA. This sounds great on paper but you’ll know there are complications if you work in the electric vehicle industry.  

According to JP Morgan, by 2025, EV and hybrid will account for estimated 30% of all vehicle sales.  The UK is joining the US in pushing EVs, banning the sale of new Internal Combustion Engine vehicles  – new petrol and diesel cars and vans – by 2030, and there’s growing worry that the supply chain just won’t keep up.  

attract passive candidates

Celina Mikolajczak, Vice President of battery technology at Panasonic Energy of North America commented in SupplyChainDive recently:  

“How do you quickly scale an industry by 100 times? You need more raw materials, the skilled talent and machines to extract the raw materials, the factories to process the raw materials into cell components, and then the factories to turn those components into cells.” 

Increasingly, EV manufacturers are making their own batteries, or investing in regional battery suppliers to guarantee a good supply. So the sector needs top talent more than ever before. But how do you secure the best candidates in a specialised industry that’s growing so rapidly?  

Increased Movement in the EV Supply Chain

As with any period of change, there’s a lot of movement happening in the automotive industry. Traditional manufacturers are moving into Electric Vehicles, new suppliers are opening up, and existing businesses are expanding. There’s no lack of competition.  

Businesses are working harder than ever to keep hold of their top talent which means candidates can be passive. Especially with the global upheaval happening making people wary to move and scared of being the “first in, last out” if things change.  

Increased Localisation

Until recently, the majority of electric vehicle batteries were produced in Asia. (97% in Japan, Korea, and China.) However, as the Western world increases production, they’re trying to protect their EV supply chain by increasing local production.  

EV supply chain

Which means a bigger push for skilled employees in specific areas which might not have that workforce in place. While there will clearly be a push for upskilling current workforces and increased education to attract graduates and newly skilled workers, teams will need to be built quickly.  

That means persuading candidates to relocate.  

How to Go About Attracting Passive Candidates?

If you’re looking to scale battery production, one of your main target goals will be attracting passive candidates. While you might decide to go after graduates and people affected by ICE slowdowns, you’ll still want skilled workers who know the industry well.  

The problem is that these workers often don’t want to move roles. They know their current company, it’s likely they’ll be earning good wages, and they won’t be looking for other jobs. So how do you engage passive candidates like them?  

In a growing industry like EV, there’s often not the time for internal teams to spend putting the hours into engaging with passive candidates. Much like with sales, candidates need multiple touch points before they’ll even talk to a business.  

Candidates Like to Feel Sold To

Whether someone is looking for a new role or not, they like to feel they’re being sold to. As though your business is keen to get them onboard. And if they move, they’ll be secure in their new position. 

attracting passive candidates

With a 2019 survey by Indeed showing 13% of job seekers ghosted a business because there wasn’t enough engagement with the recruiter or Hiring Manager, selling the business to a candidate is vital.  

Have a Great CVP (Candidate Value Proposition)

Electric Vehicles are an exciting and relatively new market. Despite the recruitment difficulties that can pose, it means you have a chance to easily stand out against less recruitment-mature competitors. One of the main ways you can do that is through your candidate value proposition.  

Why Would Someone Want to Work For You?

Salary and benefits are only part of it. According to Glassdoor 47% of job-seekers say a good work-life balance is most important to them, while 37% say it’s the workplace culture. Many job seekers will look into a business‘s diversity and social consciousness credentials too.  And if you need talent from elsewhere to relocate, you need to show them why it’s worth their while:  

  • Flexible working. If the job doesn’t require being in-office all the time, can people work from home? Is there the ability to flex working hours? That small move could vastly widen your talent pool. 
  • Diversity. How diverse does your business present itself? If the answer is not very, what can you do to change that? Consider building diversity into hiring KPIs, showing your diverse workforce and their stories on your careers page, and setting up groups for women or minorities. Then promote those things, vocally, so potential employees are aware of what you’re doing. 
  • Flexible Benefits. No, we don’t mean Friday beers, we mean benefits that actually improve employees’ lives. If you’re in a country without universal healthcare, do you have a great healthcare plan? Do you allow mental health or professional development days? Talk to your internal team about what they’d like. Not everyone’s’ wants or needs will be the same so also take that into consideration. 
  • Progression. Does your business offer good progression opportunities? Can someone with drive and skills expect to climb the ladder, and how? Look at putting in place internal mobility and learning and development plans to help with attracting passive candidates who might be feeling frustrated in their current positions.
EV supply chain

Then talk about it, in person, on your website, and on your social media. Encourage your internal team to promote the positives of the workplace so word of mouth spreads. And get your partners to promote it. If you’re working with an external recruiter, are they embodying your candidate value proposition and engaging with candidates throughout the process?  

Gather Information on the Market

Electric vehicles are a growth industry. And in growth industries, recruitment can be the last thing on people’s minds. But when it’s vital for growth, you need to get it right.  

One way to do that is through data and intelligence. With the right data, you’ll be able to see if there are talent pools in other locations that you’re missing and find out whether you’re paying the right amounts and offering the correct benefits. In turn, that can help move along discussions with prospects and ensure you’re talking to the right people with the right information.  

At Solutions Driven, we offer a talent mapping service that helps businesses discover this information, so they can use it to guide talent searches. We can also take this information and our recruitment insights and attracting passive candidates in a way that busy talent managers don’t necessarily have time to.  

Hiring for Potential

The way we work is continually changing. The WEF estimates that by 2030, 1 billion people will need to be re-skilled. That’s pretty pertinent in an industry as (relatively) new as EVs.  

What people currently know is less important than what they have the ability to learn in the future. That means hiring for their potential, as well as their current skills. One of the ways you can do that is through the nine box grid and/or psychometric tests.  

At Solutions Driven, we use both of these tools to tell us about a candidate’s potential.  

The nine box grid tell us where someone currently sits in terms of their capabilities and where they have the potential to go.

attracting passive candidates

High Performance Indicator Tests and DISC tests can help ascertain how someone will fit into an organisation and how they will deal with change and high-pressure situations, both important if a person will need to continually learn as part of their role.  

Don’t Lose Good Employees to Competitors

Your business won’t be the only one in the Electric vehicle industry that’s trying to source passive candidates. Your competitors will be doing the same.  

So it’s important to work on keeping your good employees while sourcing others. There are a few ways to do this:

Work on Your EVP (Employee Value Proposition)

Like the CVP, your employee value proposition needs to be tangible, but also visible. Find out what your employees actually want from the workplace by doing an employee engagement survey.

EV supply chain

Ask them how they feel about their workplace, what you are doing well, and what you could be doing better. Ask them about benefits and workplace culture.

And then listen to them and try to implement any suggestions that could work and benefit both the company and the employees.  

Other things to think about in your EVP are:  

  • Salary benchmarking. How do you stack up against the competition? Companies like Hayes can offer benchmarking services that will let you ensure you’re not underpaying (or overpaying). This will stop competitors taking off with your best talent because of salary issues.  
  • Internal mobility. If you don’t have an internal mobility plan, you could lose talented employees. When employees, particularly in a growth industry like electric vehicles feel they don’t have a progression route, they’re more likely to leave. It’s an easy way for your competitors to activate your passive talent and for you to lose great people. Take a look at our internal mobility guide here. 

In any growth industry, recruitment sometimes falls to the bottom of the priorities list. Everyone *knows* it’s important but there isn’t the time or resources to dedicate to getting hiring right. The recruitment process also becomes even more difficult when your goal is attracting passive candidates. But by improving your EVP and CVP and gaining intelligence on the market, you’ll immediately be ahead of the competition.

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