There are four things that we’re looking for from your reference. And so this is crucial for you to think about when you’re when you’re looking to get somebody to give you a reference. Here are the four things that they need to be able to speak to about your background.
Well, hello, and welcome to The Skillwork Forum, my name’s Tim, I’m joined my partner, Brett, as always here. And as a reminder here on The Skillwork Forum, we gather on about a weekly rhythm to talk about industry issues, emerging trends, just challenges surrounding the skilled trades. And a few episodes ago, I think it was Episode 31, we answered a question that we hear pretty routinely from the skill craftsmen that we try to recruit to our model is, “why why would I go to a travel staffing model?” So we we delved into that and explained the benefits to you as a skilled craftsmen and why you might want to pursue a company like Skillwork. And we’re going to kind of continue on that theme and answer another question that we get fairly routinely. It says, “How do I get higher pay? How do I get more pay in the trades?” So that’s what we’re going to focus on today. And we know Brett, it’s not just pay, people are motivated by a lot of different things when they go seek another job or another opportunity, right?
Yeah, no, for sure, you know, we obviously get to talk to a lot of skilled trades, individuals. And so we we hear a variety of different things. And so clearly, I mean, probably in any season, but in this this COVID world that we continue to come up come out of, you know, being furloughed or being laid off, or businesses closing, obviously, we’ve, we’ve had a lot of communication with with individuals in the last year, where just the necessity to go find another job because of you may have lost your job, or the business has closed has definitely been an issue.
And so, you know, another one, you know, is just for a lot of people, you know, obviously pay is always key. But there’s also, you know, there’s that just, they want a little more flexibility. You know, I’m not saying that a travel job, per se, or you know, in what we do, and placing guys on contract doesn’t necessarily create you more flexibility, obviously, to be home more necessarily while you’re out. But it does create a lot more control for you what we call work plus freedom. So you get to choose where and when and kind of the kind of how you want to work and those kinds of things in that in the midst in between done there, we do create a lot of flexibility for some time off as well.
Yeah, so I mean, a lot, these are some of the reasons that you may be looking and thinking about another opportunity. Brett mentioned a few that are pretty routine, sometimes people are just stagnated or bored in what you’re currently doing, you’re not being challenged, you’re looking for an opportunity to grow, that’ll sometimes motivate you to look for another opportunity. Or maybe it’s just, I need to expand my skill set, I need to get more experience and maybe we’ll talk about a little later and and maybe an area where there’s more opportunity for me to not only seek more pay, but but kind of move into a different area of the country or, or a variety of things, but a lot of times people just looking for an opportunity to grow.
Yeah. And then obviously the you know, a big one for a lot of people is the culture is is you know, how, how toxic is the environment that they’re in? I was talking to a gentleman last week that I won’t mention the company. And so, but he was making upwards of $36 an hour. And so it wasn’t a pay issue. No, it was an absolute toxic environment, right. And he said he was willing to, he wasn’t gonna go work for $20 an hour, but he was he was looking to make a move, even if he had to make a little bit less money. So sometimes it’s just the environment, it’s just not a good environment, whether it’s the overall culture or just as an individual, you feel disrespected or undervalued.
Yeah, and we’ve talked about a lot of those things. And, you know, we just want to before we delve into this last point about, you know, how do I make, I want to, I want to get more pay, I want to increase my wage and how do I do that we want to just mention these other things. So we recognize it. It’s not always just pay, but it’s always a factor in the example you just gave. He wasn’t just going to go work for anything. Money was a factor, but it wasn’t maybe the driving factor. So today we are going to focus on on that. So you’re out there right now and you feel like you’re skilled craftsmen you feel like you’re being undervalued or underpaid, and you’re looking for an opportunity, like all of us are, how do I increase that I want a better standard, why if I want more opportunity for my family. So, as a skilled tradesmen, how do you get higher pay? We’re going to cover five things it’s not an exhaustive list, but we think are things that we see routinely, that give our skilled workers the best opportunity to get a higher paying job. And sometimes we encourage our skilled workers to pursue some of these things in order to get a higher paying job. So these are some of the things that we’ll cover today to help you. So if you have a pen or pencil, take notes, and maybe maybe you can take one of these to help you get that opportunity to expand what you’re bringing home every day.
So the first thing we’re going to talk about is really, we hit on a lot is experience. You know, experience is crucial, you need to make sure that you’re properly leveraging the experience you have, and all the work opportunities you’ve had. So make sure those are clearly articulated. And I guess those all get culminated in a resume. A resume is kind of an old school document, but it really is still very much in use today. Even a company like ours that uses a lot of advanced technology to place and find and recruit skilled craftsmen is still the resume. That’s your calling card. So make sure that your experiences are really clearly concisely documented in a resume, it’s results-oriented and the skills that you have are highlighted and by all means, please, while we’re on resume, you know, no spelling errors, make sure somebody else has looked at it, that sort of thing. So as far as experience goes, though, and leveraging your experiences on emphasize what you’ve learned along the way, make sure you don’t take for granted some of the jobs you’ve had, that you just assume everybody will understand. Don’t do that, make sure that you clearly articulate your experiences, your track record, especially showing levels of increased responsibility or exposure to different skill sets, and get creative- translate maybe a career from a different domain into what you’re trying to do today. An example we have oftentimes military, guys coming out of the military, you know, maybe you were a Navy jet mechanic, or maybe you worked on a flight deck of an aircraft carrier that maintained all the gear that was used to support the aircraft flight operation. So take that experience that you’ve done, maybe you’ve learned how to troubleshoot, problem-solve under pressure. Certainly, if you’ve been in the military, you definitely know preventative maintenance measures they are I don’t think anyone does it to the degree that they do in the Navy, because you’re in a corrosive environment. Maybe you’ve while you were in the military, you lead a small team, or in a different company, you lead a small team, make sure you highlight that, all that translates well into some of the opportunities we have. So first thing, make sure you highlight your experience and make sure that it’s well documented in your resume.
Yeah, that’s, that’s very true. I mean, nothing, nothing replaces experience. I mean, you know, we can get all the, all the education, all the certification, we’re going to talk about that here in a second. But then applying it and find that experience. I would encourage to, along with that Tim is for especially maybe people earlier in their career, you know, seek opportunities, not always necessarily immediately for the most money, but for the opportunity where you can really gain experience, get mentored, get trained, it will pay dividends down the road, when you you have been given that opportunity to be more of a troubleshooter, know electrical, because you you you took an environment, you put yourself in an environment where that opportunity was there, so. So onthe certifications, and the training, and the education.
And so obviously one of the biggest ways that we would encourage each of you, if you if you find yourself and we hear it and and we we see it, a lot of people comment about well, I’m undervalued and underpaid, they don’t pay people you can’t make a decent living doing this. And the truth is, there’s truth in that statement. There are still many of the skilled labor positions. I kind of separate skilled labor and skilled trade a little bit. To me, skilled trade is a little more you’ve already kind of you’ve got a little bit more skills, you’re more certified, you’re probably working on equipment, you’re doing those kinds of things, versus skilled labor, which is a little bit more so sometimes, like in the construction space. I think I think it’s fair to say that there’s still some undervaluing of that skilled labor if you’re, you have a crap that you’re, you’re a painter or you’re you know, different things. And that, I think they are underpaid, and I think they’ve got to get those those wages up. And so But instead of just being upset about or, or that you’ve got to have a plan, you got to say, well, what, where is there more opportunity, you know, I’ll give you a perfect example. You know, we we place guys in individual or individuals and plants that are more mechanical type type jobs, and that can be anywhere from to be honest with you, there’s still facilities out there trying to hire guys at $18 to $22 an hour. And we pretty much tell them upfront, we probably can’t help you. And, and so, but on the flip side of that, we also have some facilities that much more guys have the certifications, they’ve gotten the training, they’ve gotten the education. And those jobs consistently, you talked about it, whether it be PLC, knowledge, or just control technician, there’s technology, HMI systems, if you’re a skilled trade guy, you know, and you’re in that space, you know, what HMI means. And so as we get in this further sophistication and automation in these plants, those jobs consistently are paying, you know, north of $30 an hour, we have a client right now that that, that, you know, is upwards of $35 an hour for control technician.
So if you’re in that $18, $19, $20, you go and I can’t you know, I can’t raise my family on this. But it’s not easy, it’s going to take some effort, you’re going to have to have a plan to, to really work on getting those certifications. But whether it’s trade schools, I mean, there’s there’s a ton of opportunities, there’s online programs, you know, I would don’t get into that telling yourself like, I’m too old, I can’t learn it, I don’t want to learn it or whatever. I mean, if you’re, you know, the motivated, if you’re motivated, the opportunity is there, you know, we tell our folks here in the office here, that, you know, if you don’t have a personal development plan, you really don’t have a plan to grow. And so it’s the same for the for the skilled trades, you got to have a plan to improve yourself, if you want to increase your pay, you’ve got to not only have the experience, but you also have to improve your skill, set your certification be a constant learner. And if you do, I know we see it, you know, we were placing guys that, you know, we just took a guy recently because he had the certifications. He had the skill set. And he went from making mid 20s to mid 30s. You know, just by one job move. Yeah, but he was ready. It’s kinda like they say, you got to get ready, you know, to be ready. And so,
Yeah, that’s great. That’s great advice. And I know, we push that here. And it’s really the opportunity, you have to invest in yourself, I think what Brad’s getting at and, you know, invest in yourself by continually growing, gaining new skills. And we’ve we’ve got our own emphasis here, we’re trying to give guys opportunities and partnering with community colleges and trade schools to get guys those certifications. So you have some experience, the first point we make, you get a couple of advanced certifications, or you go from, you know, maybe maybe you get certified as a journeyman level where, you know, before you were just entry level, those sort of things are crucial. And it shows that you have a willingness to desire and a desire to grow and improve. So that speaks volumes about yourself.
So that’s point number one, point number two point number three, what can you do to make yourself better candidate to get higher wage or earn more money. The third most important thing we see this often is make sure you have very strong references that can confirm your resume assertions. And by that, I mean, I can put anything in resume. I mean, I can, I’m pretty creative writing, I can write all kinds of things in my resume. But having somebody that I can refer somebody to, to validate my assertions is crucial. So for you think about before you go pursuing another job, and you know, maybe you got a certification, you got your resume ready to go your experiences there. Go find references that you’ve worked with in the past, that respect what you do, the way you bring, that we’ll be able to speak on your behalf. It is crucial. I know we have mandatory that every person we bring on to Skillwork, that we have references that we check, and we have specific questions that we ask. And there are four things that we’re looking for from your reference. And so this is crucial for you to think about when you’re when you’re looking to get somebody to give you a reference, here are the four things that they need to be able to speak to about your background. The first is to dependability. How many times have we heard Brett, “We just want guys show up”?
No. Yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately, that’s yes. For many companies that’s it’s lowered, the bar is lowered to that point. The reality is they want you to have some skills but but they’ll start out with just I just need guys that will show up for work.
Yeah, I mean, hopefully the skills are there. But when when I’m calling a reference, I want to know, hey, how dependable is a guy? Does he show up routinely? Did you have to worry about him missing work? And so that’s key. Are you dependable? Get a reference that’ll validate that. Second: What’s your work ethic like? Can they validate and assure a third party, that you work hard, you jump in where and when needed? Like, are you willing to do the job as required to get get us, you know, get that line back in production, those sort of things. So work ethic, make sure that they can refer to your work ethic. The second is, or the third thing is attitude. How important is that, that we could validate somebody’s attitude?
Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t matter how skilled you are. If you’re a jerk, you know, you’re a jerk. And and people won’t, you know, they’ll they’ll put up with it for a little while, you know, you can get away with it for a little while, if you’re really skilled. I talked to a great guy the other day. Let me rephrase that. I talked to a really skilled guy the other day, that was a jerk. And I told his his recruiter, you know, our agent out here for these guys. Probably not a guy that I would feel comfortable the skill does he is putting out there because you can just tell just doesn’t have the right attitude. Yeah.
So when you get a reference, have somebody speak to that. And if you do have an issue with your attitude, you know, be willing to grow in that area is really crucial. And finally, the fourth thing, no brainer, do you have the skills you say you do. So get your references lined up is crucial important. So we talked about experience, we talked about certifications and training, we talked about getting strong references, that’s three and number four, and is
Prepare. So you need to get prepared for the interview process. So all these things that we’ve talked about up to here, obviously, this is all leading to trying to get a higher paid job. So ultimately, then you’re going to have to apply and interview for that job. And so in our, in our world, because we’re you know, we’re a travel staffing company for the skilled trades, everything is done through technology. So it’s even more important, when you have an opportunity. Basically, you’re in today’s world, we’ve all gotten a lot more comfortable with it or at least we’ve gotten a lot more familiar with it, whether we’re comfortable or not. And that is the whole idea of of a Zoom meeting or in our case we use RingCentral zoom meetings or, virtual interview. And so whether you’re going to be sitting in front of the individual, or whether you’re going to be basically talking over a you know, an audio/video via the computer or your iPad, being prepared is so key.
We see so many situations where really talented individuals, guys with all the right things, they have the dependability, the work ethic, the attitude and the skills, and they interview so poorly. Yeah. And, and they’re not ready. They’re distracted. I mean, it’s it’s really important you’ve got you know, as we always say you got you got one chance to make a first impression. And and so you can’t you can’t take that too lightly. So, you know, destroy, be have good questions. prepared, be very attentive. Study the company, you know, we try to like when we have guys interview, we try to send out information. Here’s the job description here. Some of the equipment if it’s a manufacturing type data with a job site, if it’s a construction, here’s the job site, we try to provide them information so that they can do a little research and be prepared. And it makes all the difference in the world.
It really does. You know what I mean? What you said it rings so true. We’ve had guys that are just slam dunk, qualified, you know, right, humble. And they you know, they get an interview and they just absolutely… and they say… I get feedback, “So how’d it go, I mean, I assume everything’s great?” “Oh, the guy just, he was terrible”… we just, you know. So not all of us are gifted in the ability or comfortable in the ability, I get it. So make put a little time and effort into preparing like Brett said, you know, even if it means having somebody record you and then going back and looking at that, or having somebody ask you some questions, it’s usually about a 20 to 30 minute interview process that can determine the difference between you getting that great job to pay you the wage you want and and remaining right where you are.
So, some of the things that we tell our guys be professional, prepared. I mean, Brett mentioned study the company. Where are they located? What town are they in? And what are their main products? What do they emphasize in their culture? You can get on Google and spend 20-30 minutes and you learn a ton about that, it shows that you’re interested. And also we would tell you think about in terms of how you can help them solve their problem. Many times are, we see skilled workers immediately begin to start focusing on themselves. And you should, in a sense that you’re talking about selling your capability, but not about trying to see what advantage you can personally get out of this opportunity. The focus should be, how can you bring your skill set to their problem and help them resolve some of their, their issues? And we would also tell you prepare some questions ahead of time, because every interview I’ve been in, they’re always, they always say, “Well, do you have any questions for us?” Right?
Yep. Yep, they always do. And some of the guys have thought about that, again, it all comes back to being prepared. You know, I mean, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, study, go back and write down and study, I can’t tell how many times and this isn’t necessarily going to make or break the interview. But but it will make it a great one versus a good one. I have many guys that will will interview and something as simple as they can’t remember the name of the one this other facility I worked on, I worked on this, but I can’t remember what it was called. Where if they taken probably 20 minutes, the day before and just wrote down some of their history and looked at it. Because otherwise you start to freeze. And once you start to freeze that now that’s in your mind while they’re asking you the next question, and it just starts to snowball.
Yeah, write some notes down. I mean, Brett and I, we keep notes here, because we have memory leaks. So to make sure that we don’t miss critical points. And, you know, here’s the other thing, I think it’s important to just like, they always ask you questions, I would say, be prepared to have three to five questions ready, that you can ask them good questions that again, focus on on their problem, you know, “hey, what can I share about my skills that would make me an ideal candidate? What have I not answer clearly enough for you?” Things like that. Those are some good examples. Some bad examples are like, “Well, I don’t have to work second shift, do I?” Or, you know, things that are just come across self serving and negative. I mean, do you have any brief examples in any of your interviews?
Oh, I’m sure I do. But you know, it’s, but you’re right. It’s, you want to be really, I think two things. And sometimes it’s that individuals get nervous, they’re not prepared. And so, you know, we had a recent guy, he’s a really good guy, and he probably still will get the job, you know, but he, he called me after, he went, that was the worst interview I’ve ever done. And it was all he did was, he got talking about his work history. And I don’t think he took a breath for about five minutes. And I could see he was losing, he was losing the guy on the other end, even though it was all good stuff. You got to you got to pause and let them ask a question. You know, it’s a, communication is, two way, you know, you got to listen, and you got to talk. And so it’s the same in an interview, the more you can get that interaction between is so critical. And then to your point, Tim, and it happens, is do not go negative. Do not I don’t care if you work for the worst place in the world. Don’t go there, it will not sell well.
Yeah, my last boss was a jerk. Don’t talk about that. And even though, the now here’s, we do these interviews. So you, they will ask you because they’re trying to assess, you know, what your attitude is like, so they’ll say, you know, tell me something about your last job you didn’t like, you know, so I mean, immediately, every one of us could jump to something we don’t like, right? Because nothing’s perfect. But you want to spin that around and go like, you know, I’m sure there were some days that weren’t as great as others, but overall was just a good experience. I appreciate the opportunity to learn there. That’s how you answer that question. You don’t start getting into Well, I worked with this guy, Brett. I’m telling you, man, he just drove me insane. He blah blah blah, you don’t want to do that. So a lot of times those questions are asked to try to see you know, what’s under the cover of what you’re going to say. And I think while we’re on the topic of this interview, maybe we should do a whole podcast to talk about good interview topics or how to do that because a lot about good ideas. But I would say made famous, you know, years ago somebody said have an elevator speech and, and an elevator speech is you know, how long does it take you to go from 20 floors in an elevator, that amount of time to be able to somebody says Tell me about yourself. What could you Say, every interview that I’ve been into, they’ll just say, Well tell me a little bit about yourself, introduce yourself words to that effect, you should have that rehearsed, polished, three to five minutes, don’t go on a 20 minute diatribe, three, no more, no more than five minutes, talk about who you are as a person, your skillset, your, you know, excitement to be there and looking forward to the opportunity to grow and have it ready to go. So all of these things are designed for you to be able to get that job with the higher wages, we’ve talked about four key things. And I think the last point is probably just to put a bow on, on everything we talked about so far.
Yeah, I mean, obviously, nothing can nothing trumps your performance, I mean, you you’ve got to prove yourself. And so you’ve got to have, you got to demonstrate superior force, you’ve got to, if you want to make a top wage, you have to, you’ve got to put yourself out there, you’ve got to you’ve got to be a little bit you know, you got to make a difference, you’ve got to be that person that will jump in, you gotta have to be that person that will help teach the other guys the person that can solve a problem. I mean, you know, solving problems is, is in the skilled trade space, that’s, that’s what we do. That’s, that’s, that’s our job is to is to keep the facilities or the or the worksite, you know, working efficiently, you know, I’ll, you know, I’ll call out maybe he’ll call us out someday, Mike Rowe–at his foundation, I think it’s called Works Foundation. He has a new, he has a new program, a new certification that he’s putting out there called SWEAT, which stands for skill and work ethic art, taboo, and so if you can say all that.
And so, but the point of that is, work ethic and superior performance, that these things matter,
and they’re not taboo, they’re, they’re so important. The thing that I appreciate a lot, you know, I’ve said it on these, these podcasts before, you know, my dad, you know, was an ammonia refrigeration, you know, he was a skilled trade guy, your dad was an electrician, skilled trade guys. So I have huge appreciation for, for, for the people who choose to, to work in this space and make such an impact. And the, I think the neatest part for for us is, with our values and everything that we believe which, you know, you know, as we talk about a lot, you know, you know, bringing honor to God and everything we do, value respect back to the trades, and measure our success by the number of people we help. But in the midst of all of that is there’s this, this impact of tradition. And and you know, we just finished up July 4th, and so, you know, you know, the honor to this country in America and everything that you the skilled trades people have built, is is this work ethic and this – it’s not dead. Yeah, it’s the blue collar, the skilled trade, even white collar skilled trade, you know, I mean, these people are the are the true foundation of this, of this country. And so, so, but just recognize it, apply it, and we want to help you get valued for it and respected for it.
Yeah, hard work never goes out of style is crucial. And a lot of our guys are looking to take a step up in pay, and since we’re focused on that. They’re, they’re willing to bet on themselves to the extent that, hey, let me come in for this wage. Give me 30 days or 45 days, I’ll prove myself on the job, I’ll show you what I can do. And if that’s the case, 45 days, let’s reassess where I’m at now. And if you think that I deserve that higher wage. And we negotiate that oftentimes for our guys will make that get your foot in the door and be willing to go in there and bet on yourself, that once I show up, I will perform. And and I would say another thing, too, and this is as you get a little bit, you know, more experienced to get a little older, there’s a tendency for us to rest on our laurels from the past, you know, that that I’ve already, look what I’ve already done. Now I want to get to some certain level and, you know, for lack of a better word, I want to coast on that. Well, I mean, that’s, I think that’s a bit of a fallacy. And I think that regardless of where you are, your attitude should be one that you’re always striving to get better. You’re always moving forward. You’re always progressing. You’re looking for new certification we talked about, you’re always looking for new experiences, and you always are willing to say “I can demonstrate superior performance by what I do, I want to show up every day.”
So hopefully these tips help you just to summarize the things that that we think you should be looking at. Make sure you have the experience and you well-documented and a great resume that’s been looked at. Please, please, please have two or three eyes to look at your resume, because you will look right past things. And we see them all the time, resumes that just have, you know, flaws in them. So experience is one, second training and certification, you talked about Brett, pursue those things, get yourself better. Get strong references lined up that will speak to your attributes, prepare for the interview, spend time getting prepared and make sure that you walk into the interview, the most prepared candidate that they’ve ever seen. And finally, we talked about performance. So any final thoughts before we wrap up here, Brett, on on the topic today?
No, I mean, just that, you know, I think, you know, we know right now there’s a huge shortage in in the skilled trades. So the opportunities are there. And so, you know, if you take some of these steps, really hone your skills, expand your skills, work with a company like ours or look for something that you’re looking for long but the demand as you know, my wife’s a real estate agent and right now we say you know, it’s a it’s definitely a buyer’s or I’m sorry, a seller’s market over a buyers market, there’s just not enough enough houses and more buyers. Well, we really have the same thing and in our space, you know, right now it’s a you know, it’s a seller’s market, you the skilled trade individuals, you know, what you’ve got to sell if you if you package it properly, and you prepare it, you know, the buyers are, the buyers are out there. There’s more buyers than sellers right now for sure. So just prepare yourself and I think the opportunity to to earn that pay that a lot of you want and deserve is out there.
Yep. So, again, here at Skillwork, we work hard every day, it’s our passion to give you opportunities to advance yourself to achieve your highest potential. Brett mentioned our agents here that work for you. They’re really good at this. They can help you get your resume on point, help you prepare for the interview. We do everything I can, we can here to make you successful. So reach out to us. Go to
, you can do an app there, you can reach out to one of our agents or recruiters. And they’ll be more than happy to talk to you about opportunities we have for you right now. So thank you again for the time and hopefully this was helpful to you today until we see you again next time, God bless.