29 May 2024, 21:29
By Furniture News Jan 17, 2023

Dr Lynn Jones on furniture industry recruitment

Dr Lynn Jones developed a passion for employability while working at Bucks New University, and today operates her own recruitment service dedicated to matching candidates with their perfect furniture industry jobs. Here, Lynn offers her take and tips on tackling an increasingly challenging marketplace …

In which areas of furniture industry recruitment do you specialise? 

All areas, from junior furnituremaker roles to senior management-level positions.

How did you come to work in this role? 

I never intended to get into recruitment, but in my last role as head of the furniture department at Buckinghamshire New University, I had an ‘additional responsibility’ for employability, which entailed connecting with a great many employers across the UK, with the aim of improving the employability statistics for the department by matching graduates to roles. 

Then, when the university closed the furniture department in 2016, an employer I knew suggested I continue to help employers find good people, as he felt that no-one was doing that in a specialist furniture industry way. So, that’s what I continued to do, and I love it. 

How has the recruitment landscape changed over the past decade?

Having only been doing this for the last six years or so, I would say that the main changes from my point of view have happened since Covid. These would include people requesting more flexible working, changes to commute time or method (such as cycling to work), and increased salaries due to the scarcity of skilled people. 

Do you find new technologies and social media help or hinder the process? 

Social media as a tool is fantastic if used in a controlled, well-managed, very conscious way. Conversations can be started so quickly with people who need help on both sides – employers and potential employees. I really enjoy the connections that can be made very quickly and easily. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and share stories.

What skills and qualifications are generally sought by employers?

All sorts – depending on the role, obviously. But most often, employers are most interested in finding the best personality fit. Everything else tends to follow that. 

What does an effective job ad comprise?

Succinct, short, well-edited text, without any waffle, and a great image!

Can you comment on the success rate of your placements? 

Yes – my success rate is very high. I think because it’s more like a dating or matchmaking service, focused on very carefully matching the person to the role, and vice versa. I don’t send out hundreds of CVs to employers – usually just two or three, along with my own personal recommendation of the person. 

Do you advise on retention at all?

I do confidentially advise employers on retention, yes, in a common sense kind of way. I keep in contact with employees, too – I find out why they stay in roles, and sometimes why they start to think about leaving, and then collect their thoughts to build a generic advice tool. 

Do you feel there’s a disconnect between industry and training bodies? 

I don’t know much at all about training bodies. Many organisations, though, can be over complex and heavily administrative, which can become onerous for employers to navigate, and can be off-putting to all involved. 

How might the industry make itself more attractive and accessible to new recruits?

By making themselves/their companies as attractive as possible. As there is a severe shortage of furniture industry people (particularly furnituremakers) right now, potential employees usually have more than one job offer, so employers have to offer a range of incentives, together with pleasant environments in which to work. 

Read more about the furniture industry's recruitment and retention challenge in January's Furniture News.

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