Thermoforming Report

Back to Hiring

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.


It’s been an interesting summer so far. I’ve had several senior-level leaders – both candidates and clients – ask about the market. 

  • From my perspective, does hiring remain strong? 
  • What am I hearing about the industry? 
  • Are there any indications of slowing? 

Additionally, I have had a couple of inquiries from recent college graduates about the same topic (including one from my crazy-smart nephew out of Embry-Riddle). 

  • What can they expect? 
  • How should they manage their search efforts? 

Finally, as we’re nearing the end of summer, a lot of us may be thinking about getting kids back to school – be it elementary… or university.  Or maybe you have one more summer vacay you are going to try and squeeze in. 

No matter what, we all understand the summer slump – the time when temperatures start to rise and businesses start to slow –and we all can agree that things are gearing back up.

Thinking through all of this, it was easy to come up with this month’s blog title: Back to Hiring

the Usual?

Over the course of the past many years in recruiting, a seasonal pattern became clear: hiring is slower in the summer, and especially so in July. It isn’t because of the market or lack of need. It is just the reality of trying to schedule time with people! It is vacation season, after all, and people are just not as available. That said, the need for talent certainly hasn’t waned; it is just about navigating around and through the interviewing process.   

Yet – despite the expected slowdown, this July is actually busier than usual! 

Additional job orders were requested from several existing clients. Conversations with new clients were held. LOTS of conversations with a variety of amazing people (candidates) were also done. Thermoforming. Heavy gauge. Thin gauge. Industrial products. Food packaging. Med device packaging. All of it. Busy! Things are NOT slowing down!

So, what does this increased July activity translate into for the remainder of the year? 

Hang On!

As a recruiter about to hit the 10-year mark, here is our take on the typical seasonal recruiting flow:

  • steady out of the gate at the beginning of the calendar year
  • ramps up quickly in February through May
  • June slows a bit
  • July is even slower – through mid-August
  • cranks up rapidly by the end of August & through mid-November
  • then settles into a normal pace, even through the holiday season

So, given the higher level of activity in June and July this year – in spite of the challenges in getting candidates scheduled for interviews – I expect the rest of this year to be crazy busy! 

It blows me away that though inflation is still nowhere near where it should be, the economy continues to be strong! I am not an economist and do not have the expertise to weigh in on GDP, CPI, or any other major indices that affect the country’s financial outlook. 

What I can share is what I know: companies continue to grow – both organically and inorganically via acquisitions and they need great people at all levels to make it happen! 

 Sometimes growth means that talented people are impacted. Check out my recent article, Leveraging Layoffs“, which highlights how to navigate landing a new role or how to find that talent that just hit the market.

Navigating the Wave

My advice? Get ahead of the curve if you are able. 

Here are a few simple suggestions: 

  • Move expected hiring up a bit to avoid the crunch.
  • Get your key stakeholders involved and aware… and then gain their commitment to clear calendars when an interview request hits.
  • Get everyone onboard with the process, specifically getting timely post-interview debriefs, to keep things flowing.
  • Be thorough – and be decisive!
  • Be that “early bird that catches the worm”: quick response equals great talent landed! [For more info, check out our blog “The Early Bird Catcheth the Worm“!]

Additionally, make sure to leverage your internal and external talent partners effectively. 

  • Are you aligned in your competing priorities? 
  • Which roles do you work on first? 
  • Where is the biggest impact going to be felt? 

Regarding utilizing external recruitment companies, there was a recent Forbes article titled “The War for Talent is On“, with an entire section dedicated to exploring external recruiting benefits, including a quote from Peter Capelli, an HR academic: 

Businesses have never done as much hiring as they do today. They’ve never spent as much money doing it. And they’ve never done a worse job of it.” 

The time, effort and resources spent on inefficient or ineffective recruiting strategies can easily become a bottomless pit. Recruitment professionals can help streamline the hiring process, reduce time-to-hire and fill critical positions quickly. Leveraging the expertise, resources and technology can ensure that you have a tailored talent strategy in place. 

Surprisingly, many companies don’t actually know how to sell their job openings to candidates. For one reason or another, hiring managers have a tendency to focus on filling their own needs, rather than identifying what candidates need to hear in order to say “yes” to the job. Professional recruiters are able to approach candidates as a middleman without that attachment and instead act as ambassadors for their clients—highlighting unique selling points and explaining why they can’t pass up the opportunity. 

Recruiters can be a good ally in the war for talent. 

Forbes article 6/28/23

The last line of that excerpt is worth repeating: Recruiters can be a good ally in the war for talent.

Answering the Questions

So, here are my short answers to the beginning questions about the market:

  • From my perspective, does hiring remain strong?  YES!
  • What am I hearing about the industry?  Continued growth + need for talent at all levels!
  • Are there any indications of slowing? NO!

What Can You Expect? Jobs are definitely out there, but securing them isn’t always easy. Forbes Advisor reports that “the good news is that more than half of employers plan to increase their hiring of college graduates, according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.” Even better news: there’s a significant increase in the hiring of college grads in the manufacturing industry!

How Should You Manage Your Search Efforts? My best advice is to treat the job search as a job: commit 4-6 hours every day towards landing a job. Gather and sharpen the skills necessary for this “job” – look over the “Candidates” section of my blog: The Right Tools for the Right Job“. Seek out and pour through expert online advice. I’ve started this for you with two websites: 1. This article from on the 4 best networking tips is chock FULL of helpful recommendations. (My favorite is the career expert’s answer to a five-year plan.) 2. 11 Job Search Commandments for College Grads. (My favorite commandment, by far: 8!) Finally, I’ve unpacked the ways to boost your search efforts in the main article of our April Thermoforming Report: How to Identify Your Next Career Move“.

Wrapping it Up

There is a lot of noise out there and, like everyone involved in manufacturing, you tend to block it out, keep your head down, and do your job. As someone who lived that for 20 years, I get it. 

Allow me to catch you up: business is strong, talent is hard to find, and you need to pull every lever possible to ensure you land and keep those great people that make all the difference to your organization!

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner! We’re here to help in any and every way possible! With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

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