Skill shortages abound in the mining industry and finding experienced talent is increasingly difficult. Baby boomers have retired in droves and with the proliferation of new and growing resource companies, there simply aren’t enough “names” to go around. Everyone is looking for the elusive unicorn, needle in the haystack or purple squirrel to fill their needs.

There are plenty of talent acquisition companies out there, but unless you use one specifically designed for the mining industry, you run the risk of pigeonholing the recruitment process into one of two buckets: the shotgun and the thimble.

The shotgun is one in which a recruitment company looks for candidates with ANY type of managerial, construction, geology or engineering background and try to shove that round peg into your mining company’s square hole. Conversely, the thimble approach is one in which a procurement company with no real understanding of the resource industry narrows recruiting so severely, you’re left with too few candidates, or none at all, to choose from. Neither of these options save you time or money.

There are three things to look for when searching for a manpower agency, and here’s a hint, this is an arena where technology isn’t always king.

Look for a mining recruitment agency that has significant history in the industry. History breeds familiarity with candidates and companies, and familiarity breeds depth of knowledge in both. A history in the industry means an agency may remember and have notes when you interviewed Terry for a position five years ago. You liked her, but she wasn’t right for the job at the time.

A good agency with depth of knowledge kept in touch with her and knows the job Terry took five years ago gave her the skills you need for this position. Relationships matter. Real talent networks matter.

Also, look for a mining recruitment agency that showcases their own search consultants. You can bet a talent acquisition boss is extremely selective about who they hire for their own companies. Ensure you can find details about the agency team, and their own depth and breadth of knowledge. The consultants should frequently be center stage on an agency’s website.

Lastly, only a mining recruitment agency will be active in resource industry professional organizations. Lots of talent agencies keep up tacit memberships with professional organizations, but inspect how involved they really are. Are they attending webinars, sitting on conference panels or generating unique content on their websites or social sites? These are the hallmarks of a company that’s thoroughly engaged in the mining industry. If a hiring company doesn’t participate at that level, they won’t have the pulse of the resource business.

Any random company can scrape LinkedIn for keywords, but there’s far more to finding the purple squirrel than blind luck. Your company and your mission deserve more than that. You deserve to sleep at night with the satisfaction that you’re working with true mining network professionals and that they genuinely understand your manpower needs.

If you’re looking to make a career change, MRC can help connect with us or submit your resume.