Whether you’re getting ready for a busy season, found yourself short-handed during a major inventory push, or just need to ramp up on staff to help handle daily tasks, the process of hiring for a warehouse can be surprisingly complicated, even compared to hiring for other businesses and workplaces.

There’s a number of positions to fill, all of them requiring different skills, training, and interests, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start or how to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in each candidate.

While there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” staffing solution for warehouses, no matter what the temp agencies try to tell you, there are a few things you can try to keep in mind for your next hiring push:

 

Be upfront about the job description

This idea can apply to pretty much any job, but particularly in warehousing where the duties can overlap and applicants may have some misconceptions about the job in question, a clear and concise job description is critical. Be transparent about any potential hazards, stress physical requirements and weight limits for the more physically-demanding roles, and make sure everyone is crystal clear on their responsibilities before they even come in for the interview—you’ll ensure a much smoother transition to the actual job that way.

 

Dig deep into prior experience

Moreso in warehousing than nearly any other industry, the idea of what an applicant did at a previous job is more important than where they did it. Do you need someone with a good understanding of pallet racks? Have your applicants ever used gravity flow racks before? Are they forklift certified, or do you even need them to be? Get a better idea of what your applicants have done in the past using what equipment before making any big choices.

 

Get employee referrals

No matter how involved you might be with the daily operations of your warehouse, nobody is going to understand the minute-to-minute needs of the job better than your staff will, and that means they’ll have a better idea of how qualified someone may be for the position. If you know a big hiring push is just around the corner, ask some of your longer-tenured (or more trustworthy) employees to see if they know anyone who would be a good fit for the role in question and can handle the demands of the job.

 

Don’t be stingy with starting pay

The accountants are already probably flinching at this tip, but in today’s competitive job market you need to make it worthwhile for your potential hires, particularly if they’re coming over from another warehouse. Do some research into current starting rates, factor in their experience, and make an offer that’s competitive and commensurate with what they can offer you.

 

Make sure they fit your culture

Of course, even if they’ve got a flawless resume and love your initial offer, you have to make sure all your potential hires are a good fit for your current warehouse culture. Get to know your applicants during the interview process and make sure they can gel with your current warehouse staff and practices; good sense of humor, not overly standoffish, etc. No matter what their experience level, if your new worker isn’t going to get along with the rest of your staff, it isn’t going to work out in the long-term.

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