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Finding Skilled Shop Operators and Designers... Business Growth.

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by 2CT Media, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Hello All,
    We are facing massive growth, seemingly over night. We are severely bottlenecked at Design and also in some points in production.

    How do those of you that have gone through this before find your skilled employees?

    Also on another note in Design, is there any softwares out there to help expedite production setup besides just Eskos Automation engine?
     
  2. FireSprint

    FireSprint Merchant Member

    • Do something to weed out bad candidates. For a while, we asked them to send us an introduction video. Just 30 seconds telling us who they were. I would get emails of people telling me the video was too large to text or email so they couldn't figure out how to get it to us. This helped us realize that they probably wouldn't work very well for a design, preflight, or technical position. I didn't send them a tutorial on filesharing or youtube. :)
    • Set as many systems in place so you need as few experienced workers as possible. Don't confuse skilled with experience. Most of our best people didn't come from the sign industry. They came from customer service or did other things that required mechanical ability. We taught them what they needed to know on the sign side and therefore they didn't bring any baggage with them. Smart people with the right attutude are our favorite hire. (Read The E-Myth)

    In terms of software, a few to look at would be Tilia Pheonix/Griffin, Pitstop Pro and Print Factory. https://www.allsystems.com/

    We really love OnPrintShop for our website - https://www.firesprint.com

    And finally, sub out some work! We would love to be your overrun printer!
     
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  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Is the designer doing any other tasks other then designing? Like answering the phones or running printers?
     
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  4. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

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    I've been a designer / production manager for years and dealt with all kinds of printing... however - I'd probably never apply to a job looking for a video to be sent in, as I never deal with video.
    My honest advice is to keep an ad out there just in case someone who is unhappy at their current place is looking, and to actively pursue your competition's employees. Good employees are already employed, unemployed candidates are usually unemployed for a reason.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    These are all great ideas! Thank you. Also I will look in to those softwares.
     
  6. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Nope, unless it's a call for them.

    We want someone to focus on Creative design, so our Current designer can focus on Production setup.

    We are looking for 2 people each focusing on their respective roles, if they have knowledge in both ends that's a bonus for us in more effective operations but they wouldn't need to run dual roles.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  7. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    That's what we know too. Where do you look if you are just looking? Just want to place an ad it the right place.
    We know we will have to entice someone with experience to leave their comfort zone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  8. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Do you use onprintshop for your full shop management or do you also use another software outside of it? Doing some research into that web package it looks like it includes custom quoting, crm and process management. Might be a good solution for us.
     
  9. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Has anyone had any success with hiring college students?
     
  10. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Major Contributor

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    We were wondering this too, we have a university right up the street with a printshop and design program.
     
  11. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    We've done employment ads through our local university for everything from accounting to production back when we ran a full team (10+ full time). Most the time you'd get someone pretty good, but it'd only last for a year or two. If they were in school for the same industry then they'd always want to change things or say "we learned this.. or that."

    I will say there are a few that I can remember by name though and that was over 10 years ago.
     
  12. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

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    I was hired out of college after an internship that was part of the course. We have another designer from the same program that mainly does just design. I'm doing just about everything but sales after 8 years now, design, print, install, printer service, wraps, etc. It's all about the person and how willing they are to learn and do. Also programs don't really teach large format stuff (at least around here), they're mostly geared to digital these days so you'll still have to teach them quite a bit, and a lot of new design graduates don't like the idea of working at a print/sign shop but will take it for some job experience before moving on.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    We hired a fresh out of college person who was doing artwork/design classes.

    She's nice enough... But her files are atrocious. A simple sign file has a few diff clipping masks... She loves transparencies... She somehow hides version 2 of the artwork in a way that onyx still sees it, but wants to print it blank.... So a 18x30 sign opens in onyx as 18 x60, with 30" of white space (this is what finally made us switch to pdf, we couldn't get her used to not doing that... And pdf fixed the issue since it uses artboards)

    There were a ton of tiny problems... It seems todays classes reach you all the fancy design stuff a d nothing about setting up for pre press. If you get someone good they can learn... Otherwise if you're looking for someone just to setup to production.... I'd hire someone who has some experience. Otherwise the guy you want to focus on awesome designs will spend half his time teaching the new person.

    We just hired another college grad... Same issues, but it took her less than a week to fix them. I still get random clipping masks that I have no idea why they're there... It makes it a pain if I have to edit something, but other than that she's been here 6 months and everything's perfect. So it's a 50/50 for us at least.
     
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  14. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Member

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    I've had mixed success. We have a state university which has a Bachelor of fine art program and also a BS in Mass Media and I stay connected with staff at both. The Mass Media folks tend to be more technically oriented such as game design, video etc. There are a lot of artistic types in the BFA program. I've had better luck hiring the BFA students, but also the most problems. Poor work ethic, feeling of entitlement, and a general attitude that function follows form which does not work when you are selling solutions that must produce results for a client. Those first two might be generational traits but don't want to paint everyone with that broad brush as there are still some good candidates out there. I think the art programs attract a lot of kids who are not sure what they want to do in life or have been sold the idea 'do what you love and the money will come', so there are far more candidates than jobs so you have to pick through the candidates carefully.

    I've hired several diamonds in the rough, two who made great contributions early on to building my business from nothing. Both started as freelance, then paid intern then full-time giving me a way to evaluate the traits I was looking for and I could teach the rest.
     
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  15. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    No not really.

    Nearly every applicant we've ever even considered from our nearby full size university has come with preconceived notions (somebody had to plant these in their heads) that the sign and graphics industry is a major step down for them and that the STARTING wage they should be seeking is in the $50k per year range right after graduation with zero work experience. I mostly blame their professors for these attitudes, but given the high cost of higher education, graduates feel like they are behind the eight ball right from the day they graduate.

    I'd add that after our usual two day, paid working trial before offering them the job, the vast majority do not display proficiency in any of the software needed to work here in a design oriented position.
     
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  16. Jean Shimp

    Jean Shimp Member

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    I've had two temporary interns from a local college graphic arts dept. We had some problems swapping files that they created. They used Adobe Illustrator and one of the students couldn't get the files to export correctly into Corel (I don't have AI). He had the latest software version but we just couldn't get the sizing to work right. I would like to hire a part time graphic arts student and have posted ads but it's been a couple of months and no candidates. It's surprising to me that no one has responded. I'm thinking about going down to High School level. Then, heck, maybe middle school :). I see some of these young kids today are super smart.
     
  17. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

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    Where are you posting ads? I would reach out to the professors themselves, the majority of my class would've jumped on a part time job in the industry while in school.
     
  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Ain't just graphic design. Colleges use the big money hook to get students.. only for them to be disappointed at reality.
     
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  19. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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  20. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    In my neck of the woods designers like to work at this type of sign shop...


    I don't know if their designer, Theresa, applied by sending a video or not.
     
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