A Growing Company Offers New Hires Plenty of Runway to Take Flight

Talent Acquisition Director and Recruiting Manager Reveal What Stands Out for New Hires at Herc Rentals

When job seekers apply for a position at a company, one of the first questions they’ll ask themselves is if they’re the right fit.

In most cases, that job applicant, whether it’s for a position in sales or a position as a driver or technician, won’t really know until after they’ve been hired and have been working at the company for several months, explained Tom Wirtz, Herc Rentals Talent Acquisition Director.

Unlike competitors and other large corporations, opportunity for new recruits at Herc Rentals is abundant. “There are a couple things that make us attractive for people who have been in the industry as well as those who are completely new to it,” Wirtz said. “One, we’re still young. We still have that start-up mentality and the runway for candidates is really long. We’re still creating roles. We’ve had several special situations where we’ve had a fantastic candidate with an exceptional skill set and we’ve created a role for him or her. That’s where we’re different.”

“The flexibility is still there for us to be creative, where I think some of our peers are a little less accommodating to new approaches,” Wirtz continued. “They’ve merged and acquired, and it’s very hard to be flexible (with new hires) when you’re trying to merge cultures. We’re creating our culture from the bottom up. That makes us very different right now.”

In the very recent past, Herc has created resource groups for women and veterans as well as certifying two diversity recruiters. The company also beefed up its internal educational efforts with the 5 Tool Manager development series, the Black and Gold Early Career Academy, and the ProDriver Academy.

For job applicants who have been in or out of the rental business, Herc Rentals often proves to be far less rigid than its rivals, said Mike Nastri, Herc Rentals recruiting manager. “We’re going to play to your strengths, and I don’t think everyone does that,” he said. “At other places, it’s like ‘We have our system in place. We have our organization. You mold to us.’ That’s not how Herc Rentals does it.”

Nastri adds, “What are you really good at? What do you enjoy doing? Let’s maximize that.”

Wirtz agreed. “We’ll take their unique skill-set and either create something around them or we’ll tailor the role to their strengths,” he explained. “A lot of companies won’t do that. They’ll say, here’s the job description, here’s what you’re going to do on a day-to-day basis, now go.”

And that’s not a bad thing, Wirtz confessed. “Some of our competitors are so big (they need qualified people to step in, and hit the ground running without much hand-holding). That’s not what we want to do,” he said. “We have close to 5,000 employees and we’re continuing to grow. We have to be flexible.”

In Demand: Drivers and Technicians

Now and into the foreseeable future, drivers and technicians will continue to be in demand. To meet the demand for more drivers and technicians, Herc Rentals built a pipeline for career advancement with its development and toolbox programs aimed at growing talent from the ground up.

“Those programs, as we continue to build them, allows our entry level team members to grow their careers,” said Wirtz, adding that while these programs put the employee on the fast track toward career advancement, they also benefit the company. “It represents great opportunities for us. It’ll create a pipeline for our future drivers and technicians. We can teach them our business, grow them into these roles; then send them off to school and to get their CDL. We have programs in place to help assist for those things as well.”

Recruiter competition for drivers is fierce, but Herc Rentals has one major advantage over large trucking companies. “They’ll be in their bed every night. They’re working a first shift kind of role,” Wirtz said. “The biggest sell for us over a lot of these trucking companies is that we’ll train them in our ProDriver Academy, they’ll learn how to load and unload equipment safely, and then they’ll be at home.”

For technicians, there are also a few unique things that stand out. One, they will have an opportunity to work on a variety of equipment – not just automobiles. More importantly are the opportunities afforded to technicians.

“It’s not just a one and done role. They don’t necessarily have to be stuck in a certain career path. A lot of our technicians have moved from technician C to B to A to shop supervisor,” Wirtz said. “We have technicians here who have grown into managers. I don’t believe you can say that in the auto industry. If you’re a technician in the auto industry you’re working on vehicles; you’re not becoming the general manager of a dealership.”

Technicians at Herc Rentals do a lot more than turning wrenches, Nastri added. “Our technicians know how to problem solve, troubleshoot. They’re engineers,” he said. “They figure out how to get a job done.”

Early Career Opportunities

Just landing a job is often enough for recent college graduates entering the workforce, but at Herc Rentals, new and recent graduates have opportunities to advance up the ranks quickly, Wirtz explained.“Our Black and Gold Early Career Academy is a huge opportunity for them. The beauty is that when they come to Herc Rentals, they’ll be put through this very specialized program and, once they graduate the program, they’ll have 5, 6, 7 different segments they can go into.”

Most companies, Wirtz said, require two years of inside sales before new hires get out into the field. “If they’re good at their role and know what they’re doing, they can be in the field in the first year. That’s attractive to a lot of students,” Wirtz said. “They don’t want to be sitting behind a desk and stuck to a phone. They want to be out in the field, talking to clients face-to-face, getting their hands dirty.”

Another advantage is Herc Rentals has 270+ locations across North America, Wirtz added. “They’re not pigeonholed into one location. They can go to Atlanta, they can go to Dallas, they can go to Chicago, Los Angeles. That’s extremely attractive.”

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