Ways Honda R&D Americas could recruit engineers to fill jobs at its research

Wanted by Honda: Engineers Who Love Small-Town Living

Although the U.S.-based Big Three automakers General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have announced cutbacks and layoffs recently, some auto companies are still hiring. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and other companies have set up operations in the United States. While they employ far fewer in the United States than the Big Three, their ranks are growing. Nearly one out of four jobs with auto companies in the United States are with companies other than the Big Three. Honda R&D Americas recently told a reporter that it was adding about 100 employees a year and had 50 positions it was trying to fill with engineers.

To staff those positions, Honda faces a challenge: its location. The Honda research and development facility is located in an out-of-the-way spot in Ohio, the town of Raymond, located about 60 miles northwest of Columbus. Most automotive research facilities in the United States are located near Detroit because so much of the industry talent lives and works in that area. The Honda plant sits on an 8,000-acre plot of land along with the company’s Transportation Research Center, and Honda operates two assembly plants in nearby Marysville and East Liberty. Surrounding this complex are cornfields.

Because of its location, Honda does not seek most of its recruits from other auto companies. It hires local residents to fill manufacturing jobs, and for engineers, it turns to schools in the region to find recent graduates. Carol Hadden, who manages human resources, says one good source of engineering recruits has been Ohio State University.

Knowing that small-town life does not appeal to many recent grads, Honda requires applicants to visit the Raymond site for their first interview. Allen explains, “We make them come here to make sure they know where we are.” Those who look around and like the location have a better chance of being enthusiastic about a career at Honda R&D. In 2016, Honda announced an expansion plan that entailed building two new facilities in Raymond. This will require approximately 25 new IT-related jobs and is hailed as a commitment to the region. There is also hope that this will increase the chance of other companies choosing to locate their businesses closer to the new plant.

  1. Suggest three ways Honda R&D Americas could recruit engineers to fill jobs at its research and development facility in Raymond, Ohio.
  2. If you were interviewing a candidate for a job at this facility, what would you ask to determine whether the candidate would be satisfied to stay at Honda?
  3. How would Honda R&D’s emphasis on recruiting recent graduates, rather than experienced automotive engineers, affect your job if you were the supervisor of these employees? Would you want Honda to change its recruiting strategy? Why or why not?

Source: Lindsay Chappell, “Honda’s U.S. R&D Center Looks Locally for Talent,” Automotive News, March 20, 2006; Lillie Guyer, “Cutbacks Aside, Industry Still Needs Engineers,” Automotive News, March 27, 2006; Gail Kachadourian, “Auto Jobs: A Big Tilt Away from the Big Three,” Automotive News, April 25, 2005, all downloaded from Business & Company Resource Center, http://galenet.galegroup.com. Michael Cooper, “Honda to invest $53 million in data center in Ohio,” Springfield-News Sun, October 31, 2016, http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/business/economy/honda-invest-million-data-center-ohio/h1MBA0WHEbomdIzjTSBv3K/, accessed March 9, 2017.

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