7 Qualities to Look for When Hiring Pickers/Packers

September 28, 2018

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Posted by: Nicola Malcolm



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Pickers/packers typically work in a warehouse setting or distribution centre. They fill customer orders, verify information on location labels, as well as pack and box customer orders for shipping.

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What should you look for when hiring a picker/packer? From efficiency to attention to detail, here are some of the top skills you should seek when hiring pickers/packers this fall.

1. Efficiency

Efficiency is key to a successful distribution operation. You should be looking for picker/packers who can work efficiently in a fast-paced environment. During the interview, experienced pickers/packers should be able to tell you how efficiency was improved in their last role. For example, they may have been present for a change in storage strategy or be aware of different picking methods, such as zone picking (where each order picker is assigned a different zone) or batch picking (where an order picker is assigned and picks up multiple orders simultaneously). Awareness of different styles and an interest in improving efficiency are traits that can set candidates apart as you hire picker/packers.

2. Procedural Knowledge

A great new warehouse employee will have excellent knowledge of packing procedures and standard warehouse operating procedures. This knowledge will make onboarding new pickers/packers much easier and increase overall safety at work.

3. Attention to Detail

It is integral that pickers/packers pay close attention to detail as they read orders when fulfilling customer orders. Further, being a great picker/packer requires a balance between taking the time to get orders correctly packaged the first time and being efficient and saving as much time as possible while staying safe.

4. The Ability to Operate Warehouse Vehicles

Depending on the warehouse or distribution centre you are hiring for, pickers/packers may need to have hands-on experience in operating vans, pick trucks, or forklifts to pull inventory. Look for candidates who have previous experience with these vehicles. Even if operating these vehicles is not necessary right now, as long-term employees, they may use these skills as your company grows or makes changes to warehouse operations.

5. Flexibility

When hiring your next picker/packer, look for someone highly skilled in packaging and picking a wide variety or items, as well as the ability to complete both manual and computerized forms and shipping documents. This flexibility shows a willingness to learn and adapt their skills to new settings. It also tells you the candidate will be able to adjust to any new process you may implement in the future.

6. Experience with Organization

When reviewing resumes, look for a candidate with a proven record of arranging, placing, sealing, marking, and tagging items. These organizational skills are imperative in a picker/packer and are hard to obtain without previous experience. You will want to hire a picker/packer you can rely on to count and store various products and pack items efficiently.

7. Strength

The physical strength needed to be a successful picker/packer can vary from warehouse to warehouse, but as a rule of thumb, someone in this position should be able to lift 40 lbs without support. They should also be able to perform routine packing work, with all the walking, bending, and reaching it entails. This quality can often be assessed based on previous work experience that suggests the candidate can perform well in a warehouse environment. In the interview, you will also want to detail the physicality of the job and make sure each candidate is comfortable with the demands of the workplace.

How to Write a Job Description That Will Attract Top Talent

Nicola Malcolm

Nicola Malcolm

Nicola has over 20 years of staffing industry experience with global, international, and Canadian firms. She has a broad knowledge base from having worked at a temporary recruitment desk, as an on-site manager in a global warehouse and manufacturing company, and in marketing, IT and operations. In addition, Nicola managed a portfolio of MSP/VMS accounts for a global MSP, and currently manages the staffing supply of 10+ Canadian MSP/VMS programs. In her spare time, Nicola uses her recruiting background to help her family, friends, and personal network find meaningful work opportunities. She also enjoys applying her operational skills to plan family trips abroad as often as possible.

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