RPM Freight uses a human touch to attract and retain talent

For logistics provider RPM Freight, finding the right talent is a hands-on process. Whether that's by having prospective employees shadow current ones or incentivizing internal referrals, the company would rather invest the time to pick the right person itself. With a number of awards for cool places to works from notables including Crain’s, Inc. Magazine, Detroit Free Press, Ernst & Young, and more, the company continues to attract young talent.


This year, RPM has hired at least 70 new faces, and plans to bring in another 500 within the next three to five years. The firm still posts job listings online, of course, but it also has three internal recruiters headhunting full-time. Ultimately, that means by the point someone walks in RPM's office in Royal Oak the company knows it made the right choice.


Having the right people is increasingly important for RPM as the logistics industry continues to change with advancements in technology and mobility.


Building close relationships with local universities, known nationally for Top 10 for engineering graduates, has helped too. The Inc. 500 firm targets Michigan State University, Oakland University, and Wayne State University because a vast majority of those grads are commuters who plan to stay in the Detroit region and will need a place to work.


“We want to make sure we’re fostering strong and strategic relationships with all of those students,” said Jay Brown, director of corporate social responsibility for RPM. Those relationships in turn aid recruiting and produce better candidates than catch-all career fairs for undergrads.


And while your resumé will get you noticed, getting hired requires something a little different. RPM takes a more creative approach to hiring by looking deeper. According to recruiting director Mark Horwitz, it’s about understanding who candidates are as a person. “What drives them, what characteristics they have that fit into our pool of talent,” he said. Specifically, he’s looking for flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and growth-minded people.


Getting candidates in the door is one thing. Keeping them is another. RPM treats its employees like volunteers and builds reasons for them to stay. "They can pick and choose whether or not they want to continue taking our paychecks," Brown said.


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