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Our Plastics Recruiting Blueprint

4 Steps to Hiring Success

We’re specialist recruiters in plastics, working across key positions within Molding, Blowmolding, Themoforming, Packaging and many more.

We use a unique four-step method to exceed the expectations of our clients, each and every time.

Here’s how the Plastics Recruitment process works – from receiving your vacancy right on through to fulfilment of the requirement.


1. Create Search Foundation

We create a strong search foundation, based on KPIs and critical success factors. We then help create or refine your Unique Value Proposition. Our expert Plastics Recruitment team then combines human effort with the latest in Artificial Intelligence to identify all possible companies and employees to target for your position.


2. Engagement Campaign

Our Engagement Campaign is comprised of a dialing blitz with multiple follow-ups, multiple-touch email campaigns, text campaign, our 24/7 social media marketing, and our daily presence in the market. We introduce you to people that will never see an advertisement or job board. This is targeted at the top Plastics talent – who are rarely active job-seekers.


3. Assessment & Selection

We work closely with our clients, utilizing a proven assessment process that eliminates personal bias in interviews, and determines which person is best fit for your company. This includes Recruiter interviews, company interviews, scorecards, candidate auditions, and 2 types of reference checks. This process has proven to result in much more accurate hires than utilizing “gut feel”.


4. Hiring & Retaining

We have a proven offer making process that closes 85%+ of the time, proven thousands of times. We offer Pre-Boarding and On-Boarding training for our clients to keep candidates engaged from the moment they sign an offer, periodic follow-ups for up to 6 months to ensure a smooth transition, backed by the longest guarantee in the industry, up to one full year.

Phase 1 - Search Foundation (UVP)

In the first video of our 4-point series, Plastic Executives Founder, “The Plastics Recruiter” Ed Keil, talks you through the first phase of PE’s unique search process that has led to a track record of success recruiting in Plastics. Phase 1 is where we look to build a Search Foundation.

Phase 2 - Engagement

In the second video of our series, “The Plastic Recruiter” Ed Keil elaborates on the unique and effective Engagement process that we use to get your business on top candidates’ radar, ensuring an effective plastics recruitment campaign.

Phase 3 - Talent Assessment

In the third video of our series on the unique process we take in recruiting within Plastics, “Plastics Recruiter” Ed Keil discusses the importance of the Talent Assessment process, which filters out only the very best candidates for your role.

Phase 4 - Hiring Counteroffer

In the fourth and final video of our series on the way in which we source the top Plastics talent, “Plastics Recruiter” Ed Keil finishes off by discussing counteroffers and the importance of timing in recruiting the very best people.

Plastics Recruitment Services

Recruiting in plastics can be tricky – it’s a competitive sector with the top talent in high demand. We offer a broad range of services to our Plastics clients to help get an edge on the competition when it comes to recruitment.

Click on any of the services below to learn more about how we work to support your business goals.


In addition to direct-hire placements, we can help meet all of your organization’s workforce needs by providing contract staffing.

Search Plans

We offer retained, engaged, contingent, and discounted search plans, and can help you identify the right plan for your needs.

Our Process

Our process covers the entirety of the hiring procedure required to identify, attract and retain the highest calibre talent in Plastics.


All searches for salaried positions come with a replacement guarantee to cover our clients in the unlikely event of a hire not working out.

Employer tools

(click to view)

How To Hire Top Talent

Find out our top tips for recruitment in plastics – from advertising to interview to making your final decision.

Reference Checks

Proper reference checking can be the difference between making an excellent hire or making the wrong decision. Here’s how.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of using a Plastics Recruiter?
  1. Our Plastics recruiters find the people who will never see an advertisement because they are hard at work knocking it out of the park at your competitor.  We do this through hard-nosed recruiting (phone calls) and through our targeted outreach programs (text and emails).  We also utilize social media advertising heavily.
  2. We have placed thousands of key employees with over 600 of the plastics industry’s best companies.
  3. Our team of 12 plastics recruiters and researchers focus exclusively on the plastics market.
  4. We have mapped out every corner of the plastics market.  By that, I mean we have comprehensive lists (comparable to org charts), for all of the plastics processes.  Examples of where our plastics recruiters focus include:
    • Injection Molding
    • Profile Extrusion
    • Film and Sheet extrusion and converting
    • Compounding and additives
    • Blow Molding
    • Rotational Molding
    • Thermoforming
    • Anything else plastics related
  5. We shorten the time-to-hire by presenting on-target candidates fast.
  6. We save you time by only submitting on-target candidates.  We are told that we submit fewer, but better candidates than our competition.  We have been doing this a long time and we know what an on-target candidate looks like.
Where do our Plastics Recruiters find experienced plastic industry candidates?
  • Direct Recruitment:  We find people who will never see an advertisement by direct-recruiting them from their desk.
  • Referrals:  We have a great network of plastics industry professionals, and we are able to garner referrals for the top talent in the plastics industry.
  • Subscription services:  We have paid services that tell us who works where, and others that generate their contact information.  We also use trade show directories, college alumni directories and have worked with some colleges to help place past graduates.
  • “Market Maps”.  We have all markets mapped out with every company and all of the employees we can find at each company.
  • Database:  We have a database of tens of thousands of plastics industry people that we’ve worked with over the years.
  • Advertisements:  While we don’t count on advertisements, some positions, particularly lower-level positions lend themselves to advertisements.
How long have we been Recruiters in Plastics?

Our founder, Ed Keil, “The Plastics Recruiter”®, started Plastic Executive Recruiters in 1995 after a career in the plastics industry that included ownership in extrusion and molding companies.

Since then, our team has grown to 12 recruiters and researchers that focus exclusively on the plastics market.

We have filled thousands of roles with over 600 of the plastics industry’s best companies.

How do plastics manufacturing companies recruit the best candidates?
  • Recruiters: Many of the most successful companies use recruiters like us to fill their key roles.  Great plastics recruiters are a fantastic resource to shorten your time-to-fill.  They are also a great help if you are short-handed in HR, or you don’t want to have to sort through the mountains of off-target applicants.
  • Employee Referrals: Perhaps the best way for a company to get great candidates is to ask your employees for referrals for people they know or have worked with.  A referral bonus can help in that regard.
  • External Referrals: Mine your network for people who could do a great job.  Personal connections can go a long way.
  • Trade Shows: Many key people visit plastic industry trade shows.
  • Web Site: All of your jobs should be posted on your web site.
  • Social Media:  Companies use Facebook and Linkedin to successfully find candidates.
  • Job Board Advertisements: While 99% of job board applicants aren’t a fit, and take a lot of time to sort through, some good candidates apply from time to time.
How the best plastics companies screen (assess) candidates?
  • Interviews:  Phone, video & in-person interviews are all utilized to get to know each other.
  • Personality Assessments: Companies use a variety of personality assessments to get a feel for relative strengths and weaknesses.  A word of caution…be sure you understand how the scoring system really works.  There are time that low scores are better than high scores (for example “willing to take risk” might be good for a CEO and bad for a Mechanical Engineer).
  • Reference Checks:  Reference checks can range from one of the best tools to one of the most useless tools that people use to evaluate candidates.  Used properly, the hiring manager talks to the reference and asks follow-up questions specific to problems they are trying to solve with the new candidate.
  • Working Interviews:  Working Interviews are also known as “Auditions”.  The candidate is given a real-world task and presents it in their final interview.  For example, a Continuous Improvement Manager might outline how they will train the workforce, run Kaizen events, and implement 1-piece flow in manufacturing.
  • Back-Door Reference Checks: If you know someone that may have worked with this candidate in the past, check with them to see how they performed.  Sometimes referrals that haven’t been provided by the candidate give the most honest feedback.
How long does it take to recruit plastics candidates?

One of the most common questions we get is “How long does it take to find someone?”.  That is a difficult question to answer, because it is based on a lot of variables. 

Let me give you an example.  I would love to own a ’69 Camaro.  If I asked a car dealer how long would it take for you to find me a “69 Camaro”, it might depend on a number of things:

  • Condition:  Perfect, original, no-rust anywhere, frame-off restored, rolling chassis?
  • Miles
  • Stock or resto-mod?
  • Color
  • Matching numbers (all original)? 
  • Model:  SS, Z28, sport coupe, RS, RS/SS
  • Convertible or coupe?
  • Engine:  6 cylinder, 302, 350, 396 (or restomod with LS Swap)
  • Stick shift or Automatic
  • My budget
  • Location:  After all, I have to get it back, and how do I go see it from Indiana?

If I tell him I want a perfect example, no rust, numbers-matching,  big-block 396,RS/SS coupe in White with Black stripes and hideaway headlights, stick shift, within a 3 hour drive of Fort Wayne, for $25K…he would probably die laughing.  I’m not sure that car exists within 3 hours of Fort Wayne, but if it does, it’s certainly $50-$80K (or more).

Similarly, with hiring, if someone wants me to find them a degreed Process Engineer with 5-10 years of hands-on process engineering in PVC Profile Extrusion, with the ability to design custom profile tooling, as well as tune the dies and create the SOP’s for $75K, I know that job is likely either unfillable or will take many months to find the candidate. 

When we work with a company, we explore

  • Cultural aspects:  What’s it like to work there?  What’s it like to work with the hiring manager?
  • Hiring Process:  How fast will they move?
  • Compensation (base pay, bonus, 401K, benefits, etc),
  • Career Path: Where will they grow from here?
  • Increase in responsibility with this role
  • Other key areas that are important to candidates, such as environmental impact, and how they are making the world a better place overall.

If the company, position, and compensation are compelling compared to the market, we can typically find 1-2 people for every 5-10 days we work on the search.  If they are looking for a very rare talent, it can take longer.  Most of our positions are filled in 60-90 days if not slowed down by the hiring companies processes. 

Got Questions?

Ed Keil, "The Plastics Recruiter"

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