Hiring in Environmental Health and Safety

By: Susan Schlink

Author

Organizations across industries are looking to start hiring in Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) – it’s a very hot job at the moment. According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029. Here at Titus Talent, we have placed many EHS Managers in different facets and have learned a few things along the way. As this field grows, it’s important to be prepared for what kind of EHS needs your organization may have.

When looking into expanding your team with an EHS Manager, start by identifying the type of safety culture you currently have at your organizations. Key indicators usually start from the top down. Are the company leaders buying into the culture? Do they lead by example? Those are usually the first questions I hear from candidates. Why? Because it’s hard to make the changes necessary without proper buy-in.

Once you’ve examined your company culture and current standards, begin mapping our what the role would entail. Do you need them to handle Workman’s Compensation, Occupational Safety Hazards, Permits and Environmental issues? Will this role have a lot of training and employee involvement? Some EHS Managers do not have a hand in very much Workman’s Compensation at all. These are pieces that should be discussed when bringing on a new team member.

It’s also important to consider what level of expertise your company’s needs require. Are you open to more of a Safety Technician that is looking to move into the next step, or do you want a veteran EHS Manager? What about credentials and certifications? I have worked with EHS Managers that have several OSHA certifications along with being a trained paramedic in their past life. These facets are all important to look into in order to understand what your company can benefit from.

That being said, don’t let a resume or list of desired qualifications be what holds you back from the perfect candidate. What do I mean by that? You can often find a very great candidate who does not have a four-year degree that exudes passion for the industry. It is just important to understand what they are specifically responsible for and what their day to day looks like as it is to know their educational background.

Finally, ensure your interview process is fully set up prior to looking into potential new hires. Do you know the right questions to ask? Do you have a process to objectively analyze job fit and value alignment? What about your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives? If you feel unsure about where to start, I would recommend hiring an experienced consultant to help assist with all the interviewing and questioning. It is important to be able to ask specific questions regarding their background experience, education, and even workplace behavior.

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