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Hiring a Material Handler: Job Description Template

By Priya Jain

Published:

Are you looking to streamline your warehouse operations, ensure the efficient movement of goods, and boost productivity within your organization? If so, you’re in the right place! 

These skilled professionals play a pivotal role in the success of your business, ensuring that materials and products flow smoothly through your facility.

But the question remains: How do you hire the perfect material handler who can handle the demands of your operation?

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through hiring a Material Handler, providing you with a detailed Material Handler job description and invaluable insights to help you make the best choice for your team.


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Responsibilities & Role of a Material Handler

A Material Handler is responsible for efficiently managing the movement and handling of your facility’s materials, products, and inventory. To hire a qualified candidate, it’s essential to understand the key responsibilities and roles within your organization:

  • Inventory Management: Material Handlers are responsible for accurately tracking and managing inventory levels. They must ensure that the right materials are available when needed and that overstocking or stockouts are avoided.
  • Material Handling: These professionals are hands-on workers who physically handle materials and products. They may use equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or conveyor systems to transport items safely and efficiently.
  • Loading and Unloading: They play a vital role in loading and unloading incoming and outgoing shipments. This includes inspecting materials for damage, verifying quantities, and ensuring proper storage.
  • Quality Control: Material Handlers often perform quality checks to ensure that materials and products meet the required standards. They may reject or quarantine items that don’t meet quality criteria.
  • Organization and Storage: Maintaining an organized and efficient storage system is crucial. Material Handlers need to know where specific materials are located, label storage areas clearly, and ensure that materials are stored safely.
  • Safety Compliance: Safety is a top priority in warehouse and manufacturing environments. Material Handlers must follow safety protocols, wear appropriate protective gear, and operate equipment safely to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Solve Workplace Issues: They should be able to identify and address issues that may arise during material handling, such as damaged items, shortages, or logistical challenges, and find solutions to keep operations running smoothly.

How to Hire a Material Handler

Hiring the right Material Handler is crucial for efficiently operating your warehouse or production facility. To ensure you make the best choice, follow these steps:

1. Knowing Material Handling Requirement

To arrive at a well-informed hiring decision and ensure seamless operations of your warehouse or production facility, it is imperative to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the distinctive demands and attributes inherent to your material handling objectives.

Find answers to the following questions:

  • Are you transporting raw materials, finished products, or a mix of materials?
  • How extensive and varied are your material handling requirements?
  • What industry-specific regulations and nuances govern your material handling operations?
  • Are there particular safety standards and compliance requirements to address?
  • Are there any specialized material handling needs, such as hazardous materials, fragile items, or oversized cargo?
  • Do high-volume, time-sensitive operations characterize your facility?
  • Are there complex material handling tasks or potential risks associated with certain materials?
  • Do certain materials require specialized storage or transportation methods?

By addressing these questions, you can comprehensively understand your material handling needs. This clarity guides the creation of a targeted Material Handler job description and streamlines the hiring process, ensuring that you find a Material Handler who is a perfect fit for your specific operational requirements.

2. Look for Talented Material Handlers

When searching for Material Handlers to join your team, exploring various avenues to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates is essential. Here are some effective places to look for Material Handlers:

  • Industry-Specific Job Boards: Consider industry-specific job boards such as LogisticsJobsite.com or JobsInLogistics.com. These platforms can help you target candidates with relevant expertise.
    You can use our Material Handler Job Description to create a job posting that attracts top talent.
  • Company Website: Promote the job opening on your company’s website. Many job seekers visit the career sections of company websites to explore employment opportunities.
  • Local Classifieds: Advertise the job in local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and classified ads sections. This can be particularly effective for attracting candidates in your immediate area.
  • Networking and Referrals: Leverage your professional network and ask for referrals from colleagues, industry contacts, and current employees. Referrals often yield high-quality candidates.
  • Staffing Agencies: Partner with staffing agencies, such as ProLogistix, Belflex, or Manpower Group, to help you hire professionals for industrial and logistics roles. They have access to a pool of pre-screened candidates and can help streamline the hiring process.
  • Trade Associations and Forums: Participating in trade associations, such as the Material Handling Industry (MHI) of America, Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), or Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) can help you connect with experienced Material Handlers. Engaging with these organizations can help you connect with professionals in the field.

Scroll down to explore the estimated cost of using these services when hiring a Material Handler.

3. Evaluate Their Educational Qualifications

When hiring Material Handlers, it’s essential to consider professional qualifications demonstrating the candidate’s ability to perform the job effectively and safely. Here are key qualifications to look for when evaluating candidates:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Many Material Handler positions require a high school diploma or GED as a primary educational requirement.
  • Associate’s Degree: While not always mandatory, an associate degree in logistics, supply chain management, or a related field can be advantageous and demonstrate a foundational knowledge of the industry.
  • Forklift Certification: Many material handling roles require the operation of forklifts or other heavy equipment. Candidates should have a valid forklift certification, demonstrating their proficiency in operating these machines safely.
  • OSHA Certification: Look for candidates who have completed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training programs related to warehouse and material handling safety. OSHA-certified individuals are typically well-versed in safety protocols and regulations.

When assessing educational qualifications for Material Handlers, aligning them with the nature of your material handling operations and the specific skills needed is crucial. For instance, if your facility demands a Material Handler experienced in heavy machinery operation, a candidate with a Forklift Operator Certification could be an excellent fit.

Alternatively, if your material handling processes prioritize safety and compliance with industry regulations, a candidate with OSHA training and certification may be the ideal choice.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

When hiring Material Handlers, it’s essential to assess their work experience by considering various factors. 

These include their industry-specific background, which should align with the demands of your organization’s material handling operations. Additionally, evaluating the duration of their relevant experience is crucial, as longer tenures often indicate adaptability and reliability. 

Proficiency in operating material handling equipment, such as forklifts and conveyors, is highly valuable, and candidates should have a clean safety record, prioritizing safety protocols. 

Candidates who successfully manage material handling in diverse settings may bring valuable adaptability and problem-solving skills to your team.

A thorough analysis of these aspects of their work history helps select Material Handlers who are well-prepared to excel in the role and contribute to your organization’s success.

5. Conduct In-Depth Interviews

Interviews provide an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s qualifications, competencies, and suitability for the position. Here are key considerations for conducting in-depth interviews when hiring Material Handlers:

  • Structured Questioning: Develop a set of well-structured interview questions tailored to the specific skills and attributes essential for material handling roles. These questions should encompass equipment operation, safety awareness, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability.
  • Technical Proficiency: Assess the candidate’s technical competence by probing their experience with material handling equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or conveyor systems. Inquire about their ability to operate and maintain this equipment safely.
  • Safety Focus: Emphasize the importance of safety within material handling functions. Seek insights into their familiarity with safety protocols, safety track record, and commitment to upholding safety standards.
  • Compliance Knowledge: Evaluate their understanding of industry regulations and compliance standards, especially if your organization handles hazardous materials or has specific safety prerequisites.
  • Behavioral Insights: Utilize behavioral interview questions to gain insight into how candidates have handled past situations pertinent to material handling. For instance, ask them to recount instances where they swiftly resolved safety concerns.

Conducting these interviews also allows us to gauge their enthusiasm for the position and their unwavering commitment to safety and efficiency within material handling operations.

6. Perform a Thorough Reference Check

A thorough reference check is a vital step in the hiring process for Material Handlers. This process involves contacting multiple references, including former supervisors and colleagues, to gain insights into the candidate’s work history, safety record, technical competence, teamwork skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall reliability. 

When performing a reference check, consider asking the following questions:

  • Can you share your observations regarding the candidate’s commitment to safety and adherence to industry regulations during their time as a Material Handler?
  • In your experience working with the candidate, how proficient were they in operating material handling equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or conveyor systems? Can you provide examples of their ability to operate this equipment safely and efficiently?
  • How well did the candidate collaborate within the team? Can you describe instances where they demonstrated effective teamwork and adaptability to changing work conditions or unexpected challenges?

By asking targeted questions and verifying the candidate’s employment history accuracy, employers can ensure that the selected Material Handler possesses the qualifications and attributes necessary for the role.

Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process

Avoiding red flags during the hiring process for Material Handlers is crucial to ensuring that you select safe, reliable, and well-suited candidates for the role. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of potential issues:

  • Safety Awareness: During interviews and reference checks, emphasize the importance of safety in material handling roles. Look for candidates who prioritize safety, have a clean safety record, and can provide examples of safe work practices.
  • Equipment Proficiency Testing: Consider conducting practical tests or assessments to evaluate a candidate’s ability to operate material handling equipment safely and efficiently. This can help confirm their proficiency.
  • Site Visits or Tours: Invite shortlisted candidates to visit your facility or warehouse, if feasible. This can provide insights into their interest level and ability to adapt to the work environment.
  • Ask About Past Incidents: Inquire about past accidents or safety incidents in which the candidate may have been involved. Their ability to discuss these incidents openly and the lessons learned can provide valuable insights.
  • Interest in Safety Training: Candidates who show little interest in safety training or express resistance to ongoing safety education may not prioritize workplace safety.

A new hire's first day checklist

Material Handler Job Description

Here’s what a Material Handler job description looks like:

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Job Title: Material Handler

Location: [Location]

Type: [Full Time / Part Time / Contract]

Salary: [Salary / Hourly Rate]

About Us:

[Provide a brief overview of your company’s mission and industry.]

Job Overview:

We are seeking a skilled and reliable Material Handler to join our team. The Material Handler will play a pivotal role in our operations, ensuring the efficient movement and management of materials within our organization. The ideal candidate is detail-oriented, safety-conscious, and committed to maintaining a well-organized and productive warehouse environment.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Safely load, unload, and transport materials within the warehouse using forklifts, pallet jacks, and other equipment, ensuring the integrity of products and compliance with safety protocols.
  • Maintain accurate records of inventory levels, conduct regular stock checks, and assist in organizing and labeling materials for easy retrieval.
  • Assist in fulfilling customer orders by accurately picking, packing, and preparing materials for shipping.
  • Inspect incoming materials for damage, discrepancies, or defects, promptly reporting any issues to supervisors.
  • Adhere to safety guidelines and protocols, including properly handling hazardous materials when applicable and promptly reporting safety concerns or incidents.
  • Maintain cleanliness and organization in the warehouse, including shelving, storage areas, and workspaces.

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • 5 years of proven experience as a Material Handler or in a similar role.
  • Forklift certification preferred.
  • Strong attention to detail and organizational skills.
  • Ability to lift and move heavy objects as required.
  • Familiarity with warehouse management systems (WMS) is a plus.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • Associate degree in logistics, supply chain management.
  • OSHA and Forklift certification.
  • Prior experience in a warehouse or material handling environment.
  • Knowledge of safety protocols and best practices in material handling.
  • Excellent teamwork and communication skills.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Health insurance coverage.
  • Dental and vision insurance options.
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan.
  • Generous paid time off policy.
  • Employee training and development opportunities.
  • Safe and supportive work environment.

How to Join Us:

To apply, please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your relevant experience in material handling to [email address] with the subject line “Application for Material Handler – [Your Name].” [Your Company Name] is an equal-opportunity employer and values diversity in our workforce.

[Your Company Name] is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and value the contributions of every individual. We provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.

Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. We appreciate your interest in [Your Company Name].

Note: Customize this template to match your company’s needs and requirements for the Material Handler role. Make adjustments as necessary to align with the qualifications and responsibilities unique to your organization.


How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Material Handler?

When hiring a Material Handler, you might incur the following costs:

Recruitment Costs

Expenses related to recruiting a Material Handler can include the following:

  • Industry-Specific Job Boards: Industry-specific job boards may charge a fixed fee for posting your job and accessing their database. For instance, using the employer portal of LogisticsJobsite.com, which is Nexxt, you may have to pay $299 per month or more, depending on your chosen plan. But, for using JobsInLogistics.com, you pay $335 per job or $345 per month for a resume search. If you buy their bundle package, you spend $185 for one job posting and one month of resume search.
  • Local Classifieds: The cost of posting a job advertisement in a local newspaper can vary depending on several factors, including the newspaper’s circulation, the size and format of the ad, the location of the newspaper, and the duration of the ad placement. For instance, an ad in a newspaper can cost $12 per inch for a black-and-white job ad. So, a 4 x 10-inch job ad can cost around $480.
  • Staffing Agencies: Staffing agencies like ProLogistix, Belflex, or Manpower Group may charge a fixed fee, depending upon the services they provide. Some agencies charge a percentage of the hired employee’s annual salary. This fee can range from 15% to 30% or more of the first-year salary. Sometimes, agencies charge a flat fee for each successful placement, regardless of salary.
  • Trade Associations and Forums: Membership fees of these trade associations can vary. For instance, the MHI corporate membership fee is $2,900 per year, the WERC membership fee is $285 per year, and the CSCMP membership fee is $27 per month or $299 per year.

Salary and Benefits

When hiring a Material Handler, the largest cost is their salary. This salary can vary based on various factors, such as expertise, experience level, job location, employment institute, and education. 

The average salary of a Material Handler is $44,505 per year, which is $2,139 per year of additional pay. This additional pay includes costs such as bonuses and incentives.

You must budget for employee benefits, including health insurance, dental and vision coverage, retirement plans, and paid time off. The cost of benefits can substantially add to the total compensation package.

Job Shadowing

The cost associated with job shadowing when recruiting a Material Handler primarily involves the time and resources invested in facilitating the shadowing experience. This includes compensating the experienced material handler who acts as the mentor, allocating staff hours for orientation, coordination, and supervision, and potentially covering any expenses related to safety gear and equipment. 

Additionally, indirect costs may arise from temporary disruptions in workflow or productivity as the mentor and trainee collaborate. While job shadowing is a relatively cost-effective training method compared to formal programs, it’s essential to allocate resources thoughtfully to ensure a smooth and informative experience for the recruit.

Uniforms and Safety Gear

Depending on the industry and workplace, you might need to provide uniforms, personal protective equipment (PPE), or safety gear for the Material Handler. These costs include uniforms, hard hats, gloves, safety goggles, and steel-toed boots.


Priya Jain

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