Employers like Honda eager to hire Georgian students
January 23, 2020

Each January, about 40 employers visit Georgian to hire co-op students and soon-to-be graduates from our Engineering and Environmental Technologies programs. Leading up to the 2020 networking fair, we spoke with Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM) about why this is a must-do event on its recruitment calendar. This was the company’s fifth year at the fair.

HCM is one of the largest employers in Simcoe County, with 4,200 associates. Established in Alliston in 1986, it’s a premier manufacturing facility best known for producing the Honda Civic and CR-V.

HCM Campus Recruiter Michelle Slywka (and Georgian grad from the Business Administration – Human Resources program) tells us what they look for when hiring Georgian students and grads.

Q: Which Georgian programs do you hire co-op students and grads from?

A: We have a strong Technical Development Program (TDP) at HCM. This internal development program is a unique opportunity that we are proud to promote to Georgian students and graduates. Each year, we post our TDP co-op openings to students in the electrical and mechanical technologist programs, as well as precision skills. We also hire students to other co-op and new grad roles across accounting, IT, human resources, supply chain and more. With our recently announced partnership with Georgian, HCM is excited to bring more opportunities each semester.

Q: Do many Georgian alumni find careers at HCM?

A: With Georgian being so close, we’re proud to boast about 250 Georgian alumni hold a diverse number of roles across HCM. Our future success as an innovative Canadian automotive manufacturer relies on securing top talent. We believe strongly in our partnership with Georgian.

Q. What do you look for when you’re hiring a co-op student?

A: First and foremost, we’re focused on finding top talent who easily identify with our five core values: dreams, joy, challenging spirit, passion and respect. Secondary to our core values, we look for students with a demonstrated interest in the automotive industry. Finally, we consider our candidates beyond their studies. We take great interest in understanding the outside activities pursued through volunteering, hobbies, sports and more.

Q. What do you look for when you’re hiring a recent graduate?

A: When hiring a recent graduate to a permanent role, we consider many of the same criteria used for hiring co-op students, but there are a few distinctions. When hiring to a permanent role, we want to understand a candidate’s motivation both in the short-term and long-term. We reflect on our internal career paths, and try to evaluate the possibilities for supporting someone with achieving their identified goals. A good decision is beneficial to both HCM and the new hire accepting our offer. Our desire is to hire candidates who will be empowered to navigate a personal path that yields strong engagement.

Q. What qualities do Georgian students and grads bring to your organization?

A: Georgian grads bring an understanding of our local community. This is extremely important to HCM as one of our constant pursuits is to be a company that society wants to exist. Georgian grads also have a proven track record in our company. Some of our strongest leaders today were once students at Georgian. They came to us with a solid academic foundation, and their ambition led them to dream, persevere and achieve their goals and the company’s goals.

Q. Why do you like working with Georgian College?

A: Georgian is a true partner to HCM. Georgian has illustrated time and time again that it is committed to developing the programs and students that we require within our manufacturing environment. Many of our associates participate in Georgian Advisory Committees which help drive important change to the distinguished programs that we choose to recruit from.

A group of 8 Georgian College students and HCM employees stand around a Honda Civic
Georgian students and President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes visit the Honda of Canada Mfg. plant in Alliston.

Michelle Slywka
“Some of our strongest leaders today were once students at Georgian. They came to us with a solid academic foundation, and their ambition led them to dream, persevere and achieve their goals and the company’s goals.”
Michelle Slywka, Campus Recruiter, Honda of Canada Mfg.

Q. What can a Georgian grad expect as an HCM employee if they seek a career there?

A: Like many employers, HCM offers a competitive compensation package which includes a flexible benefit plan that allows for customization. Some of the unique offerings we enjoy promoting to future hires include:

  • a robust Honda product purchase program
  • a tuition reimbursement program offering $5,250/yearly for continuing education
  • an onsite fitness and recreation facility, baseball diamonds, soccer league, beach volleyball courts, basketball and more
  • an NHL-sized ice rink – with the opportunity to join our HCM hockey league
  • a full workshop equipped with six auto bays and all the tools to complete your personal DIY auto fixes
  • in addition to our vacation entitlement, permanent associates also receive two paid shutdown periods during the months of July and December, annually.

Q. What is something about working at HCM that someone might be surprised to learn?

A: HCM encourages innovation and teamwork through our internal REACH program. Associates are given the opportunity to register teams where the organization will pay one hour of overtime/week to support the pursuit of a solution to a current challenge faced inside the organization. Many of our students and recent grad hires have joined the program which yields many creative solutions. Each year, teams are given the chance to present their challenge and solution to leaders from across the company. During this fun competition, our leaders evaluate all presentations and identify winning concepts and ideas. These teams move on to represent HCM at other Honda competitions hosted across North America, as well as internationally. HCM has a proud history of providing solutions that go on to become adopted more broadly across our global operations.

Q. What is your favourite thing about working at HCM?

A: Our Honda associates are what make our company awesome. There is a strong attitude of resilience and teamwork. We understand the common goal and appreciate that it takes many different departments and roles to support the achievement of that goal. There is a famous quote from our founder that puts that into context: “Where 100 people think, there are 100 powers; if 1,000 people think, there are 1,000 powers.” Respect for the individual, part of the Honda philosophy, is my favourite aspect of working at HCM.

Q. What’s new at HCM in 2020?

A: We recently launched our new paint facility at Line 1 – home of the Honda Civic. This paint shop was a huge investment by Honda signaling the company’s desire to maintain and grow the HCM business. The technology is incredibly exciting and leading-edge, as are the improvements and efficiencies that we expect to gain. Also, we are preparing our Line 1 operations for the new model launch for the Honda Civic! Stay tuned. Our products are evolving. It is an exciting time at Honda!