The first installment of this How To Hire Co-Workers series (February 2008, Page 6; www. hvacrbusiness.com/smith) stressed that hiring people is much different than recruiting people. Recruiting is the practice of getting people interested in working for your company. Hiring is the practice of convincing people that your company is the one they should choose as their place of employment.
When considering hiring a co-worker, I recommend a series of three meetings: the get-acquainted meeting, the interview meeting and the mutual-hiringdecision meeting. This process takes less time than you may think and helps guard against a high turnover rate. Often, hiring decisions are made too quickly. Fast hiring practices sometimes result in firing decisions. Being diligent, cautious and thorough in determining who the people are that are selected to work in your business is very important. This interview process increases the possibility of staffing your company with high performers — co-workers who are competent at their work and have a desire to be on a winning team. High-performing co-workers result in high-performing companies. Mediocre co-workers result in mediocre companies.
This is not an interview session. Unlike some interview sessions, a get-acquainted meeting should not create any tension with the co-worker candidate. This is a short meeting, usually about an hour or a little longer. The purpose of this first meeting is simply to determine if there is mutual interest in going forward with the process. It is even more non-threatening if you establish a neutral site for the session. I often meet candidates at a restaurant and the very first thing I say is that this is not an interview and there is no reason to be uncomfortable. There is another reason for a neutral site — the co-worker candidate may be employed with another local company and prefers not be seen in your offices.
At this meeting, do not ask for an application or resume, it isn’t time for that yet. The objective is only to get to know one another and for the candidate to learn your company’s philosophies in how you conduct your business. If the session results in mutual interest, you and the candidate need to establish the date and time for the next meeting. Schedule the next meeting as soon as possible. If you’re interested in the candidate, do not take an unnecessary chance of losing the candidate’s interest.
Having a get-acquainted meeting will make you different from other hvacr contractors in the area and will impress the candidate.
Assuming the get-acquainted meeting results in mutual interest, the interview meeting is when you convince the coworker candidate to come to work for your company. In the first column of this series I recommended that you develop a hiring structure. It will keep you on track, will save you plenty of time preparing for interviews in the future and certainly make you more successful in your hiring practice. I also listed the items you should present and discuss in your new co-worker interview session. Review the information carefully and add any additional items that are appropriate for your company.
Remember, experienced and skilled co-workers can work at most any company they wish. Your objective in this meeting is to carefully make an effective “sales” presentation on why they should choose your company.
During this meeting, the candidate needs to fill out an employment application, take a technical test if the candidate is interviewing for an installer or service technician position, and complete a behavioral characteristic profile survey form. You must obtain permission from the candidate for your company to request a vehicle driving report and a complete background report including any criminal activity, credit worthiness and prior employment verification. A quick Internet search on “employee background reports” will call up lists of companies that provide the service. Additionally, there are several providers for behavioral characteristic reports. I prefer doing the behavior profile online at www.learningbeam.com.
Finally, if the candidate does not want you to contact a present employer, you need to agree.
If there is still mutual interest when this meeting concludes, you need to set a date and time for the last of the three meetings — the mutual-hiring-decision meeting. Schedule the meeting at the earliest date that allows time to obtain and review the requested reports along with any other helpful information.
In the June issue I will detail the mutual- hiring-decision meeting and how to hire a high performer. Until then, remember that quick hiring decisions will cost you time and money in the long run.
Ron Smith is a well-known leading authority in the hvacr industry. A very successful contractor, franchisor, consultant and consolidator, he has owned or co-owned 14 businesses — a true entrepreneur. His best selling and highly acclaimed book HVAC Spells Wealth can be seen and ordered at www. ronsmith hvac.com or phone 615-791-8474.
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