In the previous installment we discussed the hiring interview. I mentioned that it would be best to have a set routine and agenda for the interview with questions that will paint a general picture of the prospect for you and more specific questions tuned to the position for which you are hiring.
My ex-partner, who had been in the business more than 30 years when we teamed up, described the auto-repair business as a constantly revolving door in which employees continually came and went. In training me to become a good manager of business and people, he stressed that I had to learn how to accept that fact of life and move forward with my business plan no matter how many employees I had to hire and train only to see them eventually go their own way. He taught me that I had to, as much as possible, leave my emotions at the front door. I wasn’t supposed to feel bad about losing an employee who I had put a whole lot of time and effort into. I was just supposed to go on to the next one. Although I understood that he had been burned so many times over the years that he trained himself not to care or show it if he did, I had a problem with it. I wanted to know why they left and if there was anything about my management style that was making them go and, if so, how could I fix it.
When you hire a new guy or gal, your job isn’t done when they walk in the door. In fact, it’s just starting.
So how do we ensure the newest person on our sales crew is ready to be a rockstar for our customers? Here are 7 ways…
I’m an easy interview, but a tough judge. I don’t use personality or behavioral tests – I’ve tried them all, and I do see some value there, but I’ve also relied on them for hiring decisions, which I later came to regret.
I don’t call your references. It’s a waste of my time and theirs. You’d never give me a reference that would say anything other than the most amazing and wonderful things about you anyway.
Promoting technicians to sales or management-level positions is a great way to show the entire staff that there is opportunity for growth within the company. As a current owner or manager you may even feel obligated to move someone up when a position becomes available. Most of the time the available position will have something to do with selling work to customers, a job for which many technicians are not suited or not qualified, or don’t really want even if they think they do.
It wasn’t very long ago that finding employees, especially technically skilled ones, was somewhere between difficult and impossible. If you ran an ad hardly anyone called other than possibly some misfits who were truly unemployable because of any one or a combination of the following…
Truly one of the greatest shortcomings owners and managers possess is the ability to make hiring decisions on the basis of concrete evidence that a job candidate will indeed be ready, willing and able to perform the tasks for which he or she is being employed. When someone leaves or when the shop gets really busy, we tend to panic and look for any warm body to take the place of the missing person or fill the open slot. Additionally, in a labor market that is so tight for our particular industry, our mistakes can be exaggerated far beyond the norm. These mistakes can cost many thousands of dollars and can even put us out of business in some extreme cases.
Many owners believe that they can save a $50,000-a-year salary if they do the selling themselves, but if they aren’t any good at it or their hearts aren’t in it they might be throwing away $150,000 in additional profits to try to save $50,000. I can understand the concept of running lean and mean if the phones aren’t ringing much, in which case a lot more promotional work needs to be done, but if they are ringing and the work isn’t being sold because of an owner whose sales techniques are questionable at best, not having a manager is a major mistake in judgment.