If you have ever been involved in recruiting and hiring, then I’m sure you know the potential headaches and troubles that are associated with this vital area of business. As most businesses and industries are experiencing, there currently seems to be a shortage of willing and capable applicants.
Some applicants may have the technical skills required for the job, but not the attitude and soft skills to accompany the knowledge, while others may possess a great “go get em” attitude but have no knowledge or technical ability. Finding the candidate that brings both strong technical ability and a great constructive attitude unfortunately seems to become more difficult day by day and recognizing these traits in a single interview can add to the challenge.
In this article I will attempt to address some process’s and actions that may help find and/or develop that “diamond in the rough”.
While operating a pizza restaurant, part of my responsibilities included hiring and training. From my experience, technical understanding, speed, accuracy, and confidence a lot of times can be more easily built and taught than attitude and personal growth.
Hiring for Culture and Attitude
Finding a candidate that will fit in with your company’s culture is a must. If you don’t know what your company’s culture is, then your first step should be to define it and ensure any current staff knows and understands it. Culture may include things like teamwork, honesty, training, quality, or could even be non-inclusive, do your job and go home, safety oriented, quota driven, speed oriented, etc. The key is to know the “culture” of your company and find candidates that will fit that culture and still carry a good attitude. Hiring someone with a great attitude that does not fit in to your company’s culture can possibly disrupt that culture or even destroy the great attitude that caused you to hire the individual, at no fault to the individual, it just wasn’t a good fit.
Hiring someone with a great attitude that does not fit in to your company’s culture can possibly disrupt that culture or even destroy the great attitude that caused you to hire the individual.
In hiring, I found it helpful to ensure any prospective employee knew and understood what the culture was. I would address teamwork, staying late or arriving early to assist with large orders, willingly covering or picking up shifts, etc. and explained this was normal and expected of our crew. Present your culture in a clear and defined manner, ask “what if” questions to see how a candidate’s responses stack up with your culture’s ideal responses.
Hiring High Achievers
Don’t be afraid to hire people who have been high achievers in other fields or professions just because they do not currently have a strong ability or understanding in your area of business. Some of my best pizza makers where in their late 40’s to early 50’s and had not worked in a restaurant since there childhood days if ever. The fact that they are a high achiever lends the good possibility they will be quick to apply themselves to your business and, provided the correct training, quick to catch on.
Working with People's Baggage
Although it may not always be practical, working with an individual’s baggage can sometimes prove beneficial to all involved. While operating the pizza place, my “right hand man” was a gentleman on medical disability, causing him to only be able to work limited hours a week. His background however was 20+ years of experience running and operating fast food, primarily pizza, establishments.
The baggage of a limited work week and being cautious of situations to put him in was worth the experience and pro’s that accompanied the cons, and I took the risk of appointing him into management with great results. He was extremely dedicated, took amazing care of the customer’s needs and was a great team player. After I left and the company sold, he was promoted to GM, given a small stake of ownership in the store, and the new owners are also currently working to help him purchase a home.
Not Everyone Can Ski, Not Everyone Can Make Ski’s
Being able to notice skills and traits are vital to anyone doing hiring. Noticing certain strengths and weaknesses in candidates may lead you to realize that the current position being applied for may not be the best fit, but a newly available position may be perfect. It is important that the person doing your hiring is aware of changes within the company, upcoming positions, expansions, etc. as to not allow a candidate to potentially slip through the cracks.
The Strength in Training
A strong training program can help streamline onboarding and provide a uniform understanding amongst employees. Being able to hire a high achiever from another industry or background does no good if you can’t get them trained up to be affective in your business or industry. You must be able to provide the tools to be successful. Welcome questions and curiosity. Provide opportunities for new hires to ask questions and receive answers. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a stupid question, only arrogant answers.
Our pizza shop was in Troy, Ohio, which is also home to Hobart School of Welding. The welding school provided us with some great employees while they were attending school full time. Most where young adults just out of high school that needed some extra spending money while they attended trade school. This did not provide for long lasting hires as their program was usually only a year or so, however with a streamlined training process, known quit date, and willing applicants, the turnover rate was made manageable.
Trade schools and high school programs seem to be making a comeback in a lot of communities with the growing demand for skilled laborers. From a trade employer’s standpoint, this offers a unique opportunity to have a direct involvement with future employee candidates. Getting in on the ground level of these types of programs can be very beneficial, allowing you to provide insight and guidance to the training curriculum, provide ride along and career days, and even possible apprenticeship programs. Offering scholarships and schooling reimbursement can help grow your own employee and can help ensure they have all the proper skills YOU need them to have.
Hopefully some of my experiences can be of value to someone’s hiring process. Ultimately, every business is just as unique as the individuals that created it, therefore I have yet to find nor know that there will ever be a “cookie cutter solution” to this business wide task.
Until next time,
Ian Stiver is training director for Munn's Sales & Service, Gainesville, Fla.