How To Hire The Right Employee For Your Field Service Business – Employee Hiring Guide
Every company hopes to find the right employee that will be with them for the long haul.
Unfortunately, the reality does not match that wish.
Every company, including small seasonal companies, end up hiring employees at least once a year. It can be one of the most stressful things for a business owner to go through. With that, we are here to offer some advice that we have learned over the years of working with hundreds of clients to help you out.
The saying of “Be Slow to Hire and Quick to Fire” is very accurate and should be followed precisely for two reasons. A bad employee will bring the company down, steal money, steal customers, affect company morale, and much more. One bad employee can easily ruin your business. Unfortunately, I have seen it many times and have experienced it myself. The hiring process should eliminate these variables and rotten eggs, right? Unfortunately, no. In the hiring process, applicants can tell you whatever they want in the interview or resume. They can give you anyone as a reference even if it is not valid. When hiring, any information that is given, you should take with a grain of salt.
First things first, don’t rush the process. Hiring someone is a month-long ordeal, not an overnight thing, and the quicker you push it, the less due diligence that will happen. Companies, even a small two or three truck show, should always be taking applications. Even if you are not currently hiring, consider having a job page on your Website and let people know that they can apply for future jobs. This gives you a list of potential candidates to slowly review at your convenience and hold onto or throw away based on qualifications. Once a position becomes available, go ahead and reach out to those you had set aside to see if they are still interested. Some may not be, but if you can find a strong candidate on day one of the job search, it puts you far ahead of most people. Now this candidate is not immediately hired, you still need to do your due diligence and check them out further, but at least you do not have to put up a job posting and sort through hundreds of names to find a candidate.
If you choose not to take applications regularly, that is fine. This process helps to expedite the process. Without having candidates in mind before the search begins, you need to plan on a week to get your potential candidate list pulled together. Why? Well, you don’t want to jump on the first candidate that comes in, so you have to collect names, then weed them out, and whittle it down. A good rule of thumb is that if you are looking to hire one person, have at least ten applicants, and honestly, you need more than that because you need ten-strong applicants, not just one. That means you are going to need 30-40 applicants to get there. So how do you achieve that?
Gone are the days of newspaper ads, window signs, and help wanted signs. Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips and, at minimum, use Facebook or Craigslist as it will give you a much broader yield of results. However, you can still do better. Those sites don’t give you an excellent way to assess your applicants or weed them out. Use these sites to promote digital applications on your Website or through a hiring software like Zip Recruiter or Indeed. We have seen the most success from Indeed, even if you don’t pay for boosting the post. You can promote the post yourself through Facebook, Craigslist, your Website, even the local newspaper if you want, and that is all free. One of the best things you can do is join a local job searching group in your area and post the web link to your application on there since that can bring in tons of applicants for you at no cost at all.
In summary, setting up your Indeed application is vital to your success as there are three main things your application is trying to do. First, get as many applicants as possible quickly. The more applicants you have, the better candidate you will ultimately find. The second is to encourage suitable candidates to apply for the job. No matter how many candidates apply, if you don’t have any good candidates, then you have achieved nothing. To do this, be descriptive, provide details, benefits, job duties, anything, and everything you can to be as straightforward as possible. Good candidates want to know about the job, not just the money. Also, have your current employees write a useful review on Glassdoor for you and provide details on your business. This may sound like a waste of time, but many employees now don’t just want a job for the money; they are looking for a work environment. Third, you want to weed out the wrong candidates, which aren’t worthwhile for you to even look into. To do this setup, questions, requirements, and qualifications to see if they match what you are looking for; if not, move on. Below you will find a video going over how to set up an Indeed area for your job search.
Great, you now have your job applicant area up and running! Now it is time to start whittling down your applicant pool. This is highly important as if you get 20 or 30 applicants, and you can’t interview all of them. On average, we see companies get around 40 to 50 applicants without paying a dime to Indeed or anyone else. One of the best ways to further reduce your applicants is to use assessments. Indeed allows you to use two assessments on a job posting to determine the candidate’s aptitude in a myriad of things relevant to your job. These assessments can quickly help weed out people; for example, we require at least one to be complete to be considered for an interview. That requirement eliminates 80% of applicants for us and shows us those genuinely interested in the position.
Now that you are whittling your applicants down take some time to review their actual resumes, if you haven’t already, and remove those you don’t like. Indeed has functions that make it easy to take notes or move candidates into different categories allowing for a more organized process. Before scheduling interviews, have someone else help you review everything. This could be your office manager, business partner, spouse, best friend, or anyone who knows what you are looking for. They may notice details that you were oblivious to. I see all the time candidates in the potential hiring line that had a glowing issue that the first set of eyes missed. The more eyes you have reviewing the applications, the less chance for a mistake. At this point, you should have whittled your list down to 5-10 names, but we are still not done. If you have an office manager or someone you trust, have them call the candidates and do a personality interview. Getting to know them personally and what they are like will help determine if they are a good fit for the workplace. There is a fine line in the questions asked as you need to understand your state’s laws for what you are allowed to do. Below you will find the questions that we usually ask during this process and encourage others to use since we’ve had great success. If they pass this step, they finally get scheduled for an interview with you, the owner.
Employee Hiring Guide:
Give me an example of a time that you needed to be a team player?
Do you consider yourself a patient person? Give an example.
We like to be at the forefront of technology and our industry. Are you adaptable and willing to learn new things? Give an example.
Would you rather be behind the scene, or do you enjoy meeting new people and dealing with them face to face?
What are you looking for in co-workers and a boss and a company?
If you are chosen, when can you start?
This sounds like a lot of work, I know, and I agree. Still, as much work as it is on you, it is just as much on the candidates, and those not interested will back off. You won’t have to worry about them anymore. It helps you determine a candidate’s interest in the job.
Once you get into the interview process, this is the last chance you have to vet them, so don’t just ask the easy questions. Things like their experience and what they want to make, and what they know about the company don’t provide enough insight. Go deeper, ask job-specific questions.
If you are hiring an HVAC tech, ask him about when he would replace a capacitor, or a condenser, or what you check on an annual basis in the machine.
If you are hiring a plumber or electrician, the same thing applies. If you are hiring a trainee, this may not work, but you know that going in, still ask hard questions and see what they do.
One of the best things you can do is ask a super tricky question with the intent of them getting it wrong.
What you are looking for, though, is how they handle the situation, do they make something up, ask for help, or what does this candidate decide to do? The big tech companies ask brain teasers to all potential hires, not to see them get it right but to see how they think on their feet and adapt. Everyone should do this to know that an employee can improvise or reach out when they need help with something and not just glaze it over. We are moving to a more technology-driven era, which reduces required interactions with people, but that has led to customer service going down for many companies, hurting them. While the younger generation may not care, there are still people out there who value good customer service. Think about asking customer-service based questions or giving different scenarios for the candidate to answer. The interview is not a 5 minute in and out process. It is an in-depth detail-oriented area to get to know your potential hires thoroughly. That is why you aren’t interviewing 15 or 20 people. You are interviewing 5 or 10.
After the interview, if you like the candidates, go ahead and ask for references. If not, thank them for their time and send them on their way. Don’t immediately call the references, go through your workday, sleep on it, and think about everything looking back at the interactions. The next day or after a good night’s sleep can bring many insights into what happened. Some people even record the interviews to go back and listen again (little overkill, in my opinion, but whatever works for you). If you still like them a day or two after the interview, then reach out to the references, at least three, one personal and two professionals. This is likely the touchiest area as there are things a previous employer cannot say but listen for cues. Ask questions like would you hire them again (if they hesitate, then that is your answer), how did they work or interact with others, how prompt they were, and what you miss most about them. Nothing job or work specific but hint at things to get a better understanding of your potential hires.
Hopefully, you are down to two or three candidates, this is where you get to make your final decision, but we have one more step. Recently, job studies have become immensely popular. Take your finalist and ask them to come in for one day of paid work to put them through their paces next to you or a trusted employee and see how they perform. Since it is just one day, they are only temporary labor. You don’t need to worry about any new hire paperwork. They are just a basic contractor for you. This will allow you to see how they interact with people, their actual work ethic and job performance, or lack thereof. It is better to learn this with a temp employee than hire someone on and find it out a week or two later. This is rapidly growing in popularity as it gives you real work experience with the potential hire before hiring them. However, they may still be working, so taking a day off may be difficult. You may need to sacrifice a Saturday to do this, but that Saturday will be a vital day long term.
Now, you should know your final candidate. Great, but there is still one crucial step that is often overlooked: getting a background check and drug test. Many states or insurance providers require the drug test but not the background check. This check could help reveal things they didn’t, and often it does. A good background check is invaluable, even if it costs money. Still, I recommend using a program like Clear Checks, which allows you to run a federal, state, and county search or a reasonable price. If you want, you can even upgrade and run a check for financial crimes that would not show up on a standard background check. One of the best features that I like is that you can also search for their three most recent employers. This is an upcharge, but it allows you to call verified employers or see if they gave you one of them as a reference to confirm what they have told you one last time. Always double-check anything you are informed and assume it is false until proven otherwise, especially with new hires. If they pass this step, you should be good to go because you have done some intense job discovery and review.
This is a long process and will probably take you 20+ hours to complete, but that is not bad. On average, we see that it costs $1000-$1500 to onboard a new employee between training, supplies, background checks, uniforms, and time. It is much better to do your due diligence and research upfront. Spending more time to hire, so you hire once, rather than have to go through a shorter process many times to find the right employee finally. But now you need to do your employee onboarding, but that is for a different day.