The used parts business is a bit different in how we operate than a lot of other businesses. With that being said, there is a lot about our businesses that are the same as every other business in every other industry. One of those commonalities is in the hiring of people being problematic.
Why are there job search companies out there that are spending a lot of money advertising to employers to post ads with them? Why are head hunters still being utilized in many industries? The answer to both is the same. It is because there are few employers who are truly excited about hiring employees. It is hard to find and hire the correct person the first time. All of us who have been responsible for hiring will admit that we would prefer to review and interview as few applicants as possible to get to the on boarding process. Why is this?
A big culprit in this is timing. Most of us are not in a position to carry extra people on the payroll just in case we need them. We tend to have the correct number of people for the amount of work that we have to do. This is especially true when performance based pay is used. We are trying to hire someone for one of two reasons. We are either replacing someone or adding a position.
Why do we replace people? There are really only two reasons. The first is they have decided that they are going to leave the company for something or somebody else. The second is that we have decided that we can staff that position with a better suited or qualified person. Why do you add a new position? We add new positions or additional staffing to existing positions because we have more work to do than we have time to get done.
In the above circumstances there is a clock ticking that will either lead to the shortage of quality people or it has already caused customer service issues. Remember customer service issues is a very wide topic that ranges from blown sales opportunities down to, but not limited to, lost and damaging parts. When we fail to service the customer properly the entire company is at risk. The end result is that we need to fill the job opening as quickly as possible in order to promote great customer service. That is why the timing always seems bad for hiring. We are always solving a potential problem that could take away from focusing on hiring the correct person.
What are some of the things that can provide relief to the time constraints of hiring? Job descriptions are a big help in hiring. Knowing what is expected will point you to a specific skill sets that must be possessed if the person is going to be successful in the spot. Can someone who cannot multitask be a good salesperson? Could a person without any knowledge of vehicles be a parts puller? These are just two examples. If you have a job description for each position in the company, you can start to make a list of the common traits that your successful people have and look for them when you interview those that have applied.
Knowing the job description and the characteristics needed to be successful for the position, you can craft questions for the interview that will identify those traits. Having questions done ahead of time will allow you to remain in control of the interview. Most of us fall into the trap of liking the resume and move into sales mode at the start of the interview spending our time convincing them to come work for us instead of finding out if they will fit in and be an added value to the company because of the urgent need to fill the position. Interviewing well is one of the biggest things we can practice to help reduce the number of bad hires we make. The real expense of the bad hire is the lost training that will all need to be done again and again until a good hire is made.
The final step is the time table from their start date until the date that you expect them to be a fully functioning asset to the company. This varies by position and experience level. A dismantler takes less time to get acclimated to how everything works than a salesperson. Because of this, the runway needed to board a dismantler is much less than the runway needed to board the salesperson. Regardless of the position, we should have an idea of how long we think it should take them to get up to speed. In order to do that we need to know what up to speed includes.
How long should it take to learn how to look up a part, create a parts order, print a dismantling report and all of the various tasks needed? Once you have that timeline created with specific points of knowledge and dates it keeps everyone on track and accountable. It gives you things to meet and discuss with the new hire so that if they are not working out and an upgrade is required we haven’t wasted 6 months to repeat the process.
Hiring is never fun or easy and we all have a poor track record but following some type of plan for hiring will help you increase the odds that you hire for success instead of getting failures.
Mike Kunkel Bill Stevens
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