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Hiring Practices: Stay True to Your Mission (Conclusion)

CHICAGO — Now nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses remain challenged to fill open jobs. In a recent American Coin-Op Your Views survey, roughly 38% of laundromat owners polled said they were either “slightly understaffed” or “severely understaffed.”

When pressured to fill vacant attendant positions, for example, a lack of quality candidates may entice the person doing the hiring to overlook certain job-seeker deficiencies to get a slot filled. (You’ve heard of hiring a “warm body,” right?)

Laundry skills are specialized, and the pool of candidates with direct experience is small, according to locally based Starchup, which offers an app-based POS and delivery platform for laundries and dry cleaners. It warns that hiring out of desperation can result in quick turnover, poor performance, a drag on your culture, or, worse, a stain on your business reputation.

So, the company has some suggestions for your next employee search. In Part 1, it discussed preparations before the search. Today’s conclusion addresses the search itself. 

FINDING YOUR NEXT EMPLOYEE

Explore the following steps for setting up a good candidate search process:

Step 1: Clearly Define the Position You Are Hiring For and the Criteria Required to Hire

Start with something that gets the employee excited about the company. Searching for a job is boring and cumbersome so it is nice to read a positive ad. By shedding a positive light on your company, you’ll get more positive people to apply. After describing your company, describe the job position (and be honest). If the position is hard, the post should reflect that in a positive way. If the position requires lifting 50 pounds every day up and down stairs, say so. If the applicant reads this and is already discouraged, it is much better that they self-select now.

Give them at least two calls to action. Ask them to check out the company website and to submit their résumé via email with a specific subject line. This serves as a screening process: if the candidate has not devoted time and attention to this post or cannot follow directions, move on.

Step 2: Analyze the Applicants Based on Your Needs and Culture

Once the applications arrive, filter out the definite rejections and review the rest for the necessary skills. For example, when hiring a driver, you’ll likely need someone who is knowledgeable with computers. In this industry, flexible employees who are skilled in multiple areas are at a premium, because they are often doing many different jobs and it indicates ability to advance.

Step 3: Use a Prescreening Questionnaire

Send the applicants you want to call for interviews a prescreening questionnaire. This gives you three types of information about the applicant:

  1. Did he/she take the time to read and return the screener promptly and completely?
  2. Did he/she answer the questions in the format given or did he/she elaborate and give more detail?
  3. How did his/her answers stack up to the ideal candidate?

Step 4: Schedule the Interview

Call them for an interview and have a specific time and date in mind. If they cannot make that time and date, give a backup. If they cannot make the second, tell them, “We will have to check our schedule and get back to you with another time that works.” The candidate obviously doesn’t want this position badly enough to make time. Aim for candidates that are hungry.

Step Five: The Interview

When they arrive, observe their grooming and punctuality. Punctual people who care about their appearance will give the same respect to the company they represent.

Take them around and show them the business. Make them feel welcome and show that you are human, not just a “company.” In addition to asking what they bring to the table, tell them what you can do for them. A positive reaction is one of the first things to look for.

After you show them what and who you are, determine if they checked out your website (or something similar), the first action point. Ask one specific thing about your content. If they give you feedback, then you know in the future they will communicate with you. If they are silent or did not go to the website, understand how that reflects their ability to do the job.

Step Six: The Field Test

Ask the candidate to complete a task that they will be doing on a regular basis. For a delivery driver, for instance, ask them to lift a package properly, drive from point A to point B and parallel park, and locate and use a Google map. During this time, ask questions like, “What song do you have on repeat these days on their stereo? When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? (But be careful to not ask any illegal interview questions.)

These simple, straightforward questions can show how the candidate handles mild amounts of stress. Can they handle your questions and still complete the task accurately and quickly? The on-the-job stress will certainly be more intense.

Are They Fit for Your Team?

After you send the candidate on their way, often the most important question is: will this candidate be a good fit for the team? Fitting in with the team and the culture is crucial to their success. An employee may be a great individual worker, but in any great company everyone is on the same team.

By following these steps, you’ll give yourself the best chance to identify good-quality candidates and add them to your team, Starchup says.

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.

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