Test recruits to protect your company and your customers.

Are great technicians hard to find in the PHC business? You bet they are! And that is exactly why I developed my Staffing Power! program. High turnover has become a fact of life because employee loyalty is a thing of the past. In the year 2000 alone, 17 million employees quit their current jobs to take better offers. This is why recruiting has to be more than just a reaction to a sudden vacancy, because those vacancies never end. Always being in the business of recruiting is the way to go.

Actually, great technicians are not hard to find; they're just hard to find quickly.

You can't afford to wait until your next experienced tech leaves to begin your search for apprentices and new technicians; you have to get ahead of the game and start now. You have to be proactive. Being reactive has been costing you time, money and energy!

Are you always looking for good people? If somebody gives you great service while you're being a customer somewhere, do you let him know who you are, what you do, and that you are always looking for people with great attitudes like his? Even if you don't have a job for him today, you may tomorrow. You want those applications! Whether you need them right this minute or not - you will in the future.

It's All About Choice

Recruiting is about being able to choose who you want to hire, rather than taking who you can get when you're desperate - and then hoping they work out.

We wait until there's a need and then we run an ad and, out of desperation, we just hope for the best.

Tell the truth. Are you hiring anyone who can breathe in the mirror? Face it: You're waiting until you're desperate. No owner wants to see the empty truck sitting in the yard while the phone is ringing and your hard-earned marketing dollars are going to waste.

But, do you want to hire like the Diamondbacks just did with Wally Backman and then be publicly embarrassed when they found out some troubling background issues?

A couple of years back Notre Dame went through the same process with its football coach.

So, can you really afford to rush through or, worse yet, skip all the testing you need to do for each applicant? Today that means checking his or her driving record, having a criminal background check completed, as well as drug screening and alcohol testing. Keep in mind, these tests are just the minimum.

I know you're thinking there will be no one left to hire. You're wrong. But, if you're not willing to market for new staff as consistently and as seriously as for new customers, there will be a heavy price to pay.

How many of you have a line item in your annual budget for recruiting, hiring and training? But, you probably have a line item for marketing, don't you?

If you think long-term, does it make sense to put people behind the wheel of your rolling billboard (your truck) without knowing you've pre-screened them in every conceivable way? Want road rage in a truck bearing your company name? Let me ask you, would you feel confident in sending those employees to your own family and friends' homes?

Think about the potential for negative exposure in the media because you were too scared to do the testing you know you should to protect your company and your customers. How about protecting the people who aren't your customers but drive the roads and walk the streets?

Let's switch from the need to do these tests to protect the company and your customers to the actual work you'll want these people to do.

How many of you test all new applicants with a written test of technical questions? Or is showing up good enough?

Do you have a practical test where you rig up some real trade problems in your bathroom, heating system, cooling system or electrical equipment? Have you noticed that some people are really good at talking technically? Some are really good at written tests. But have you also noticed that many of them don't know how to actually do the work?

Would you like to know that now or wait until they're out at your customers' homes?

Testing Tip

Here's a tip if you commit to this type of testing. Always put a time restriction on filling out applications, written and practical testing. Why? Well, it's a sad reality today but some people struggle with reading. One way to screen this is to place a time limit. Wouldn't you agree that we work under time limits, such as how long it takes us to do tasks and how many calls we can do the right way in a given day? If your applicant gets rattled in your relatively safe environment, how well do you think he or she will do when in front of some of your toughest customers?

Here's what I know: The best people love to be tested. They are happy to prove that they're not like everyone else. And if they are the best, they deserve the opportunity to be paid like the best for submitting to all the testing. It's good for the company, it's good for them and ultimately it's good for the customer.

Here's a technique I was taught by a trainer that I share with my clients: He advocates that you have the new applicant sing during the job interview. Why? Well, he explained that it showed the applicant's willingness. Would you agree that we need people who can be flexible?

Every company who uses this technique loves the results. And if you try it, you might just have employees who whistle while they work.