Markup & Profit

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

FINDING GOOD EMPLOYEES (using your cell phone)

Good employees, with a strong work ethic and knowledge of their trade, are already employed. When they want to change jobs, they can usually do so quickly. That is why, when you decide to hire an employee, you also need to move quickly.

Here is a method that some of our coaching clients are using and so far it is working great.

Write a four or five line ad, starting with "Top Pay for (insert job name here)." Then list briefly what you are looking for, i.e., experience, must have own hand tools, late model vehicle, good driving record, no drugs or alcohol, whatever else you feel is important. The key phrase is "Top Pay for . . . " (If you can't give top pay, read our book "Markup & Profit; A Contractor's Guide". You aren't charging enough for your work.)

Put the ad everywhere you can: in the paper, on the Internet, on the bulletin board at the supply house. List your cell phone number - and make sure you have your cell phone with you to take the calls. When potential employees call in, here is what you say:

"I'm going to give you a 30 second commercial about the job, when I am done I want you to tell me if you can do it. You will be checked and evaluated during the first two weeks of employment so if you tell me you can do the job, be aware you will be checked and tested. I will not talk about money on this call. If you can do the job, we will meet later today or tomorrow morning, have some coffee, talk about the job, the pay and see if there is a fit between us. Is that fair enough?"

Now, notice that you won't talk money. That forces the potential employee to focus on the job requirements, and it stops your competition from calling and finding out what you are willing to pay good help. If the caller comes back with any questions about pay, they are the wrong person for you. Their focus is obviously on the pay, not the work, and it tells you they won't follow directions!

Give them the short commercial, describing the work and the requirements. Remember to keep it short and to the point. 30 seconds is plenty of time to tell them what you want. When you are done, you ask them, "Can you do that job?" If they say no, then say good-bye nicely. That is one less resume to look at, one less interview to hold - both you and the potential employee have saved time.

If the answer is yes, set a time and place to meet for coffee. When you meet, go through your normal hiring questions. If they measure up, hire them on the spot. Forget the resume and job history stuff. Good employees are not going to hang around waiting for you to go through the three to five week game of interviewing every guy in the world. Give your new employees a two-week trial period. If they make it through the first two weeks, there should be a second probationary period so you get a chance to really see what they are like and what they can do. The second period should be at least six weeks or more. At the end of the second trial period, you set their wage.

Remember, asking for resumes, former employers, and the rest of the fall-da-rah that goes with that approach seldom will get you the same truth that a short trial period will provide. If they don't work out, send them down the road and start over.

You should have an employee manual in place, and one job requirement is reading and signing the manual. If they won't sign the manual, don't hire them. In today's market, the deck is stacked more and more on the side of employees, and you must protect yourself and your company from those who are looking for a free lunch.

Using this approach, you will find that good employees are available, and they are ready to move ahead. Be ready to move ahead as well and you'll save yourself time and aggravation.

Final Comment:

I can't emphasize enough the value of a good employee manual.

I received a call from a company that terminated an employee. Almost a year later, the employee sued them for $26,000 for discrimination, etc. In your employee manual, include language that states they can only file a claim against your company for a period of 6 months after they leave. That limit has been upheld in the courts. Have your attorney write it, add it to your employee manual, and be sure that everyone, including long time employees, sign off on it. Cover Your Assets.


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