How can you detect early that you hired the right person? Or how do you hire the right people?
— Tom Oswald, JAM’n Designs, Atlanta, Ga.
Advice from Ned Wilson, Wilson’s Garden Center, Newark, Ohio
At Wilson’s Garden Center, we have been hiring people off and on for the last 40 years, usually for spring seasonal positions. You usually know within a month whether that person will be a good fit for your company.
It is so much more satisfying (and efficient) to hire the right person to begin with, than to sever the relationship with an employee who is not working out. No one gets it right 100 percent of the time, but we have developed this process over the years.
Start With A Large Application Pool
Depending on the position, we advertise for people in our store, on our website, on Facebook and on our sign out front. The local internet job sites often will pick up this information and post it to their sites. We generally don’t lack for applicants through this process, and it doesn’t cost us anything.
Start Observing Right Away
We require prospects to come in and physically fill out the form to avoid other people filling in their information and to give the applicants additional information about the jobs. It also allows us to observe them in how they follow instructions and how polite they are to the people in the office. This acts as an initial qualifier in the hiring process.
We have each one read and sign a “What It Takes To Be A Wilson Employee” with our basic standards on it.
Allow Them To Reveal Themselves
We select from the applications those that have the best qualifications from the answers given. We call these people in for interviews. Their promptness and demeanor at the interview are very important. We ask all of the applicants the same legal open-ended questions, and then keep quiet to allow each one to express themselves and not guide their answers. Each person is actually interviewed at least twice, once by the personnel manager (my wife, Mitzie) and then by the area leader(s) with whom they will be working.
We also have a short written test and a task to perform in the area where they are applying. After all of the interviews, the two interviewers get together to evaluate the people they interviewed. This process allows different viewpoints to mesh together and allows them to pick the ones most qualified. If the references are good, then these people are called to be hired.
Keep Watching During Training
During an orientation time, we go over company policy and our culture. We team people with the area leaders so that they start off properly. The new employees are given training cards that have information about each job task that they are to perform so they know what is our standard for that particular job.
Once they believe they have mastered a specific task then they are reviewed by a mentor who approves them on their competence with that task. They go to the next card and work on that one to master it.
We make sure that the employee feels welcome and integrates with other employees soon after they are hired. There are many different ways to hire people, but this is the one that works for us.
Have A Problem You Can’t Solve?
If you have advice for this problem or would like input on your own challenge, let us know about it in the comments or eMail firstname.lastname@example.org.