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How to Hire

We all know that finding quality employees is more of an art than a science. I have seen candidates with stellar resumes and great skills fall short once they were hired. I have also had the pleasure of watching individuals with modest credentials perform impressively in new positions.

 While there isn’t a tried-and-true formula for separating the wheat from the chaff, I have developed some strategies over the years that have improved my hiring process tremendously. My hope is that these tips will help you land some truly outstanding team players.

  1. Develop a hiring criteria. That might sound complicated, but it simply involves creating a list of rules that will guide your hiring process. For example, longevity is big on my list, so I won’t interview anyone who has had more than two jobs in the past five years. Maybe you have rules regarding the level of experience a candidate should have, or you want employees who live within certain mileage area of your store. Be aware of the factors that are important to your business and keep those in mind as you are reviewing resumes and determining which candidates might be worth talking to further.  Know what you want before the first resume lands on your desk.

  2.  Analyze resumes carefully. Beyond assessing experience and skill level, keep an eye out for gaps in employment, misspellings, and disorganization in how the resume is arranged. Those clues will give you insight into the candidate’s work habits and could reveal a lack of attention to detail.

  3. Do your homework. You might be surprised, but background checks don’t always reveal the details that make a difference in hiring decisions. I have however, dug up plenty of information using Google (including whether a candidate has been arrested or served time in jail). I also rely on Facebook. If someone has any undesirable items on his or her wall or inappropriate photos, I know that person is not going to be a good fit. Even calling a candidate before an interview can provide valuable insight. I once called a potential candidate and got a voice mail recording set to background music filled with expletives. That told me all I needed to know.  If you reach a candidate before an interview, listen carefully. If the individual is hard to understand or is not engaging, they may struggle with customers.

  4. Use the interview as a screening tool. Some shop owners view the interview as simply a formality – especially for those candidates who look good on paper. Don’t make that mistake. Even great candidates may not meet your hiring criteria. The first step is to prepare questions in advance so you stay focused on your goal.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions that aren’t related to their job experience. I always ask candidates to list some adjectives to describe themselves both professionally and personally. I also target individuals who share my values. I work hard and I expect my employees to do the same, so I look for fellow workaholics. That is why I ask about hobbies and activities outside of work. If a candidate is a die-hard motocross racer, then I know that hobby will take priority over the job.

    It’s also important to evaluate more than just a candidate’s answers to the interview questions. Did they smile when they greeted you? Were they well groomed? Do they have energy? For me, personality is paramount, especially for managers and front-counter personnel.

Finally, try to make hiring an ongoing part of your job – even if you don’t have any openings. My experience is that you find the best people when you don’t need them, so keep a log of potential candidates and try to set aside time each week to conduct interviews. If you only hire when you are short staffed, then you are bound to make a bad decision because you’re just looking for a body. Have someone in your back pocket, and next time an employee leaves, you’ll be ready with a strong replacement.



Greg Sands is the CEO and founder of Mudlick Mail in Acworth, GA. The company provides
demographically targeted, direct mail programs for automotive service and repair shops
nationally. An 18-year veteran of the automotive industry, Greg also owns and operates more
than 25 repair shops across the country. Follow Mudlick on Facebook: /www.facebook.com
mudlickmail or Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mudlickmail



  • All good tips, except I have to vehemently disagree with the last 2 sentences in tip #4- just because a potential hiree is passionate about a hobby or sport doesn't mean they should automatically be dropped from a list of potential employees. I've known several hard workers who are hard core snowmobilers, sports players, etc. and it didn't effect their job performance one bit.

    ZiRT, 2 years ago | Flag

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