Follow these seven key strategies to hire top-notch employees
by Orley Solomon
The philosophy of the Bridge family has always been that our associates
are the most important ingredient in building a successful organization.
The leadership of our company has always come from within, not by hiring
people into management from other companies. Therefore our most important
job is to hire, train, and improve our personnel at all times. The challenge,
then, is to find these people and bring them into the organization.
Hire Nice People
Nice people are everywhere - managing a McDonald's, working as a receptionist
at your golf or tennis club, waiting on customers at your favorite restaurant
or the cosmetic department at your favorite department store. We've hired
people from each of these walks of life, and all have become very successful.
We are complimented daily by our customers regarding our caring sales
associates and their desire to "go the extra mile." We're often
asked how we train people to be so nice. We don't train them to be nice,
we hire nice people and then train them to work in our stores.
Our manager in Anchorage, AK, Regina McDaniels, came out of the restaurant
business. When I met her, she greeted me with a wonderful smile. She made
great eye contact, was alert, friendly and outgoing. She made my lunch an
event with menu suggestions and special service. She also wore nice jewelry.
As I finished lunch, I invited her to explore opportunities with our company.
She started part-time and soon opted for a full-time career. Her great attitude
and enthusiasm make her a winner.
Don't Hire on the Spot
Even if a candidate makes a great first impression, it's not a good idea
to hire too quickly. Always have a second interview. Have your assistant
manager or one of your key people talk with applicants as well. See how
aggressive the candidate is in pursuing the position. If the candidate doesn't
follow up within a week, he or she may not follow up with customers.
Don't Accept Mediocrity
One of the biggest mistakes many managers make is settling for mediocrity
rather than pursuing excellence. Some managers are tempted to hire someone
too quickly to fill the gap of a promoted salesperson. The best managers
will work short-handed and fill in the needed time themselves until the
right person becomes available. The average cost of a bad hire is $10,000
to $20,000. When you add the salary cost, your time spent in training, lost
sales and lowered morale, it's easy to see why mediocrity is a poor solution.
Learn To Interview
One of the most important skills to develop is knowing how to conduct a
good job interview. The best predictor of what people will do in the future
is how they have behaved in the past. Formulate job-related questions using
open-ended questions and build a rapport with your applicant. A few other
areas to think about:
- Does a candidate notice pictures or plaques in your office and offer
a complimentary comment?
- Has the applicant shopped your company to find out what you are about?
- Does the candidate have an easy smile, firm handshake, good eye contact?
Is he or she well groomed, with shined shoes and nice jewelry?
- Know what questions are illegal in your state.
- Did the candidate send a thank-you note after the interview? It's a
sign the person will follow up with customers.
- Body language gives you a good idea of personality.
Learn to Network and Recruit
One way to tap in to a rich resource of potential employees is to get involved
with your local high school or college marketing programs. Most high schools
have a career center, and you can make yourself available as a guest speaker
during a Career Day, which most high schools sponsor annually.
Look for chapters of the Distributive Education Clubs of America and
Future Business Leaders of America programs, which enroll high school students
interested specifically in business and marketing. By allying your business
with these groups, you'll offer a service to young people and to the high
schools by providing information about career opportunities in the jewelry
industry. (These young people can also be the lifeblood of your wedding-set
Always be on the lookout for winners. You'll find them among friends
and relatives of your associates. It pays to know key people in community
colleges, to attend trade fairs and to network with local organizations
such as the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. These
people are a great source for good potential employees. Constantly recruit.
Have good people "on tap" for the time when the inevitable opening
When starting with a new associate, make it possible for either of you to
end the work relationship without hard feelings. You will know within 90
days whether you have a great hire or not. Most experienced managers can
tell in half the time. To make the new hire understand that this probationary
period benefits both parties, try stating it like this: "I think you'll
love this business. If you don't like what you're doing or the people you're
working with, you'll know within 90 days. And it's the same for me. So let's
just think of this as an engagement for 90 days and not a wedding, OK?"
Get 'Em Off to a Good Start
You must set the tone, and the employees must know your high expectations.
The first two days are the most important with your new hire. You must personally
show, teach and give feedback while encouraging questions. Get new employees
started in the educational process of the jewelry profession. Encourage
them to observe and learn from the other associates and later introduce
them to the Gemological Institute of America correspondence courses.
Orley Solomon is considered the dean of American jewelry store sales
trainers and educators. He was honored in March by the American Gem Society
with its Robert Shipley award, given each year to honor high achievement
in the jewelry industry.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.