Turf Magazine - March, 2013

WEST FEATURES

How to Hire the Right Employees the First Time

By Patrick McGuiness

So you are in need of some new employees. You need them to start soon, as in now. There is work to be done and the hiring process takes too much time. OK, stop. Hiring the wrong employees quickly will cause you to spend tenfold the time dealing with them later. You know the employees I am talking about because you have them on staff currently. You spend more time dealing with the mistakes from one bad employee than you do dealing with all of your good employees.

Put a stop to this merry-go-round of bad hiring by putting a process in place. It is simple and can prevent headaches in the future by helping you hire competent, responsible workers. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to solving many of your future employee-related problems.

1. Take the time to set up the process. I know you are in a hurry, but if you need employees immediately, use a labor agency. To truly hire the right people, force yourself to take the time to set up a hiring process.

2. Write a good job description. Draft a job description that tells what the job entails. Nobody wants to work in an unfriendly, micro-managed and stressful work environment, so don't make your job description sound that way. Set a deadline for applications and list what materials the applicant should submit.

3. Have an interview process. Work with an attorney or HR consultant to develop a set of questions to ask each candidate you are interviewing. Set a time limit for each of the interviews and stick closely to it. Your goal is to create a level playing field for the candidates so that you can evaluate them objectively.

For the interview, come up with questions that will give you clues to the candidate's abilities to perform well on the job you are hiring for.

4. Consider a simulation. It might be a good idea to include a simulation as part of the job interview. Have the candidate perform a simple task that would be a part of what they would be doing for the job. It could be as simple as changing the spark plug on a blower or mower, or having them show you how they would load/unload the truck. Just make sure it isn't something that is going to injure them during the interview. Also, make sure you have everyone you interview do the same simulation so that you can accurately compare their abilities.

5. What not to do. Do not hire someone that is very similar to you, unless of course the job you are hiring for is the same as yours. Look for skills and traits that will work well in the job being hired for.

Do not assume that you will have an epiphany when interviewing people. The process should be put in place so that you can objectively evaluate and rank all of the candidates. Assuming you will "know it when you see it" can leave you asking who was the best candidate after all the interviews have been completed and you haven't had that "a-ha" moment.

Friends or relatives of current employees often turn out to be good employees but resist hiring them on current employees' recommendations alone. Generally a current employee won't want to jeopardize their job by recommending someone they know will fail. Even so, you should evaluate this prospect just as you would other people seeking employment for the same job.

Follow these steps and you will be on your way to setting up a great hiring process. It will eliminate headaches further down the road, and yield quality workers to improve your bottom line. If you would like more information on how to hire the best, stay tuned for future columns.

This article provides general information on employment law matters and should not be relied upon as legal advice. A qualified attorney must analyze all relevant facts and apply the applicable law to any matter before legal advice can be given .

Patrick McGuiness is one of the founding partners of Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC. His law practice focuses on assisting contractors and other small business owners. He is also part-owner of One Call Landscaping a Minneapolis landscaping company. Contact him at pmcguiness@zmattorneys.com.