Recruiting Tips Offered To Broaden Dealers' Employee Search
Finding good employees presents a problem to most businesses today, and kitchen and bath firms are no exception. However, if kitchen and bath dealers network with other trades, local reps, and even family, friends and those outside of the industry, they could come away with a stellar staff.
The key is to broaden your employee search, but be very specific in what you want in an employee and out of the position you are looking to fill.
That's the advice of Joe Miles of Williams Kitchens & Baths and Jackie Balint of The Kitchen Collection, a pair of dealer-members of the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG) who addressed BKBG members at a recent educational conference sponsored by the member-owned co-op.
There are many ways to find employees, according to Miles and Balint. Among them, consider the following:
- Hire family members.
- Hire outside the industry. Look for outgoing professional people from other industries. Try the restaurant, retail or hotel industries where customer service is already at a premium. Visit furniture stores and home centers and look for outgoing individuals.
- Hire through local colleges or NKBA-endorsed colleges.
- Consider hiring from the installation sector.
- Ask local reps who they recommend.
- Put an internship or apprentice program in place.
- Use employment companies to refine and help you with your search. Give them the information you are looking for to let them do the screening first. That way, when you start your interview process, you are looking at good prospects that meet your minimum criteria
- Reward employees monetarily for bringing new employees on board. Establish an amount that works within your budget. Try rewarding an employee when the person he/she recommended is hired, then again after the new hire stays one year.
So, what constitutes a good candidate? And how does one know that a good candidate who meets the minimum criteria and looks good on paper is the right fit for a particular company?
"When you find a good candidate, have your key employees interview him/her very casually over lunch," Miles and Balint advise. Other suggestions include mandating a drug test for all new hires and current employees as well as performing police and personal background checks and checking driving records.
Once hired, Miles and Balint suggest the following techniques to break in new hires, especially those who are hired just out of college or from an outside field:
- Make all designers work in the field with an installer, so they can experience what goes on during a project.
- Do the same with installers, and have them work in the showroom with a designer so they can see what goes into developing a customer and selling him or her a project.
- Create a team approach for the company. For example, have a certain installer work with a particular designer. Make them both responsible for the success of a project.
- In addition, hire design assistants for your more-established designers, thereby creating a career path for new hires and giving your designers needed help in the process. This tactic also allows you to see new hires in action with established personnel and determine their potential.