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Hiring is an art form — be prepared and have a thorough process

We often make the mistake in our hiring process of spending too much time talking about ourselves and our business and not enough time investigating and getting to know the applicant, says Maylan Newton

A big problem I see in our industry with hiring people is that we are not prepared and do not have a process and procedure in place to do it. In most cases, it is helter skelter. Hiring people is not something we like to do as shop operators — it’s expensive, and it is not easy, so we don’t put much thought into it. The result is we hire the wrong people for the wrong reasons and it’s costly.

Maylan Newton of Educational Seminars Institute (ESI)

Please remove the emotion of hiring someone. Too many owners fall in love with the person’s personality — don’t get me wrong, personalities are important, but they’re not everything. We have to hire our team based on skills.

I am not a big fan of some of the psychological testing, personality testing, etc., but if you do use them, keep in mind to make sure you consult with an attorney that has HR experience. In many states, the use of personality testing and psychological testing opens you up for some other liabilities.

We often make the mistake in our hiring process of spending too much time talking about ourselves and our business and not enough time investigating and getting to know the applicant. My suggestion is to write down 20 to 30 questions for every candidate. Please make sure your questions are not questions likely answered with a yes or no. 

They should all be open-ended questions and require at least a sentence to answer. As a note of caution, make sure you understand the questions and questions you cannot ask an applicant. They will vary from state to state, and the federal government has its standards.

Be consistent in your hiring process. The consistency can help you stay out of trouble if someone ever accuses you of being discriminatory against the applicant. In a nutshell, treat everybody the same, do the same thing every time.

In most cases, it starts with a phone interview. Again, you should have a short list of questions that you ask to pre-qualify the applicant to see if you want to bring them in and continue the process. If you decide the applicant should go further, here’s the process I would use.

Have applicants come to the shop, bring their resume and complete the following:

• Employment application

• Appropriate skills assessment test

• Math assessment test (I’m OK if they use a calculator for this and I don’t care if they use a calculator in the shop. I would allow them to use the tools they had available to them. But if they use a calculator and make a mistake, that would raise some questions).

Provide them with a list of minimum expectations for the job description and have the applicant fill all of the paperwork out in your presence at the shop so you know they read and write. It also gives you a sample of their handwriting, and that this was their work. You will also know that they did not take time to research every question.

Review their paperwork and do the first full interview with them. If you still are considering the applicant after the first interview, have another person to conduct the second interview.


Maylan Newton is CEO of Educational Seminars Institute (ESI) and the 2017 ASCCA Member of the Year.

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