This is a continuation of last month’s guide to people management in the detail industry.
START AT THE START
Before you go looking for management candidates or trying to hire them, you need to first understand where they are looking, what they are looking for, and how to attract them.
Step 1: Define what your top talent looks like. Maintain a general definition for each position that can be enhanced for each hire based on the following dynamic criteria: team dynamics, current and expected business needs, succession planning, current and expected starting needs, management styles, training feasibility, and any other significant factor that has an impact on the performance of the hire.
Step 2: Define your employee value proposition (What’s in it for them?). How do you define this — pretty easily — what are the most common reasons your top talent looks for a new opportunity? Compensation (pay) is usually only 3rd or 4th on that list, so figure out what makes them look for other opportunities and ensure that you are finding ways to offer that. Growth, flexibility, skills broadening, management, culture, recognition, and work environment are all major reasons job seekers look to move on. What are you offering to get and keep that talent?
Look to build an advertisement with a call to action like any other advertising or marketing company would. You are selling something, after all, so your post should be written like you would write any advertisement, not like you are writing a job description. You are seeking the attention of the right people, trying to deter the wrong ones, and get the right ones to actually apply. We talk a lot today about building your “brand” and like any company, your brand is what you sell, and who you are as an employer. Build that branding, so if they don’t apply for the job, maybe they want to do business with you.
Things to keep in mind when writing your job posting: Get an account to put your listing on — Jobseeker, Monster — someplace that the type of person you are looking for would go to find this job. Then search the job you are hiring for and see what they say, and what the competition is doing for benefits, pay, and marketing. This is your competition for the employee – so know what they are doing and write something that sets you apart. Keep in mind, modern workers look for jobs using their phone, so be mindful of how your content comes across on that platform. Especially important is your job title — this is the hook — so make it different and attention grabbing.
Next, make sure you put your best foot forward and have an attention grabber in the first paragraph — this may be all they see, so it needs to be compelling. Clear, concise, and to the point is best. Give them a reason to consider giving you their time and talent. Then, make sure you tell them what they will do. Be clear about what the primary responsibilities are. They want to know what they will be doing with the bulk of their time – be honest with the challenges the work presents. Call a spade a spade — if it is a sales position call it that, as opposed to a customer relations specialist. You want salespeople, so ask for that. Be clear what the job is, and where it can lead. Talk about the skills to be mastered and those that can be achieved after that, and be clear about the work environment. Is it team based or working independently, mobile or in the shop, outdoors or in, be clear about what the job really is. If you are not honest about what the work will be, you can’t expect that they will stick around through the probation period for a job that isn’t as it was advertised.
Finally, you need to present your value proposition. Why should they work for you — and it isn’t just the money. Ask your staff what they like, and what they view as a benefit, and advertise those. Finally, you do need to address the money, benefits, and location that are the basics of the job.
Get your ad out there, but don’t forget to put it up in your own business. Believe it or not, many customers walk in and think that maybe this might be a cool place to work. The cars, the outcomes, the ownership — maybe this might be a place for them. It happens more often than you think.
This is your passive recruitment. Now you need to actively recruit. This can be done as simply as interacting with a great manager at another business, or by going to local job fairs and colleges to meet new talent. A third option is to hire a staffing company that will look for and recruit for you, which may be suitable for management, but may not be needed for entry-level workers.
There are several schools of thought on the interview process. In a profession where physical skills and activity are required, it is sometimes good to do a “working interview” where the candidate can demonstrate they have the skills necessary. There are risks with this, but it can be a good way to evaluate those candidates that claim to have experience. But let’s first get to the process of interviewing.
Schedule your interview. Set a time and date and have an application ready. The evaluation starts here — are they on time and do they fill out the application completely? These are the first indications of whether the candidate is the kind of person you are looking for — on time, attentive to detail, etc. During the interview, ask questions that relate to the work — if management, ask question about how they would handle common managerial issues that arise. Asking abstract questions or those designed to stump your candidate tell you little and offer less insight than you think. You are hiring for a skill set and mindset. Ask questions that give you insight into those facets of the job.
Secondly, if you are hiring an experienced detailer, do a skills test. Similar to a welder looking to get hired, you want them to be able to show you the quality of the work they are capable of. This becomes especially important when negotiating wages. It is common to see “depending on experience” in relation to the pay scale. I would change that to “depending on demonstrated skill set”. Those looking to prove their worth, and show they are worth the money, will want to accept that challenge.
I would like to thank Sarah Turner operations and HR manager at Living H2O Car Wash in Dallas, TX for invaluable input on how to write and develop the job posting and on her great input about creating value propositions. She has done several great presentations on this, and much of what I used here is based on what she has developed.
Keith Duplessie is the owner of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems in Portland, OR.
He has been building detail centers and selling products and chemicals in the industry for more than 20 years and is a past president and Founders Club member of the International Detailing Association. In 2021 he was inducted into the IDA Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to the detailing industry.