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In today’s environment one of the toughest tasks for an owner of any business is to find the right employees. This is not just a throw-away problem that will resolve itself: If you don’t get it right, your business can truly suffer.
This is especially true for a plumbing business experiencing an ever-shrinking talent pool, whose survival depends on having a good reputation and satisfied customers in order to grow through word-of-mouth and good reviews. Maintaining high standards is paramount, so it is important to undertake the interview process in a methodical and strategic way to ensure your company can identify and recruit the skilled and motivated staff it needs.
I own and operate a technical trade school, and too often see business owners “winging it” when it comes to the interview process.
Our students are in strong demand and can tell when a potential employer cares enough to prepare for the interview. A casual demeanor is fine, but there should be some formal thought put into the actual interview process and specific questions to be asked of the candidate.
Being prepared to conduct an interview can help you discover if the candidate has critical customer service skills – a vital component for all potential service employees.
Of course, there are questions about the skills and knowledge required for the job, but regardless of the experience level the position requires, try to ask questions that will indicate whether the candidate’s personality is geared toward high-level service and if their values match yours, in order to determine if they are a good fit for your company.
You should also steer away from close-ended questions that require a yes or no response. Open-ended questions can prompt a candidate to engage in conversation by requiring them to offer more detail and demonstrate their communication skills.
Additionally, behavior-based questions focus on how an interviewee handled work situations in the past which can reveal a candidate’s personality, judgment and decision-making skills. Past behavior can reflect and predict future behavior and highlight if someone has the needed qualifications and/or temperament for the available job.
So, what is the best way to know if the person in front you, interviewing for an open position, is the best candidate to make service calls and interact with your customers?
Here is a good cross section of interview questions you can apply when meeting with a candidate:
To determine if someone is a team player or works well on their own:
To discover why are they looking for a job:
To learn what they think of themselves, and what can they offer your business:
To establish if the candidate has problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
To reveal their strongest skills:
To uncover how they feel about a future in your business/industry:
As you can see, these are very deliberate questions that can help to draw conclusions as to the nature of the potential employee. Of course, if there are specific skills you require, think of questions that will help to determine if a person has the qualifications that would make them a good fit.
While there is no guarantee that the employees you find will meet all of your needs, developing a thought-out process rather than just “winging it” can help to build a conscientious, skilled and, most importantly, motivated team that will in turn contribute to the overall success of your business.
About the National Technical Institute
Established in 2003, NTI’s mission is to produce problem-solving, creative-thinking graduates who possess industry-standard knowledge and skills for a long-term, promising career. Taking only 12 weeks to complete, flexibility is built around a student’s schedule with an HVAC, Plumbing and Electric Fusion Training Programs consisting of both online classes and practical hands-on training in a lab, weekend or weekday tracks and morning or evening classes.
The campus includes more than 14,000 square feet of classroom and state-of-the-art plumbing, HVAC and electrical training labs. With a real-life, hands-on installation training facility, the school’s advanced labs consist of the most modern and relevant mechanical, commercial refrigeration and electrical training equipment in the industry.
In 2019, NTI was honored as “The Best Trade School” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and one of the top 500 fastest growing companies for 2020 by Inc. 5000.