This article appeared
in the March 2004 issue of Concrete Plant International
What to Know Before You Hire
A primer on management recruiters
By Gene Vineyard
Management of a precast producer requires
production knowledge, product knowledge, and engineering knowledge.
Most top managers have come up through one of these three disciplines;
production, sales, or engineering. But successfully managing a business
is a lot more than that.
For example, hiring new employees takes
certain skills and expertise. And like some other parts of running a business,
sometimes it’s best to turn to a professional for help. Have you
ever had this experience? You hire a new employee and have invested
time and money into training that person, only to discover that the individual
is not what you expected and you have to let them go. Sometimes finding
the right employees seems like a next to impossible endeavor.
Two key questions
There are two key questions that always
come to the fore:
1. What’s the cost of an open position?
2. What’s the cost of a bad hire?
In both cases the cost is typically very
high. For this reason, managers recognize that it is crucial to get
it right, and promptly.
Engineering error: Hiring mistakes can be costly
A checklist before you hire
Here is a checklist of questions you should
ask yourself before you undertake to hire.
Have you defined exactly what you are looking
for and why (what is the actual job description)?
How will you measure the success of the person
you hire to fill this position?
What is your hiring process? Will you use
testing (are there aptitude tests available to pre screen the candidates,
where are these tests)?
What questions can you use in a telephone
interview to eliminate unsuitable candidates?Have you looked internally
for this person?
Have you asked yourself, “Why would someone
want to leave their current position and come to work for my company?”
Have you researched what this position pays
in other companies/industries?
How does the cost of living compare with your
Do you have some type of formal benefits package
that outlines your benefits?
Are you willing to pay interview expenses?
How is this done?
What can you afford to pay in regards to relocation
What is your policy on vacation and holidays?
What is your interview process? Who will do
the initial telephone interview(s)?
When you bring the person in, who will they
Will they interview with several individuals?
The cost of an open position
cost of work not properly
Will there be follow-up interviews?
What are the critical questions to ask?
Are you familiar with what questions are illegal
Do you actually need to fill this position
or can you spread out the responsibilities with current employees?
Do you consider the hiring and training expenses
as a liability or an investment?
How is this job being done now?
The person doing this job, is their primary
job function suffering?
Do you consider your employees a necessity
or an asset?
Whether or not you use a recruiter
to help fill an opening, this checklist is invaluable to focus the pre-search
The Role of Recruiters
Recruiters establish contacts through
the years with both individuals and companies. Return business is
common. Indeed, it is not uncommon for an individual to be placed
by a recruiter, rise to a management position, and contact the recruiter
to fill an opening in the organization.
What is not fully appreciated is the role
of the recruiter that goes far beyond contacts. The employer wants
an individual that is pre-qualified, has an accurate resume’, and is available
for the position in question. In addition, the recruiter typically
helps the employer with the above questions and greatly clarifies and focuses
the search effort.
Candidates should be pre-qualified
and have an accurate resume’
Recruiters strive to find individuals with
talents, skills and experience that match the staffing requirements of
their client companies. They also conduct reference checks and screen to
make sure a candidate’s personality fits what the client company expects
from that individual. Some recruiters even place ads for specific candidates
in various trade magazines and publications. In short, recruiters save
companies time and money through the introduction of pre-qualified candidates.
Recruiters greatly improve the chances of a successful hire and reduce
How do Recruiters Work
Some recruiters have websites that allow
for client companies to go online and browse through profiles, post job
openings and contact selected individuals. Likewise, candidates can post
profiles, update their personal information, browse through job openings
and respond to those positions they would like to be considered for. Confidentiality
is the key word with most search firms, and as such, candidates and companies
are identified by number only.
is reduced if you hire the right individual
Search firms work either on contingency, meaning
there is not a charge unless a person is hired; on a temporary to permanent
basis, where the person comes in on a temporary basis and becomes a permanent
employee when the company is satisfied they are the right match; or on
a retainer. Most retainer search firms require one-third of the fee up
front, one-third midway and the remaining one-third at the completion of
the search. Some firms have a combination of retainer and contingency called
an “engagement fee.” Generally speaking, recruiters are industry specific,
discipline specialist (i.e. Human Resource, Accountants, and Administrative
Assistants) or Geographical Generalists.
Whether or not you decide to use a search
firm is up to you. If you do, it’s good to know there are professional
recruiters who can help you hire wisely!
Gene Vineyard is a principal and the founder
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Bill Ray - Precast