Hiring Good People

By Stephen Bean, CLA Member posted 07-27-2017 12:42

Here Are the Keys to Conducting an Effective Job Interview

If you own or manage an attended laundry business, it’s no secret that at some point in time you’re definitely going to have to advertise for and interview prospective attendants. This task just comes with the territory.

And, if you’re like many store operators, you simply do as well as you can to interview the available candidates and then to make the best “gut decision” possible with regard to who gets awarded the coveted positions. However, if this is your method for hiring “the face of your business,” you’ve got to admit that it’s certainly not a very scientific approach.

Despite giving it the best of efforts collectively, the overall turnover rate for laundry attendants in this industry is much higher than it should be. This is a rather costly dilemma, and also somewhat injurious to the businesses experiencing the turnover.

In reality, every job interview is a complex, step-by-step “psychodynamic” event for both the interviewer and the interviewee. By understanding the psychological principles and methodology underlying this important function, you can actually become highly proficient at the process, which will save you time and money… and perhaps a bit of your sanity as well.

Typical costs associated with hiring attendants include such expenses as advertising for the position, orientation of the hired individual and training – as well as potential legal bills in the event the new employee doesn’t work out and, in turn, decides to sue you for wrongful dismissal.

There also are a variety of costs that are difficult to quantify but could turn out to be lethal to your business, such as disruption of current employee morale, customer dissatisfaction and perhaps lost customers.

In addition, there is often an increased (and usually less-than-appreciated) work load foisted upon your other employees, who are forced in the interim to take on the shift of the former employee who either was let go or quit.

Alas, the interviewing and hiring process begins all over again – and all too often with the same unfortunate results.

Guidelines for Interviewing and Hiring Your Next Attendant

Now that I have discussed the problem, let me provide what I believe to be psychologically valid guidelines to help vastly improve the laundry attendant interview and hiring processes.

First of all, I suggest that you accept the fact that the interview process by its very nature is somewhat of a stressful conversation. The applicants have their anxieties and concerns, and you have yours as well.

Although it’s generally accepted that you – as the business owner or manager – are the lead person in the interview, it’s extremely important that civility reign at all time. It’s difficult to expect someone to be civil if you’re not exhibiting the same behavior. So, the watchword is to show a high degree of respect, even if the candidate doesn’t at first appear to be the type of individual you’re looking for.

After all, his or her best qualities just may reveal themselves at the end of the meeting, and you surely wouldn’t want to preclude that from occurring.

Most job candidates will be somewhat nervous merely by virtue of the fact that they don’t know exactly what to expect from the interviewer. As a result, the best course of action is to let them know at the beginning the types of questions you plan to ask. This will reduce the anxiety level and make the interviewees more comfortable.

One of the most important aspects to look for in a job applicant is “cultural fit.” In other words, does he or she appear to be able to blend in with the rest of your staff? Along with specific required skills, this quality is essentially fundamental for obvious reasons.

Of course, questions will form the basis for the interview. However, prior to that, you should clearly and fully describe the nature and responsibilities of the open job position. After that, it’s time to ask the applicant some specific questions. Here are a few that I would strongly suggest:

• “If asked, what would your former employers say about you?”

• “If asked, what would your former subordinates say about you?”

• “What about yourself would you like to improve upon?”

• “In the past, how have you dealt with stress or conflict at work?”

• “What tips you off internally when you’re under too much stress?”

• “Describe a circumstance in which you’ve failed and subsequently how you dealt with that situation.”

• “What abilities do you possess in order to deal with other people of diverse backgrounds?”

• “What types of people do you find difficult to work with?”

• “What specific questions do you have about our organization and the attendant’s job?”

Other aspects of the interview process include such factors as whether or not the job candidate arrived on time and was dressed appropriately for the meeting. What’s more, does the applicant speak negatively about former employers? These factors can reveal quite a bit about an individual.

Obviously, checking references is always a good idea. While doing so, you also should ask former employers about the candidate’s “emotional intelligence,” as well as his or her ability to adapt to different types of individuals. You also would be wise to ask if the candidate is a “team player,” along with how this particular individual reacts to authority.

The art of interviewing is a distinct skill that will improve with time and practice. Making every attempt to hire the right person is worth the effort that goes into doing so. Therefore, work on being perceptive, and make certain to apply the “Inter-Ocular Trauma Test” – in other words, notice everything, even if it doesn’t hit you squarely between the eyes.

Great interviewers instinctively know that the handwriting is always on the wall – it’s just that the ink occasionally is difficult to see at first glance.


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