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#157064 - 08/12/05 09:04 AM Finding Good Employees  
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA
We are a small Res / service oriented shop looking to hire one or perhaps 2 entry level apprentices. We are willing to invest in OJT, but can’t afford to waste our time and $$$ on folks who aren’t capable of learning the trade and / or don’t have the work ethic & Honesty to become trusted valuable employees. I would be interested in any and all advice on how to find / screen / train and retain good folks.

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#157065 - 08/12/05 09:49 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL
Put the word out. Just as the customers come word of mouth, so do the best employees. Just start mentioning to people what you are doing and what you are looking for. Network with other trades. They generally socialize with other "trade types" and that way the word can spread to possible candidates.

I would also look for local trade schools or junior colleges that offer NEC or trade classes. Put word to them or post on a public board (thinking cork type in a hallway, ot virtual). We have one local trade organiztion that has classes that young men will actually put themselves through. How's that for dedication? Not looking for a free ride. A little refeshing.

#157066 - 08/12/05 02:54 PM Re: Finding Good Employees  
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA
Thanks. Very good ideas for finding candidates.

Any thoughts on how to sort out ones have what it takes from those who just talk a good game. One thing we have done in the past is to ask for 3 references. If a guy (or gal) can not find 3 people to speak highly of him we figure he is probably not worth investing in. Also we have been burned by guys who have worked for other electrical shops. They always claim that they were let go because they were the last one hired. While that may have been true, if the person is reliable and able to learn, most shops will hang on to them.

Any thoughts?


#157067 - 08/12/05 10:12 PM Re: Finding Good Employees  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
None of us has a crystal ball...and, in this day of meth abuse, even the best man can fall fast!

I suppose the first maxim that comes to mind is "apples never fall far from the tree." Someone from a solid family is likely to be solid also.

I was stumped by this question...until I went grocery shopping. The "bag boy" was exceptionally 'on the ball,' and really stood out in his willingness to help out, knowledge of the store, and awareness to his surroundings.
I thought to myself "this guy needs to get into the trade!" If I'd been looking for help, I'd have spoken to him right then.

So I advise you to keep your eyes open, and watch people as they function in the real world. If you see someone who impresses you, recruit them.

The second thought I had was to ask myself "does this persom remind me of when I was that age?" Might be a good prospect, if the answer is 'yes.'

Finally, think of your work. Do you do a lot of physical labor...stuff like massive wire pulls and digging ditches? Or, are you focused on service calls, tenant improvements, and control work? Maybe an older person, a woman, or a carry-over from another trade is a good prospect.

(Heck, all low-voltage guys wish they were 'real' electricians, don't they? :-) )

#157068 - 08/15/05 10:06 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA

Many thanks! I think you are right on. In this day and age, if you can spot someone who comes from a family with a strong work ethic and is interested in learning a valuable trade, you should hire them. In the past, we have been plagued by guys who show up 3 or 4 days a week and seemed to spend most of their time trying to figure out how to keep us from finding out that they weren’t working. Then when we let them go, they claim unemployment against our account.

We are thinking of instituting “two week trial period policy” -- they work for us for two weeks (at our normal apprentice pay rate) with the understanding that at the end of the two weeks, we will make the decision about hiring them. Does anyone know if there any legal issues with a program like that. Do we need to put the policy in writing and have them sign it before they start work? Could the claim unemployment against our account if we decide not to hire them?


#157069 - 08/15/05 10:32 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
hankj  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 4
Browns Valley, CA, USA
On the last job I held before "real" retirement, the foremen were allowed to hire based on needs. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do. In the 6-years I worked there, I Had some resounding successes and some dismal failures! Policy was "my way or the highway", and there never seemed to be any legal or unemployment issues on early (two weeks) terminations. California has some strange laws, so I figure if it was OK here, it's OK everywhere!

In two weeks, you can pretty well tell if the candidate is worth his or her salt. Our work was very labor intensive, so there was no time for people who failed to show or were absent from the work location during a shift.

The recruitment ideas posted previously are excellent. On-the-job performance will tell you the rest very quickly!


...from the Gadget Garage

#157070 - 08/15/05 10:50 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
A-Line  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272
Utah, USA
I'm located in Utah and have worked for some manufacturing plants as an electrician.
They had a 90 day probation period. If during that 90 days you didn't work out you didn't get the job.

#157071 - 08/17/05 05:46 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
maintenanceguy  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 300
Southern NJ, USA
Hiring's a gamble. To be successful at it, you have to be willing to get rid of anybody who dosn't work out the first time and try again. Once you hire, you're not committed until they prove themselves. If your first hire can't cut it, send them packing and try again until you get it right. Your livelyhood depends on it.

#157072 - 08/18/05 02:15 AM Re: Finding Good Employees  
Sixer  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
Something that worked for me is to hire more "mature" people. By mature, I'm meaning someone who's had time out in the workforce developing good work ethics and people skills. Mid 20's and over seems to be a good age.

Also, try to get someone who's had the pre-apprenticeship (electrical entry) course. In my opinion, if someone is willing to invest 9 months of their time and money to take the course, they are definitely serious about the trade.


"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

#157073 - 08/20/05 08:26 PM Re: Finding Good Employees  
ShockMe77  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
Rahway, New Jersey
I'm currently working in the "90 day probation" period at my new job. It hasn't been easy because I am 35 years old and after working for one company for 11 years he had to let me go because he couldn't afford to keep me any longer. I think my old boss didn't charge his customers enough money and I was the casualty.

Long story short, it sucked having to find a new job earlier this year. The first contractor I worked for was a PRO-UNION guy and I knew that wasn't going to work out for me. The next company I worked for was 35 miles from my house and the commute sucked. The 3rd job of the year, I got molded into a helpers role which I was not going to settle for. Now I have a new job close to home and I get along with everyone in the shop, and they all seem to like working with me wich is good. Nothing worse than going to work and hate going there and hate the people you work with.

Now, like anyone, I make mistakes too. I'm not perfect and I do not know everything. However, if I was an employer and I hired someone who was in the field for over 15 years like me, I would expect that this employee be mistake free with very little room for error. And its this kind of pressure that I'm under each and every day of this 90 day trial period. It isn't easy knowing that if you make one wrong move (or bad connection, whatever...) that you might be out on the street the next day looking for another job.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by ShockMe77 (edited 08-20-2005).]

[This message has been edited by ShockMe77 (edited 08-20-2005).]

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