Hiring Employess - How do you know the right one?
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    Default Hiring Employess - How do you know the right one?

    I went down a rabbit hole of these questions earlier and thought there might be some interesting insights from others on this.

    Aside from all the obvious and normal ways one judges an applicant's skills, abilities, capabilities, and possibilities, how do you know when the right one has come along?

    How do you choose? How have you chosen? How did it work out? How have you chosen between more than one?

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    Still workin on it.

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    My experience is limited, but I have an opinion

    Personally, I think when you are ready for employees, you should wait until you can hire at least two. For about 2 years, I had a single employee. It's difficult to be the boss of one guy. You will spend a lot of time with this guy. Eventually, the line between employee and friend gets blurry. Especially if you are close in age. It's also tough for the employee because they have no real peers. They just have the boss and the work. If you can swing 2 guys, they can be friends/companions, and you can be the boss.

    When I first got into manufacturing, I was surprised to learn that a whole lot of people go to work because they like being around other people. Being pretty reclusive myself, it just never occurred to me. One place I worked had rules to prevent people from coming in too early because people would come in hours before their shift just to chit chat in the locker room.

    As far as qualifications, I don't know how to answer that other than to try them out and see if it works. When I worked as a mechanic, the shop would hire a new guy once in a while. Usually they had big stories about skills and experience. Most simply could not walk the walk. The boss would tell them their pay was being reduced to match their actual experience. Most would leave shortly after.

    I found it very tough. I never had any supervisory experience before going out on my own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahnrad Kopf View Post
    Aside from all the obvious and normal ways one judges an applicant's skills, abilities, capabilities, and possibilities, how do you know when the right one has come along?
    How do I know? When I've hired him/her and they are still there after 4-5 years. I'm not being flippant, that's the only way I've ever been able to tell for sure. I've made almost every mistake you can make hiring. i could write a book on what NOT to do, but precious little about how TO do it.

    How do you choose? How have you chosen? How did it work out? How have you chosen between more than one?
    If you have more than one applicant and they all look equally good to you, hire the one with the least drama. The least financial drama, the least family drama, the least emotional drama, etc. If that is all the same, hire the one that would be the easiest to part with/fire if that time came. Great advice from successful employers is hire slowly, fire quickly, so make the firing drama as tolerable as possible. I've learned that rule #1 for me is hire for attitude, teach the rest. You don't really know the attitude until you've lived with someone for a while, and hiring is like getting married without dating, so prepare for the end right from the start. Rule #2 is the most important part of being a great employer is hiring great people. Great people hide among the not so great, so get used to that. The great ones will make you look awesome, the not so great will make sure you are the worst employer and biggest asshole on the face of the earth. So, like the red pill/ blue pill, choose wisely.

    Forgive me if I sound cynical about all this - I've been hiring since 1972 and I'm batting about .100. I have the most awesome guy I could ever ask for running my shop right now, hired him as a votech student 15 years ago, and his teacher didn't exactly rave about him. Have had other guys who were great machinists who didn't last a week. Had one guy steal, got fired, then cleaned out the other employees to get even with me for firing him "unfairly". Hired a 10 year friend to work in my office who I trusted and who embezzled from me and got me in 941 trouble with the IRS and state. What I said about drama? Her husband had a coke problem, my money went up HIS nose. I have another man who worked for me for 10 years then left to manage a 40 man plant, who still works evenings for me programming etc. because he likes me and my shop, needs a break from the big shop BS and wants to feel productive. He actually took a pay cut to come work for me initially. (BTW- that's a great sign someone is a good choice) YMMV

    Added - The worst thing I've ever done was keep someone after I knew he was wrong to keep. I'm a soft touch and I've done that a LOT. That's way worse than hiring the wrong guy to begin with.
    Last edited by Mud; 04-07-2018 at 09:20 PM.

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    Totally unrelated field but know a guy that runs concrete pump trucks. We got talking about this subject and he told me his simple test. Hands them a grease gun and says put a new tube in it. Says you will be amazed at the guys that have all kinds of experience but can't do it or have enough trouble you know they aren't all they say. Com!d be worth some thought to come up with some of your own just to see what happens.
    Even something as simple as putting a part in a vise with parallels. Does he wipe off the vise. Wipe off the parallels. Check to see if they are snug when he tightens them down. Ect ect. Only takes a minute and you could see a lot good and bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahnrad Kopf View Post
    I went down a rabbit hole of these questions earlier and thought there might be some interesting insights from others on this.

    Aside from all the obvious and normal ways one judges an applicant's skills, abilities, capabilities, and possibilities, how do you know when the right one has come along?

    How do you choose? How have you chosen? How did it work out? How have you chosen between more than one?
    .
    most places hire 90 day conditional that is they are not hired permanently til 90 days goes by and then decision is made.

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    you must have never worked construction. quite normal bigger jobs there are 2 to 10 workers with one who is the group leader. in construction you work day by day week by week. quite normal after weeks or months job finishing up some told to go back to big boss and find another job site to work at. and people no longer needed may be better more knowledgeable workers job finishing up might just need a few helpers not the best most senior workers
    .
    nobody gets hung up at who works at job site for how long. nobody gets hung up at whether people good enough or who needs to work with others cause they need some training. them decisions made 100 times a day and can change a hour later.
    .
    most times group leaders makes decisions as any leader does. some things are changed as job progresses its not a big deal. plenty of people either overstate their abilities or can easily do 10 more then they say they can do. dont take long based on results to find out what people can actually do.

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    How big is your operation and what do you need?

    Seems to be simple and silly questions but that must be answered first.

    In real man ours too...

    If you are performing a group of tasks that you want to off load to an employee then consider the skill set required to do those tasks followed by how many man hours a reasonably skilled person would use in completing them.

    Consider the amount of tasks to off load and the skill set required.

    Draft a high level instructions to complete them and identify specific skills needed.

    Pull the list of skills to develop the "must have" abilities in your job posting.

    Next pull from your instructions the physical requirements.

    If it requires repeat actions or lifting certian weights or excess time sitting at a desk then summarize each type as work requirements.

    Google some state job listing and you can find examples of some where it has by percentage the general expectations of lifting, carrying, sitting and other physical requirements of the job.

    Last could be mental expectations meaning if expected to think or problem solve be sure to include the types of things they are expected to do.

    This allow you to create a descriptive job post that allows one to easily filter out folks who cannot meet the entrance requirements.

    Past that it is attitude during the interview coupled with work history

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk

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    Why give them 90 days?

    That being said I personally would go look at their car, if its a pigsty, chances are they work that way as well.

    simple test on a paper or machine your pick or a list of machines and a part ask them how they would make it.





    I started this trade 20 years ago, I was told 90 days, but 4 years later they told me "We only gave you 2 weeks."....

    Using the same harsh standards today, is impossible with companies being run by HR.

    It's the simple shit that gets on my nerves.

    (1) being to work on time.

    (2) if an apprentice wanting to learn instead of be on the damn phone all day.

    (3) putting shit away and cleaning up. If your to proud to clean up your mess, chances are your head is so far up your ass, that I don't have a use for you.

    (4) drama

    (5) the owed mentality

    (6) of course the other usual list: stealing, extended coffee breaks, etc.....

    Since they are showing signs of life... ((( they're breathing ))) they must be able to do the work and can pass basic tests.

    HR bureaucracy makes it so you can't fire them or it's impossible to fire them...

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    Knowing and hiring good people is a skill. It is probably a more important skill than being a machinist. The ability to be able to tell who the right person not only from a skillset requirement but also a person who will fit into your shop culture. You need to do some research to start with. Large companies spend lots of time and money to find the right people.

    First off, never hire someone based on just one interview. Never let them take an application home, they have to complete it at your shop.

    Second, know exactly who you are looking for and learn how to ask the right questions.

    Third, get somebody to help you. After, the person drops off the app ask your receptionist or anybody else who had contact with them what they think of the person.

    Fourth, this will sound silly, but try to get a look at the vehicle they drove up in, how did they dress (someone applying to be a machinist should be dressed so you could put them out in the shop right away). How is their hair combed and how do they speak. These are all things that tell you about them.

    Fifth, don't be desperate to hire someone, be selective. Act like it's your business.

    Sixth, if you can, let the folks that they will be working with perform the last interview. If they give the thumbs up they will make sure the new hire will work out.

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    "Employment at Will" 90 days is meaningless. Your employer can let you go for any reason, (except for the obvious) on day 1, 30 89, 91, or after 12 years. 90 days may be when your insurance or other benefits kick in, but saying your on a 90 day trial period means nothing. You whole life is a trial period.

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    I have seen some very in depth interviews that became totally meaningless soon as the person hit the floor. For that reason I changed the way I hire.

    I still do the ad, look over resumes see which may fit the position best and contact those that fit the bill best. If during that time I get a couple of people that call to verify I received resume, see if I had any further questions...ask if they might be able to just come by and take a look..I'll bump them up a bit as being energetic and enthusiastic so will take a closer look.

    Interview- I like to get a feel for what they have done, what they do best. I'll give a brief walk around show a few jobs see the reaction to some parts, listen for the right questions.


    At the end if the candidate look promising I request they come in to work for a few hours...paid at their desired wage or what is determined fair for both parties.
    I lay out all tooling, materials, measuring tools, so they are pretty much set. When they come in I want to see them work, I want them to come to ME with any questions or concerns, problems so I get a feel for them. It is at this point I get a good idea as to what they know as compared to how well they can BS. I am not yet looking for production, but more of the methods they use, speeds feeds, how they loaded the part, held the part...when done and they present me with the part...is it right or wrong, what are the finishes? Do they tell me if something went south..a finish was not to their liking...is it because they may have made a mistake or was it the machine, the tool or the fault of something unrelated to them.
    It's this last part that really seems to give me a good idea as to the capabilities, attitude of a hire...Its at this point we can talk with an educated guess as to how to proceed. Prior to that point it is a shot in the dark based on how well they may be able to fluff their way through an interview, how their resume holds up to following up on calls to former employers.
    By going that route I hired a gent I never would have given a shot...he came in setup and ran a job in very short time...all sizes in the mean, great finishes, cleaned up after himself. Our initial interview had a resume I could not verify as he was from out of the country, he spoke virtually no English coming in with his wife who spoke some and translated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JS View Post
    Why give them 90 days?

    That being said I personally would go look at their car, if its a pigsty, chances are they work that way as well.

    simple test on a paper or machine your pick or a list of machines and a part ask them how they would make it.





    I started this trade 20 years ago, I was told 90 days, but 4 years later they told me "We only gave you 2 weeks."....

    Using the same harsh standards today, is impossible with companies being run by HR.

    It's the simple shit that gets on my nerves.

    (1) being to work on time.

    (2) if an apprentice wanting to learn instead of be on the damn phone all day.

    (3) putting shit away and cleaning up. If your to proud to clean up your mess, chances are your head is so far up your ass, that I don't have a use for you.

    (4) drama

    (5) the owed mentality

    (6) of course the other usual list: stealing, extended coffee breaks, etc.....

    Since they are showing signs of life... ((( they're breathing ))) they must be able to do the work and can pass basic tests.

    HR bureaucracy makes it so you can't fire them or it's impossible to fire them...


    The very first thing I look at is their capability to write. Do they start a sentence with a capital letter? Can they tell the difference between your and you're. Do they make extra indents, add too many commas, spelling mistakes, ((())) shit expressions? Saves me the trouble of having a meeting in person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    Personally, I think when you are ready for employees, you should wait until you can hire at least two. For about 2 years, I had a single employee. It's difficult to be the boss of one guy. You will spend a lot of time with this guy. Eventually, the line between employee and friend gets blurry. Especially if you are close in age. It's also tough for the employee because they have no real peers. They just have the boss and the work. If you can swing 2 guys, they can be friends/companions, and you can be the boss.
    Ewlsey, that is a VERY insightful tidbit. Thank you for that. That specific facet of this had not occurred to me yet. Very pertinent. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    Most simply could not walk the walk.
    I have been struggling with this, myself. I've had 5 "Toolmakers" come in and each have talked the talk. Yet, when it came time to show up for the "try outs" Two couldn't make it, and Three couldn't fake it. Simply put, they did not have the skills they said they did. But they wanted the money. Lesson learned - Keep having try outs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    How do I know? When I've hired him/her and they are still there after 4-5 years. I'm not being flippant, that's the only way I've ever been able to tell for sure. I've made almost every mistake you can make hiring. i could write a book on what NOT to do, but precious little about how TO do it.
    < snippage of the rest of a good post >

    Mud, I appreciate that. I did not take it as flippant. I believe I know exactly how you intended it. It is the very thing that I am struggling with right now. More below...


    Quote Originally Posted by mmarquette View Post
    Even something as simple as putting a part in a vise with parallels. Does he wipe off the vise. Wipe off the parallels. Check to see if they are snug when he tightens them down. Ect ect. Only takes a minute and you could see a lot good and bad.
    Yes, this is the purpose of the try out days. So far, we've been paying them to come in when they have time, and work here so I can observe these very things. So far it has been disappointing to say the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Quiring View Post
    How big is your operation and what do you need?
    Seems to be simple and silly questions but that must be answered first.
    In real man ours too...
    < snippage of the rest of a good post for brevity's sake >

    Thanks, Tony. All good, common sense stuff, but it got me off me arse to actually write it down and filter it through. I really needed to do that. I had not avoided doing so, but have been so busy that it has been difficult to find time for some things. This was one.

    Quote Originally Posted by JS View Post
    Why give them 90 days?
    JS, I'm not picking on you. Was simply a convenient place to iterate what a few others have discussed as well, and address it.

    I'm not sure why this even came up. Not really relevant to my query, and we won't. If they don't fit, they don't fit. And no amount of extra time here is going to change that. I'll know in Two days ( Three, tops ) if they fit, here. Past that, "Auf Wiedersehen."

    Quote Originally Posted by JS View Post
    That being said I personally would go look at their car, if its a pigsty, chances are they work that way as well.

    simple test on a paper or machine your pick or a list of machines and a part ask them how they would make it.
    I'm actually already doing both of those.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIM View Post
    I have seen some very in depth interviews that became totally meaningless soon as the person hit the floor. For that reason I changed the way I hire.
    Boy, howdy! You ain't just whistlin' Dixie! ( see above references )

    Quote Originally Posted by SIM View Post
    It's this last part that really seems to give me a good idea as to the capabilities, attitude of a hire...Its at this point we can talk with an educated guess as to how to proceed. Prior to that point it is a shot in the dark based on how well they may be able to fluff their way through an interview, how their resume holds up to following up on calls to former employers.
    By going that route I hired a gent I never would have given a shot...he came in setup and ran a job in very short time...all sizes in the mean, great finishes, cleaned up after himself. Our initial interview had a resume I could not verify as he was from out of the country, he spoke virtually no English coming in with his wife who spoke some and translated.
    I'm in complete agreement on that. There is much that I would not care on whit about if they could do what we need. Still... see my ending point, below...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pathogen View Post
    The very first thing I look at is their capability to write. Do they start a sentence with a capital letter? Can they tell the difference between your and you're. Do they make extra indents, add too many commas, spelling mistakes, ((())) shit expressions? Saves me the trouble of having a meeting in person.
    I hear what you are saying ( writing ) and generally am in agreement with it. However, in this specific case I really could not give a shite. We're not hiring them for their grammar, public speaking, or accounting skills. We are hiring for their machining ability, capability, capacity to learn, and interest in advancing each of those.

    For whatever the existing reasons are, qualified Machinists are either already employed and happy, or in a level that we cannot compete with financially at this point. ( yet ) So, we have adjusted the scope of the pool to choose from and Students/Apprentices/et al... have moved into primary focus.

    The biggest issues I've faced so far have been overstating their abilities, lack of personal motivation, & absence of work ethics on their part. I've interviewed Fifteen applicants recently, and only Three are worth my time, so far.

    I would love to hire Two people right now, but the reality is that due to the size of the present building we should probably hire just One. I'm not ruling out Two. But it will be VERY crowded until we get the new building. ( actively searching right now ) So faced with that choice, and having done most of what has been discussed, how would you then choose between the available candidates?

    Number One has less experience than the others and has been limited to a single type of machine for the time that he has been in trade. But he is more motivated and has a drive to know more...

    Number Two has a more rounded experience that leads me to believe he would be more useful right out of the gate. Also states he wants to learn. But he is a bit more, ahhhh... "laid back"...

    Number Three has more rounded experience ( supposedly ) than the others, but less driven than the others. He may just be hedging his bets among all of us looking to hire, but I'm uncertain.

    Each may work out. But how to choose... ? We are in the process of getting able to administer Apprenticeships and all three say they want that, so that part is good. But that alone is not enough.

    Right now I am leaning toward Number One.

    But I still come back to the original question. "How do you choose?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahnrad Kopf View Post
    Number One has less experience than the others and has been limited to a single type of machine for the time that he has been in trade. But he is more motivated and has a drive to know more...

    Number Two has a more rounded experience that leads me to believe he would be more useful right out of the gate. Also states he wants to learn. But he is a bit more, ahhhh... "laid back"...

    Number Three has more rounded experience ( supposedly ) than the others, but less driven than the others. He may just be hedging his bets among all of us looking to hire, but I'm uncertain.

    Right now I am leaning toward Number One.

    But I still come back to the original question. "How do you choose?"
    Clearly hire #1.

    Rule #1 is Hire for Attitude, teach the rest.

    Who is the 'We' that you speak of, how much help do you have in the business now? Someone to help teach and supervise?

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    Zahnrad,

    Sounds like you have narrowed down several potential candidates.

    1. Work with your present team to develop a week long program that will test the skills and demeanor of the 3 potential new hires.
    2. Ensure you have basic tasks along with difficult task and have each one do the tasks on their own. Grade each one on a scale that is verified through your current team. In other words, make your team do the skills and come up with a solid baseline.
    3. Same as #2 but make it a team project with only the potential new hires involved.
    4. Put stressors: time being the main one. Again, verify this by using your team to develop the baseline. It shouldn't matter if they can complete the task, you want to observe their demeanor and attitude during that task.
    5. Have a panel: Your current team should review and provide their individual input on each potential hire. Make sure there is no cross talk between members of your team when it comes to their personal opinion. Also have several sections that have to be addressed. Skill, attitude, demeanor, problem solving, etc…
    6. Have a board that hires the new guy. Your team has to work with the new hire more than you do, or maybe they don't. But, they still have to work with them. So get their input. This will also give your existing team buy-in and make them part of the process showing ownership and provide you with valuable input that you may miss.

    Skills can be developed/improved, attitudes are the hardest thing to adjust.

    The more time and effort people put into hiring a person the less issues they will have in the long run. Have your standards and stick to them. Those standards should be developed by your current team. This will build cohesiveness if they are part of the process. After all, they have to work with the new hire for a long time.

    You may want to hire all three or none. At least you have a solid hiring process that is standardized and will aid you in the future.

    Quick reply. It may seem time consuming to develop a hiring process like this, once done you have it for the life of the business and you can modify/evolve it based on future needs.

    And, it does work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Clearly hire #1.

    Rule #1 is Hire for Attitude, teach the rest.
    This is exactly my own thinking, as well. I'm curious how others are getting to the choice too, though. ( and "why" )

    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Who is the 'We' that you speak of, how much help do you have in the business now? Someone to help teach and supervise?
    I have a rat in my pocket.
    < kidding >

    It's largely just myself and SWMBO ( owner ). I've a couple people that help sporadically. One is another old Toolmaker friend ( from back when I was an employee ) and the other is a machinist that I bring in when I need an extra body for the stuff that is already set up and ready to go, but lacking my ability to be in Three places at once. He's not available all the time, though. And, he's happy where he is. So far, SWMBO handles all the things that "are not actually making parts", and I've been doing all the things that "are making parts". So, it would be only myself doing the teaching and supervising. I've had Apprentices under me in the past, so I'm okay with that part. Admittedly, doing so in this kind of situation will be new.

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    It's a tough call. Just because someone appears to be more of a go getter doesn't mean they will go get in the right direction. I have hired people all across the board and it's really hard to tell how they workout. To be honest, I would go with number two. He reminds me of an apprentice I have that is currently looking to move to Milwaukee to be with his GF(why do the good ones always chase the tail). His resume looked decent for finishing up his last year of school. He was quiet in the interview and really thought about what he said before he said anything. He didn't ask many questions but the ones he did ask were good ones, so we gave him a shot. The kid has picked up everything we've thrown at him, and quickly.

    Sorry, I got a little off track. Point being, just because someone seems quiet or laid back doesn't mean they are bad. My two best hands have been pretty laid back people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AARONT View Post
    It's a tough call. Just because someone appears to be more of a go getter doesn't mean they will go get in the right direction. I have hired people all across the board and it's really hard to tell how they workout. To be honest, I would go with number two. He reminds me of an apprentice I have that is currently looking to move to Milwaukee to be with his GF(why do the good ones always chase the tail). His resume looked decent for finishing up his last year of school. He was quiet in the interview and really thought about what he said before he said anything. He didn't ask many questions but the ones he did ask were good ones, so we gave him a shot. The kid has picked up everything we've thrown at him, and quickly.

    Sorry, I got a little off track. Point being, just because someone seems quiet or laid back doesn't mean they are bad. My two best hands have been pretty laid back people.

    Hmmmm... If you feel like it, shoot me an e* and give me his details if he does end up moving this way. Being able to discuss with you what he has been doing up until now, along with your impressions of him is more than we oft are allowed to peek into the previous existences of candidates...


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