Recruiting Tips Offered To Broaden Dealers’ Employee
Finding good employees presents a problem to most businesses
today, and kitchen and bath firms are no exception. However, if
kitchen and bath dealers network with other trades, local reps, and
even family, friends and those outside of the industry, they could
come away with a stellar staff.
The key is to broaden your employee search, but be very specific
in what you want in an employee and out of the position you are
looking to fill.
That’s the advice of Joe Miles of Williams Kitchens & Baths
and Jackie Balint of The Kitchen Collection, a pair of
dealer-members of the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG) who
addressed BKBG members at a recent educational conference sponsored
by the member-owned co-op.
There are many ways to find employees, according to Miles and
Balint. Among them, consider the following:
- Hire family members.
- Hire outside the industry. Look for outgoing professional
people from other industries. Try the restaurant, retail or hotel
industries where customer service is already at a premium. Visit
furniture stores and home centers and look for outgoing
- Hire through local colleges or NKBA-endorsed colleges.
- Consider hiring from the installation sector.
- Ask local reps who they recommend.
- Put an internship or apprentice program in place.
- Use employment companies to refine and help you with your
search. Give them the information you are looking for to let them
do the screening first. That way, when you start your interview
process, you are looking at good prospects that meet your minimum
- Reward employees monetarily for bringing new employees on
board. Establish an amount that works within your budget. Try
rewarding an employee when the person he/she recommended is hired,
then again after the new hire stays one year.
So, what constitutes a good candidate? And how does one know
that a good candidate who meets the minimum criteria and looks good
on paper is the right fit for a particular company?
“When you find a good candidate, have your key employees
interview him/her very casually over lunch,” Miles and Balint
advise. Other suggestions include mandating a drug test for all new
hires and current employees as well as performing police and
personal background checks and checking driving records.
Once hired, Miles and Balint suggest the following techniques to
break in new hires, especially those who are hired just out of
college or from an outside field:
- Make all designers work in the field with an installer, so they
can experience what goes on during a project.
- Do the same with installers, and have them work in the showroom
with a designer so they can see what goes into developing a
customer and selling him or her a project.
- Create a team approach for the company. For example, have a
certain installer work with a particular designer. Make them both
responsible for the success of a project.
- In addition, hire design assistants for your more-established
designers, thereby creating a career path for new hires and giving
your designers needed help in the process. This tactic also allows
you to see new hires in action with established personnel and
determine their potential.