June 26, 2017

Lumberyard Hiring, Speed and Accuracy Count the Most

By ThinkingAhead

We have all read the articles on how to attract people to the industry; however, we very rarely speak of the things that scare potential candidates. Forget the downturn of 2008, that is behind us and an entirely different story. Here we sit in 2017, and growth seems to be on the minds of every LBM company in the country. I have been recruiting candidates in this industry for almost ten years, and I have never seen such a high demand for talent as I am seeing right now. If growth is important, we all must quick and accurate with our hiring practices.

Nothing scares a potential candidate away faster than indecision. As the hiring authority, indecision should not equate to the word hesitant. Being hesitant about a particular candidate should cause you to pause the process; however, being indecisive does equate to being gun shy. I have yet to meet an executive leader in this industry that purposefully hire managers to be indecisive. We can no longer underestimate the ability of candidates to sniff out an indecisive leader or culture.

The growth for national and independent dealers in this era depends entirely on speed and accuracy. I’d like you to envision one of your candidates as a mid-size builder that is one of your best customers. That builder expects your company to be quick and accurate. They want you to provide the best products with the best customer service. If your builder asks you complete a material takeoff, your answer cannot be “let me think on it for a week or two.” Guaranteed, that builder will be getting quotes elsewhere, the same as your candidates will be applying elsewhere.

I would never suggest sacrificing accuracy for speed; however, I do suggest combining the two. During your interviews, candidates are paying close attention to every word that you say. Discussions in these interviews usually range from day to day responsibilities of the job, the candidates background, and sometimes compensation. This is where being inaccurate in casual conversation can scare off your next potential superstar. Any information that is provided to the candidate in the initial interview will be viewed as the gospel.

Compensation conversations almost always start off as proposal of war. Who is going to fire the first shot? My recommendation is to keep those bullets in your pocket. If you are providing your candidates with a salary range, please stop. A salary range is more inaccuracy that can hurt your chances of picking up the next superstar. As hiring managers, if we are to share that the expected pay for a position is seventy to seventy-five thousand a year, we simply put ourselves on the hook. Your candidate didn’t hear the number seventy, he or she heard seventy-five.

Over the years, I have placed hundreds of candidates in the building materials industry and assisted in millions of dollars’ worth of incomes that have helped the economy. As leaders in the building materials industry, we only interview applicants that have the skills required for the positions available. If we already know a candidate is skillfully qualified, then we need to make our decisions quickly and accurately. If we expect our teams to function in that manner, then we need to set those standards during the interviewing stages. If we can employ some of these techniques, we can all land the next superstar that will shine bright through the industry.