One of the biggest challenges for our industry in recent years is talent acquisition. For all positions, from technicians to estimators to managers, finding the right people to join the team has been a struggle for many companies. If you have not done so already, there is a great opportunity in expanding your search for your next great team member. 

I asked an expert, Justin Sifford, Recruiter and Certified Behavioral Consultant at Wylander, who specializes in talent acquisition and placement for the Restoration Industry for his perspective and thoughts on expanding searches. He shared the following to consider:

  • Even the best in our industry had a first day.
  • An advantage to hiring outside the industry is training. Employers have an opportunity to train non-experienced candidates on how they want things done. They can set expectations without the resistance they may often face with experienced candidates. Fair warning, if you don’t have a good training plan in place, the likelihood of successfully integrating non-experienced employees drops.
  • What about the secret sauce? As a business owner, we need to look at the inner dynamics of our company. By not bringing in new talent from outside the industry we are creating an environment of group thinking. The secret sauce is what makes our business different from others, and a balance of experience and outsiders’ perspective is what makes this secret sauce so good. Just like any recipe, sometimes we need to change an ingredient for an amazing outcome. It really comes down to that old saying sometimes “we don’t know what we don’t know."

There are many advantages to consider when hiring outside the industry. By taking the approach of evaluating the skills and traits of individuals that lend themselves to a successful career in restoration without industry specific experience, we can broaden our search for prospects. Within restoration, there is a broad range of positions and job titles that may each have their own set of qualities for a candidate. If we consider a position that is an estimator or project manager, consider the following: 

  • Drive for results                                                        
  • Strong math and communication skills
  • Demonstrated track record of:
    • Managing people and projects
    • Ability to learn
    • Customer service orientation
  • Solid work history
  • Strong computer skills and track record of learning new software
  • Attention to detail

This short list serves as an example of honing in on qualities and experiences that may successfully lend themselves to the example of estimator/project manager. As we take this approach to evaluate candidates for our restoration industry positions, we must then utilize a deliberate system to vet the prospects. Although no vetting process can guarantee 100% success, you can increase the likelihood by considering the following:

  1. Application Process: A first step is to have a well-designed application process that gives you the appropriate information to evaluate the candidate’s fit to the position and assist in the interview process. In addition to work history, address other critical requirements that may include things like: driving record and background clearance as applicable to certain positions. 
  2. Tools: There are many testing and assessment tools readily available and affordable that can lend themselves to the process of thoroughly evaluating a candidate’s match to a particular position. 
    1. Physical: Occupational health partners offer a wide variety of testing options to employers to help evaluate the physical requirements of any given position.
    2. Assessments and testing:  Work productivity, personality, computer skills, math, verbal, and more can be evaluated.  
  3. Interview: A strong interviewer is a must to this system for optimal outcomes. 

I asked Justin, who is also a certified expert on DISC personality assessments, for his advice to us on evaluating personality traits that lend themselves to successful hires for our positions:

Yes, there is definitely a relationship between a personality trait and each position inside a restoration company. Please note it’s very important that if someone is going to make a decision of someone’s employment based on personality, they are required to have a good understanding of DISC or another assessment. One of the reasons I like DISC so much is that it’s easy to understand.

If we separated each job type inside our company into groups (sales, operations, admin, management) we found ideal personality types with each group. For example, a personality we like see with admin people is one that has a “more attention to detail” personality. On the DISC scale, we call that a “C” personality, the “C” stands for cautious, calculating, critical thinking.

When we look at a sales position, we like to see an above-average D/I or I/D personality. This personality type is naturally strong at developing relationships and cold calling; they also have no issue asking for the sale.

If we were looking for a receptionist for our company, we would want that person to have a good amount of “S” personality. This personality is one who is naturally a soft, supportive, sweet personality, so your customers will really enjoy the interaction they have while on the phone with this person. What a great first impression!

One last word of caution as it relates to someone’s personality. DISC is part of the picture that makes up a beautiful painting of each person. It should not be used as a stand-alone tool in making decisions about someone’s job abilities. We like to say that the DISC is one piece of the puzzle that also includes, work history, references, phone screenings, and onsite interviews. There have been times that a person’s personality was not an absolute perfect match, however they were very successful in their role.”

Take the leap and remove all of those restoration specific experience requirements from your next recruitment effort and see for yourself the great people who present themselves. In recruiting, be sure to tell of the great opportunities and personal satisfaction that comes from a career in restoration. Check out the story of an amazing project manager and industry leader who proved his mettle from the start: Restoration Professionals Wanted.

Please share and inspire others by sharing your stories of successfully hiring outside the industry in the comment box below. 

Happy Restoring Success!