I’m sure there are plenty of contractors who advertise for help on Craigslist. There are also plenty of “plumbers” who advertise their services on Craigslist too. Google “Craigslist robberies.” That makes for interesting reading.
If running a help-wanted ad in the media of your choice is the extent of your recruiting, you’re doing it all wrong. On the other hand, a guy who does it correctly is Mike Agugliaro, and I would encourage you to read or reread two articles, one written by Mike about core values and one I wrote about a presentation Mike gave at the WWETT Show about hiring that appears on page 3 of this issue.
Who said, “Know thyself”? It may have been Socrates or perhaps an ancient Egyptian, but it’s always been true. The way Mike means it is figuring out who you are as a contractor, what you represent and what do you want to project to the community.
“Simply think about what’s important to you, as an owner, and what you want your reputation to be in the community,” Mike writes. “Find other companies with core values that you like (they don’t have to be in your industry). Pull together four to six core values that resonate with you.”
As a sample, Mike says your core values might include safety, customer service, contribution to the community and excellent workmanship. Pick ‘em. And your core values have to be public. All of your employees have to know them because they will guide them in their decision-making. They’ll guide you in your decision-making.
“Core values help you hire the right people,” Mike says, “people who are aligned with your company, and even fire the wrong people, or people who are not aligned with your company. Core values also help you attract and recruit employees too.”
The contractor should survey his culture, so his employees tell him what’s good, what’s bad and what needs to change.
That was central to the message that Mike conveyed to contractors attending the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show in Indianapolis.
Contractors need to get passed their self-limiting beliefs, he said. In the past, Agugliaro hated his employees right after he hired them. They won’t live up to expectations, they’ll smoke dope on their lunch hour, they’ll do the work wrong, or they’ll steal. You program your brain for the outcome, he said, and that’s the outcome you’ll get unless you change your thinking. Agugliaro said that contractors should write down their self-limiting beliefs and acknowledge what they have cost them.
Conversely, just think about how much that “unicorn,” that top-performing employee is worth to your company. A million bucks?
Your core values are part of your company culture and your company culture has to be created by you. It better not be created by accident or default. Once you know who you are and what you represent as a contractor, you can start looking for people who will fit in.
Contractors must “build the avatar,” a description of their perfect employee. Then they have to find that perfect employee and hire him or her. But they don’t know who they are looking for without a description of the perfect employee.
The contractor should survey his culture, so his employees tell him what’s good, what’s bad and what needs to change. When Agugliaro interviews a prospective employee it’s a two-way interview — here’s what I can do for you and tell me what you are going to do for me?
The sequence is important — know yourself first and then you’ll know what kind of person will fit it. That’s a long way from putting an ad on a website looking for any old warm body.