The following information is excerpted from Jeff Finney's booklet, "5 steps to hiring better employees for your cabinet shop."

1. Start with a better advertisement. Regardless of how you have been attracting employees to this point, consider moving your advertisement to a service dedicated to hiring. Craigslist and Indeed are good starting spots, or you could consider targeted online ads or perhaps a local publication. Regardless of where you put your ad, it should highlight your company's strong suits. Talk about the parts of your company which excel above the competition. Be specific about job qualifications and expectations of employees, but leave a bit open so that you don’t tie their skill set to a specific job. It’s important to note if you cross train or are able to teach new skills to individuals looking to work for your company.

2. Online application form. It’s easy to create a simple link in google forms that you can send to applicants and have them fill out. This form should export to a google spreadsheet for multiple reasons. If you have a spreadsheet, it makes it easy to see all applicants and you are able to rate them on the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet also saves contact info and won’t get lost like paper applications in case you need to go back and contact someone for another job offer if they weren’t fit for the first role. The online form gives you a pool of people to select from instead of having to create a new database of individuals every time you need to hire.

3: Narrow your focus. Depending on how quickly applications come in, you should only take them for about a week or so. Always remember that you’re trying to hire for the long term so don’t be in a rush to quickly fill a position with the first person that comes through. Narrow your focus to two or three applications you like and then bring in your foreman to get another pair of eyes on the applications. Talk about specifics on what you’re looking for in a candidate and if you both agree on an individual, set up an in-person interview.

4: Working interviews. Our working interviews are three days long. At the end of each day, the candidate receives a peer review, conducted by myself, the foreman, and potentially another worker. We get together and talk about the strong suits we saw, some weaknesses that could be worked on, but overall we talk about if they’re a good fit for the company. At the end of this process, if we like what we saw, we invite the individual back for another working day interview. This process goes on for a total of three days and at the end, we do a longer sit-down evaluation. Because we have the candidates’ peers doing the review, they’re going to be as honest as they can, as they will be the ones who will be working with this individual every day.

5. Making the hire. If your peers and employees decide that the individual will be a good fit then it’s time to make the hire! During probation, you should constantly be checking to make sure that the new hire is integrating with the company vision and values and is getting along well with the other employees. It’s important that as time goes on they really begin to fit in with company culture.

Source: Jeff Finney is the founder of Ultimate Cabinet Components, based in Collinsville, Oklahoma; 918-371-7171. For more shop insights from Jeff, check out his articles at UltCab.com or listen to his podcasts at thepushthru.com. Jeff is also a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree. Download Jeff’s booklet, 5 Steps to Hiring Better Employees for Your Cabinet Shop at UltCab.com.

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