No function of management is more important than the hiring of people who will go on to become motivated employees. Hiring is not simply a matter of interviewing a number of applicants and deciding which is the best qualified. Hiring is a complex process and, because it is ultimately a matter of predicting human behavior, an art rather than a science.
Employee selection has been a confusing problem for the tire specialist, because it is usually difficult to define the knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits needed to succeed in service work.
Our industry is labor intensive. Many industries rely on automation to handle many tasks once done by people, but the tire business doesn't have that option. Tire specialists need people who will work hard.
Service employees aren't like the professionals whom you can attract from all over the country. They are drawn from the group of people living around you.
Take a look at the people who live in your area, because they're who your workers are going to be. In some localities, that means immigrants or minorities. Some will need special job training; some will need to learn English. Some will need to learn basic math; others, to read.
To fill staffing needs, many employers must look to the growing pool of older workers, many of whom are retired or semi-retired. These workers pose special challenges since they are a protected labor class under certain federal laws.
But older workers offer some definite advantages. For one, there are more of them relative to the number of younger people. For another, in an increasingly under-educated labor force, they come well-equipped to work. They have spent years thinking and working with others.
But older workers can't solve all your staffing needs. You have to hire young people, too.
It is alarming the skepticism employers express about young new workers. It's surprising just how much animosity there is toward young people in the employer community.
A lot of employers don't hire anyone who's just out of school. Instead, they wait until they are 26 years old-then they'll look at them.
Unfortunately, many American youths are less prepared for the workplace than youths from other industrial nations.
According to the Census Bureau, one-fifth of American workers are not fully proficient in their jobs, and economists and educators express a lack of confidence in the ability of schools and colleges to prepare young people for the workplace.
The Census Bureau report also stated that 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 25 lack the basic reading and writing skills needed in the modern workplace. Many persons I have spoken with complain that job applicants are woefully unprepared, and that the skills required for the jobs of tomorrow will be greater still.
Not only will future workers be expected to understand more about computers and mathematics, they will have to be more adept at solving problems and communications.
Since we've been doing such a lousy job providing our young people with education and training, it implies a lower standard of living for all Americans.
I'm not discounting the importance of education or background. It's simply that how many years a person has gone to school or worked in a particular field doesn't reflect that person's ability to perform well in a particular job.
Establishing such ``mandatories'' often can eliminate the more qualified candidates.
Hiring only people who may have experience in your field, not only limits the field, it leads to ``inbreeding.'' You often end up with people who have been recycled through a number of different shops-people who have picked up bad habits along the way which will require your time to correct.
Your ultimate objective is not just to hire someone to do the job but someone who will do an excellent job.
Take a look at the negatives of the job you are trying to fill and accept the possibility that to find a good person, you will have to lower your sights or take steps to make the job more attractive.
The most expensive asset of your business is your staff. Yet too often management will spend huge sums on equipment and maintenance and little on effective hiring and placement procedures, or on human development and maintenance.