— Tom Ham is owner of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Auto Centric, and moderator of AutomotiveManagementNetwork.com: “I have some buddies who do background checks. You'd think they're qualifying (employees) for Supreme Court Justice with some of the stuff they go through. “They give tests to potential employees, and one guy went through seven interviews to get hired. And there are drug tests, and just on and on and on. That's good—and I wouldn't debate it if somebody wants to do that. “But on the other hand, when you're going to begin to know whether you have a live one or not, as we'd say, you have him work there for a week. “Have him come in on Monday and stay for five days. After five days you'll know. You'll begin to get a good idea if this one is worth fooling with or not. You can background check until you're blue in the face and you still can't tell. “...The most effective thing, which a lot of people aren't very good at, is sitting down with potential employees in a private setting, allowing for enough time and just talking to them about anything. You can ask about where they went on vacation, what they're going to do with their life. “You have to watch what type of questions you ask, because you can get into various legal problems, but you talk to them. You get to know them a little bit. I think the people who have the most success hiring—that's the key to how they find the good people. They just chat with them. “They have some questions they have predetermined that they're going to ask, but they keep it informal and just try to figure out where this person's head is at. I'll often do some pre-interview questions to speed up the process. I ask that they email me a resume first, then I'll call them on the phone and ask a few questions—just to save a lot of screwing around. “You can ask them simple questions on the phone like, 'Is your driver's license clean?' You'd be surprised how many people have DUIs.... Of course, you can't insure them to drive a car. In Michigan you've got to be licensed (to work on a car).”
How do you vet potential employees to make sure they'll be a good fit for your business?
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