Take the Headache Out of Hiring Your Next Service Manager
Eric M. Twiggs
“The closest anyone ever comes to perfection is how they present themselves on their resume.” Stanley J Randall
Are you sick and tired of working IN instead of On your business? Well, so was “Rachel” a shop owner in the Midwest, who asked me to do a phone interview with “Ann”, a local service manager prospect.
According to Rachel, Ann, was “the cat’s meow”, “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, and any other metaphor you would use to describe a high potential prospect.
Rachel desperately wanted to replace herself on the counter and believed Ann was the missing link that would free her up to focus on the bigger picture.
There was one small problem. I wasn’t impressed after interviewing Ann. I now look back on that time as twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back!
Ann spent most of the twenty minutes telling me how bad things were at her current job at the local parts supply store, where she had worked for the past six months. She said that the main source of the problems was her boss and her unethical co-workers.
Prior to working at the parts store she worked at the local auto repair competitor in town, but was laid off due to “the area being slow after the election.” She had been out of work for two years prior to working at the parts store, which she attributed to “the economic downturn during that time.”
I conducted a virtual call with Rachel where I shared my concerns and I could see her frown as if she had a headache. “But Eric, I have this gut feeling about Ann that I can’t explain.” She said.
We were at an impasse. To break the tie, I suggested that she call Ann’s former supervisor at the auto repair shop and do a reference check.
The following week Rachel and I spoke and here is what she found out: “Well, Eric, I spoke with Bill her former boss and he told me that Ann was let go, because she struggled to generate sales and because she blamed everyone except herself for her results!”
Sometimes, the decision NOT to hire, is the best hiring decision you can make. Recognizing this reality can help to take the headache out of hiring.
A bad hire can cost a business anywhere from six to twelve times the salary of the employee, when you factor in pay, benefits, training, lost customers and lost opportunities.
If Rachel paid Ann $50,000 per year and Ann cost the business six times her salary, Rachel just avoided a $300,000 hit by deciding not to hire.
Are you still feeling the hit from your last hire? Stay with me to learn two strategies to help you take the headache out of hiring your next service manager.
Avoid The “Same Bird Syndrome”
The four personality types are described as the following four birds: The eagle, peacock, owl, and dove. The eagle is the “type A” personality who is competitive and results driven. The peacock is assertive, outgoing, and dislikes the details.
The owl tends to be introverted, analytical, and more process than people oriented. The dove is sensitive, likeable, and prefers to avoid conflict. Which bird are you? This is an important question to answer, if you want to avoid “the same bird syndrome.”
The same bird syndrome occurs when you are attracted to employment prospects because they are the same “bird” as you.
Think about your most recent trip to the beach. You probably didn’t see ducks and seagulls mixing in the same group. The ducks were with the ducks and the seagulls were with the seagulls proving that It’s natural to want to seek out similar “birds.”
The problem is that looking for “the same bird” can cause you to make a bad hire, if the personality isn’t a natural fit for the role. For example, both Rachel and Ann are “owl” personalities. Rachel felt a connection because they had the same personality type.
As mentioned earlier, owls tend to be introverted, and can struggle to connect with customers. Over the years, I have found that peacocks and eagles are the most natural personality fits for the service manager role. Matching the bird with the role can help you avoid the same bird syndrome.
Do A Ride Along
The familiar story is told of a candidate who was interviewing for a high paying, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position with a Fortune 500 firm. He would be responsible for twenty-five million dollars in annual revenue, and had just completed an interview in the office of the firm’s president, which he passed with flying colors.
The president decided to take the CFO prospect down to the cafeteria for lunch, to work through the details of the offer. While in line to purchase their food, he noticed something interesting about his candidate.
The cafeteria charged an additional twenty-five cent fee for butter. He watched as the candidate hid the butter behind his cup so the cashier wouldn’t notice it, saving himself twenty-five cents. Based on this observation, he decided not to hire him.
After all, how could he trust him with twenty-five million dollars if he couldn’t be trusted with twenty-five cents? Witnessing him outside of the interview environment gave the president the information he needed to make an accurate decision.
Dong “a ride along interview” with your candidates will give you additional information that can help with your decision making as well.
A ride along is when you allow the prospect to spend part of their day at your location, shadowing you to observe “a day in the life.” This gives you the opportunity to see the individual outside of the formal interview. Does she pick up trash on the floor, or just keep walking?
Does she greet your customers, or is she more introverted? How does she interact and engage with your employees? The ride along will provide you with information you need and help take the heading out of hiring.
Several weeks later, I interviewed an excellent service manager candidate with a peacock personality for Rachel. She had him spend the morning at the shop observing “a day in the life.” I conducted a virtual call with her and noticed that she was smiling.
And then it hit me: By avoiding the same bird syndrome, and doing the ride along, she had taken the headache out of hiring her next service manager.
Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach
PS. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my "Four Birds Cheat Sheet" to help you avoid the same bird syndrome with your next service manager hire.