If you are like
many professional horsemen, finding the right people to help you in your
business is one of your biggest challenges. That's partly because
candidates with horse experience are limited, the rate of pay in the equine
industry is low in comparison to other industries and much of the work is
unsupervised requiring employees with good work habits.
A resume, job
application and a short interview will you tell you only part of the story
about an employee candidate.
You know what I mean if you've ever had your promising new hire show up for
work on Monday morning and you find out that not only did the name on the job
application and the face from the interview show up, a whole person came along
as well with a life history and assorted baggage.
There are many books and articles written every year on the subject of
hiring. Read one, or skim several to expand your skills.
But, like most
things, experience is the best teacher on the practice of hiring good
Experience has taught me that the following points are important to consider in
your interview process. They're in random order and may seem blatantly obvious.
But, like a mare with her ears pinned flat on her neck, the obvious is still
worthy of your attention.
the applicant show up early, on time, or late for the interview? Late arrivals are often backed
by good excuses: "heavy traffic, difficulty finding the place, drop
children off, etc." These are the same excuses you'll probably hear
every day from the applicant once hired. If you expect punctuality
every day, lack of it at the interview is deal breaker.
the applicant dressed in a way that is acceptable to you for your business
unconventional body piercings-offensive tattoos and sloppy general
appearance don't bother you or your customers, no need to worry. If they
do, keep in mind you are probably seeing the best image of the
candidate at the interview.
the candidate have reliable transportation? You know what happens when a
worker is a no-show. You either find a way to pick up the employee to get
him or her to work, or you go through the day running on one less
for life in
the eyes– good eye contact, enthusiasm and energy. And while the
following is not absolute, it's worthy of your careful observation. When someone
is remembering details, their eyes move to the right (your right).
When someone is making something up, their eyes move to the left.
It's usually opposite for left handers.
mouthing and negative comments–
past employers, industry, relationships, family, excessive bad luck. If
you hear too much of it in the candidate interview, you'll be
forever hearing it from the employee.
many days off, benefits, what's the pay ? If too many questions like these
come early in the interview, you know that Johnny is all
about his Paycheck.
for horses and or animals in general. Captain Obvious says this could
be a problem.
car – no science
or research backs this up, but I got in the habit of walking a candidate
to his vehicle to have a peek at the car. Back seats littered with adult
beverage cans and fast food wrappers, duct taped door handles and turn
signal lenses and out of date inspection stickers tell part of a story.
though you will only be doing twenty percent of the talking at an
interview, the candidate should show signs of coherence and listening
carefully to what you say. After all, carrying out your directions is a
key job requirement.
- Lacking good manners-you'll never
be happy apologizing for your employee's crude behavior and impolite
habits. Even though it's not you being rude, his reflection tarnishes
We both know
there is no perfect employee. But, as a profitable business owner, screening for bad habits
and attitudes makes good sense. Good attitude trumps work experience.
good attitudes, but weak on work experience and skills can always be trained
People with bad
attitudes, but strong on work experience and skills are often train wrecks