A candidate applying at Daniels Design and Remodeling in Fairfax Station, Va., doesn't get in easily. The candidate must first jump through a few hoops — ensuring that he or she is serious and really wants the position.
A prospective employee first interviews with a department manager — for example, the production manager if the candidate is applying for the field staff. At this interview, the manager tries to learn as much about the candidate as possible using tools such as a detailed questionnaire to ascertain technical skills, a personality profile to learn how he or she may act under stress, and a relaxed, lengthy conversation to learn about the prospect as a person. Ted Daniels, company president, sits in on a portion of this meeting. He says, “We don't talk money at all. We are investing this time to make sure they are a fit for the team. If not, we cut them loose and save our time. If they are a good fit, we go to the next step.”
At the second interview, the candidate meets with a team of people. A field employee candidate, for example, would meet with the production manager, the office manager, the president, and a lead carpenter. “This is a powerful exercise because it instills a sense of value in those employees whom I ask to be part of the interview team,” Daniels says. “They realize that I consider them a key member of our team and value their opinion.” This show of trust goes a long way toward building a culture of teamwork, which helps to retain important employees.
In addition to being a great team-building exercise, Daniels' multiple-person interview method helps streamline hiring and provides several layers of oversight. Because each member of the management team asks different types of questions, they are able to confirm strengths and ferret out any weaknesses. Plus, because a field employee is such a crucial representation of the company, the interview team keeps an eye out for culture fit as well.
Afterward, Daniels and the other interviewers compare notes on those candidates who make it through both interviews. The process helps the company create a list of final interview questions to clarify areas of concern. At this point, the company gathers enough information for a reference and background check.
This detailed process also gives strong candidates even more of an incentive to work for the company. “Our interview process lets prospective employees know that we place great importance on the people we bring into our company,” Daniels says. “We show that we are focused on employee satisfaction from the very beginning and that we think and act as a team. They understand that if they come to work here, they better have a team outlook.” — Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage, a national consulting firm specializing in the challenges of running a remodeling company, and home of Remodelers Advantage Roundtables. 301.490.5620; www.remodelersadvantage.com.