PEMBROKE, Mass. — You put out a “Help Wanted” ad, and several people apply. You offer the job to the best candidate, but he turns you down. So you hire the second-best candidate, and she agrees to come to work. Or, worse, the applicant agrees to come to work with a bad attitude. Does this scenario happen often? Then maybe you aren’t doing the full interviewing job.
Interviewing a job candidate also means “selling” him or her on the company and offer. I think dry cleaners often forget about this part of the task, confident the person will accept if he/she needs a job and has no other offers.
It is vitally important that you sell the job. Certainly, we’re in a tough labor market—6.5% unemployment at this writing, minimal pay raises, fewer benefits—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be convincing about why your company would be a good place to work.
Let’s face it. A dry cleaner is not considered a cool place to work. Cleaning clothes is not considered important. The work is low-tech. The plant is too hot most of the year. Customers can be difficult. Few young people will tell you that they “always wanted to work in the drycleaning industry.”
So, you must show the candidate why he would like the work. Create reasons why he/she would choose your company. Overcome the lack of enthusiasm for working in dry cleaning. First, recognize that the negativity exists, then acknowledge it to the candidate.
Consider this scenario: The applicant is answering questions, but thinking, I don’t know why I’m here. I really don’t want to work in dry cleaning. It’s got to be dirty, and the customers probably wouldn’t treat me with respect. What future is there here? Maybe I should stop this guy right now and walk out.
His brief replies demonstrate his lack of excitement, so you say, “Now, Kevin, I think we’ve created something here that’s special. We’re a team that pulls together, day in, day out. Our processors know what clothes need to done first to satisfy the counter staff, and the shirt processors work alongside to ensure everything is finished in alignment.
“The assemblers advise the processors what is missing. The inspectors keep an eye on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. The route driver works hard to bring in his quota. The drop store manager stays in constant touch with the manager to try to increase volume. It’s a tightly run operation where everything works in sync. Sure, there are problems, but we work through any mechanical breakdowns, personality differences, what have you. We just make it work.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re an early shift worker or the counterperson closing up at 9, there’s a sense of satisfaction. It’s the feeling that you’re doing your best, in tandem with everyone else. Now, there’s a sense of accomplishment. I make it a point to go around at the end of the day and thank everyone for doing their job, that’s how proud I am of my people.”
Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!