[Editor's note: Welcome to the tenth installment of "Money Talks." Each month, Terry Nicholson, president of AirTime 500, provides business management information with the aim of helping contractors, as he put it, "make money every day."]

Where do profitability and success start and end? Is it with your ability to market? Is it with the equipment you offer and the name on it? No, everything in your business starts with your people, and your ability to recruit the right team will determine your success.

Your goal is profits, which come from your clients, and your team is your direct link to those clients. Therefore, if your team isn't delivering the best service experience possible to those clients, you'll have a difficult time reaching the profits you have in mind. If your profits are determined by the right team, then how do you recruit the best of the best to join you?

Be On The Lookout

Do you have the right team, right now? Even if you think you do, is there some way that you could make it better? The No.1 factor involved in recruiting the right team is to always be on the lookout. If you're wondering what I mean by that, then think about this question. Are you looking for your next superstar technician right now, regardless of whether you have an opening? If you are, then you're on the lookout. If you're not, then you're looking for trouble.

Too often, contractors wait to recruit until they have an opening or one of their employees leaves. You can't wait for someone to quit before you start looking for new recruits. The contractors who fail in putting together the right team are the ones that wait to recruit until they need someone. The successful contractors are the ones that never stop recruiting. They're relentless.

Recruiting Pitfalls

If you're not on the lookout at all times, you'll be in bad shape when one of your employees does leave you. You'll scramble, and fall into one of these recruiting pitfalls.

  • The Wrong Piece - You'll be so anxious to get someone to fill the void in your company that you'll take anyone with a pulse. When you bring in the wrong person, you'll waste time, energy, and money in training them. You also run the risk of angering your clients when your new hire doesn't have the skills to repair their systems.

  • Missed Chances - While you're wasting your time hiring the wrong person, the right person may end up slipping right under your radar. Not to mention that if you don't find anyone to fill the void in your company, you may have to let service calls go by the wayside since you're understaffed, which means you'll be missing replacement opportunities, too.

    Recruiting Right

    With those two pitfalls in mind, how do you recruit the right team? Below are three easy steps to help you assemble your own all-star team.

    1. Be Relentless. Remember to be on the lookout. Continually put recruiting ads in the paper but not in the classified sections. If you want to recruit the best, then you want someone who isn't looking for a job. Put your ad in the sports section where they'll see it. Also, post a recruiting message on your trucks so others will see it around town and at the supply houses.

    2. Keep Tabs. Continually evaluate your team so that you know where you are falling short. If you need a stronger call-taker, you can recruit one. Keep tabs on your team's performance so you know where you're lacking. Knowing your weaknesses will help you recruit to fill them.

    3. Ask the Right Questions. To hire the right people, you have to ask the right questions. Start your interviews by selling the interviewee on the merits of the job. Then, "take the job away" by detailing how difficult and demanding it is. Finally, have the candidate sell you on why they're the right person for the job. You'll get a better idea that way if they are the right fit for your all-star team.

    By following those steps and instilling a dedication to constant recruitment, you'll be on your way to building your own all-star team and attaining superstar profits.

    Next installment: Recruiting the best team for your company is only the first step. You have to train your employees to achieve, remembering that even your superstars need constant training and motivation to reach their goals.

    Nicholson is president of AirTime 500. For more information on AirTime 500, call 800-505-8885. Nicholson can be reached by e-mail at tnicholson@venvestinc.com.

    Publication date: 10/18/2004