Implementing What You Learned at BCMC: Get the Right People & Keep Them


Implementing What You Learned at BCMC: Get the Right People & Keep Them

Successful hiring is about quality, not quantity.

Recruiting is still the most important issue, and all three of these things must work together to be successful.“You really only want to have A players joining your team,” says John Herring, CEO of A-1 Roof Trusses in Fort Pierce, FL. Herring, a presenter in the “Bolstering Your Workforce: Beating the Brush for Talent,” education sessions at BCMC, who strongly believes every company should have a system for bringing in the right staff and retaining them. Further, that system should be flexible enough to be refined and updated as a company grows and evolves. When presenting an overview of how to bolster the workforce, Herring sees it as a two-part process, “Finding the right people is the first part, and keeping the right people is the second part.”

Of course, current market conditions, and attempts by companies to slowly move out of the recession, make this approach more challenging. Herring states, “in a tough market, it can be twice as difficult to find the right person.” As a consequence, Herring suggests the focus should be on developing a system each company can continuously evolve in order to avoid becoming stagnant while the market improves.

In order to bring in qualified people, initially, companies need to define, write out and fine-tune a recruitment process. The recruitment process cannot be prepared just once for any company. It needs to be revisited and re-evaluated, in line with each company’s procedures. This, in turn, should be improved and enhanced as the company grows and changes. At A-1 Roof Trusses, Herring says they constantly explore new avenues as part of their recruiting process. 

Quality Hires Are Key – How to Bring in A Players

The current recruitment process at A-1 Roof Trusses begins with the initial participation in job fairs with local universities, applications, various types of tests (personality, intelligence and technical skills), a tour of the facility, and team interviews. It then entails bringing in candidates to join their training class over a six-month timeframe. Finally, when candidates graduate from the training, they are placed with a mentor for six months. This process takes time, but ultimately, “quality hires are key,” emphasizes Herring. “Companies need disciplined hiring techniques that are non-negotiable!” He stresses, once a company has buy-in from its own staff, that investment adds to the entire process. Therefore, it’s important the current staff believes in the system to bring in new talent.

Culture is Key – How to Get the Right People & Retain Them

Herring is a strong advocate of exhibiting the company culture right from the start. “Make your culture known to them,” he says. This fosters the right behavior, and thus enhances the company culture. He insists this should be a vivid part of the recruitment process. Herring’s golden rule to live by is, “develop a hiring process and keep fine-tuning it.” He strongly believes bringing in dynamic talent to join the company should not be a fixed or unchanging process. It should not center only on a résumé and an interview, but rather it should be a system that needs to be developed, examined and re-examined systematically to embody the company’s culture.

Herring maintains that there is a combination of complementary actions that need to be taken for a candidate to join the company. This includes the knowledge and skill set defined in the résumé, the presentation of the company culture, and finally the personality and testing for the ultimate “Job Fit.” For A-1 Roof Trusses, the company’s culture is most important and serves as the foundation for a successful process, whether experienced candidates or new trainees are joining the team.

A lengthy recruitment process can have its challenges, but the time spent should be considered a long-term investment for the company. Herring points out that, if “a candidate will not work hard to get the job, how do you expect the candidate to work hard when on the job?” Think of the time/costs that are spent when a wrong hire is made. The entire process has to begin again, and that’s why the recruitment process should never be seen as a temporary solution or any type of quick fix for the company. A well-defined recruitment process will allow for filtering prospective candidates and seeing how much they are willing to invest in learning about your organization. You will get to see their personalities and watch their commitment. They will get to learn more about your organization and its culture and acquire a more substantive understanding of what the job entails. 

Develop a Pipeline of Candidates

Herring’s experience and insight into the industry serves to facilitate the filtering process of prospective candidates. He suggests that, “you need to develop a pipeline of candidates” and not wait for the need to arise. Companies should prepare in advance. The “better the candidate, the better the results,” he says. A-1 Roof Trusses seeks candidates where the goals of the recruitment process include finding smart individuals with the right profile, character and drive. All of these, in conjunction with the candidate passing the previous stages of the recruitment process, make for the A player Herring aims to bring to his company.

Herring supports his team during the recruiting cycles, which coincide with spring and fall college graduations, and he usually joins the team in the final group interview, contributing another level of quality control. He looks for “the red and yellow flags” that may come up. Here the focus is on getting good or better answers from candidates to their interview questions. According to Herring, he guides the team to attend to these until “all flags are green.” 

Act Now

Herring believes that, in order to bring in new talent to the industry, now is the time for companies to invest resources and get involved to groom and train new recruits. SBCA tools are available to facilitate companies in their recruiting cycles. Companies should take a proactive approach in developing a disciplined recruiting system to attract and keep the right staff. Contributing to moving the industry forward begins locally, from within each company, and, it begins now!