Before entering the technology field, I was a General Manager of a major fast food chain. I was put in a store that was considered an “F” store and made it an “A” store in 1 year. I was then moved to a similar store and did the same thing, but it only took 8 months this time. This article will talk about finding the right people for your team. Also future applicants could find this insightful as well.
1. The Application: I know some people have poor penmanship, myself included, but you can tell when someone took their time and when someone rushed through filling the application out. An application should never have things marked out. The applicant should consider asking for 2 applications if they make a lot of mistakes when filling an application out. Also make sure they use a blue or black ink pen, not a pencil, crayon, marker, or highlighter to fill it out. And yes I have seen applications turned in using all of the above. I would always look at hand writing, and to make sure everything was filled out. For example, let’s say that the applicant forgot to fill in the date. This by far wouldn’t rule that person out, but it would show me that they don’t pay attention to details as much as they could.
If some fields are left blank on purpose where they could have provided information, for example the year they graduated high school, then that sets off an alarm in my head. If the person is too lazy that they cannot fill out an application completely, then more likely they are going to take short cuts in their work. My advice to an applicant: Take the extra 10 minutes, fill the application out completely and proof read it. Do not come through drive thru and ask for an application. If an applicant cannot come in and ask for an application, then they don’t want to put effort into getting the job, and more than likely do not put effort into their work.
Calling and following up on a submitted application after a few days is great, but not calling the same day it is submitted, or calling back every day. It’s great that the applicant is serious about getting an interview, but if they are going to pester me before they get the job, then they are going to pester me after they get the job.
2. Being On Time: This is a MAJOR strike, more than likely an automatic out! If someone isn’t going to be on time for an interview, then you know that they are not going to be on time coming into work, or coming back from breaks. I guarantee you they will be on time to pick up their check on pay day though.
There are some exceptions I have run into. Unexpected traffic jams, a wreck for example could cause someone to be late. BUT if they use rush hour as an excuse, that shows poor planning. Rush hour happens at the same times every day. Leave earlier, it’s simple. I have heard the “wreck”excuse twice. Both times I checked it out. One was lying, one was telling the truth. Another exception is a family emergency. The applicant could be lying, but you have to go on your gut in this situation. Things do come up sometimes. An applicant should ideally be 10 – 15 minutes early for their interview.
3. Experience and Prior Employment History: Let’s talk about teenagers first. I heard a lot of my peers input on this matter. Most of my peers would want a teenager to have experience. Not me. I want a teenager that has never had a job or at least a job in fast food. People can pick up bad habits from other jobs, especially a teenager that has not had a lot of experience in the work field and may not realize he or she has picked up these habits. I want a teenager that I can mold, influence, develop, and teach them the right way to do things as well as throwing in some life lessons along the way. I love influencing other people and making a difference even if it is a small one.
Now let’s talk about the adult applicant. If an applicant has had several jobs in a short period of time, that is usually an automatic out. A lot of these people work a few months just to get a “welfare” check. Unfortunately our welfare system is broken. Also if it’s not to get a welfare check, that person is just not capable of holding down a job. If an applicant tells you they quit their last job because their hours are cut, I would ask if everyone’s hours were cut. If they say no, then usually that means their performance at that job was very poor and the management of that last business was trying to force them to quit.
I also stay away from people that were fired. It is usually hard to get fired unless they do something really bad or they repeatedly are breaking the rules or policies. If the applicant has a long tenure somewhere, then this could be a person you want on your team. If an adult has no prior experience, that usually is a red flag also. I would ask myself why hasn’t this person had a job before? You really need to dig into this and find out. Sometimes there are good reasons they have not had a job, but you have to ask a lot of open ended questions and find out.
4. Appearance: It was fast food, so for a team member I didn’t expect the applicant to be wearing a suit, but I expected them to look nice. If a person does not take pride of what they look like, then chances are they will not take pride in their work. Jeans were fine, but they had to fit. If they were skin tight or about to fall to the floor, then that would be a strike. If someone would show up looking like a slob for an interview, then they are going to look like a slob for work. That will definitely set a bad tone in your store to your customers.
Tattoos are another sore subject for me. One small tattoo on the arm I would be fine with, but if someone has tattoos up and down their arms, all over their neck, or on their face, then I would not hire them. That might be on the verge of discrimination, but when you walk into a restaurant, most people don’t want to see several individuals covered with tattoos. The same goes for piercings. If you have a lot of piercings, then take them out before an interview, and don’t wear them to work. How someone dresses outside of my store was their business, but when they were in my store, then they would need to meet my expectations.
5. Body Language: If an applicant can’t keep eye contact and smile, this is not always a strike, but sometimes it is. Here are 2 thoughts on this. If the applicant does not smile and give you eye contact, then there is a good chance that they are going to be the same way with your customers. Customer service is always what can make or break your business (more on that in another article.) The second thought on this though is that applicant could be nervous, and this would be an exception. This is when you need to use your gut and make a judgment call.
6. Personality: This is a big one for me. Sure I would have a pad of questions the company would require me to ask an applicant, but those answers were only 50% of it. If someone could hold a conversation with me and “connect” then more than likely I would hire them. You have to ask yourself if you think this person is going to fit in good with your team you already have. Also something that would be an automatic out is if that person was a drama queen. Drama is the one thing you do not want, and probably have plenty of as it is. If this person is being a drama queen during the interview, just imagine how they would be once they are comfortable with you. You also need to avoid “Bull Sh*ters.” These types of people are nothing but trouble, and you don’t want them in your store.
7. Desperation Hires: I have seen several of my peers do desperation hires. This is where they would hire anyone that applied because they were very short staffed. This just makes things worse. 99% of the time they don’t stick around, and if they do, you wish they wouldn’t have. These desperation hires just cause disruptions with your team that has stood by your side while being short staffed, and may cause you to lose someone valuable. So NEVER EVER do this!
8. 2nd Interviews: If you aren’t sure of an applicant after you interview them, have someone else interview them and see what good and bad qualities they notice. See if they notice the same things you did, or something different. Don’t go by their opinion, remember this is your decision, but use this as another tool in the process.
I hope this article does some good to other people. I have followed these guidelines, and because of this I have met some amazing people and accomplished some amazing things.