Top 5 Mistakes When Hiring Maintenance Department Personnel

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hire maintenance department personnelA maintenance department is as good as its people

When it comes to hiring personnel, it’s not always easy. In fact, it can be quite challenging at times. The truth is that hiring a bad employee can cost you thousands of dollars and put your company’s reputation at risk. To help you get the best candidates for your maintenance department, here are the top five mistakes that occur when hiring. As you move forward interviewing maintenance professionals, avoid these mistakes and create a solid plan for evaluating job skills, technical certifications, and the quality of vocational and trade school programs attended.

1. Not taking time to prepare for the interview

Surveys indicate that hiring managers spend less the five minutes preparing for interviews. Yes, less than five minutes! Don’t skimp when it comes to preparation. Do you know what competencies and qualities you’re after? Do you have a list of probing questions that will help you learn about each applicant? If you don’t have a structured hiring process, you may be wasting time and resources. You may end up not hiring the best candidate for the job. Using a structured interview process that you can use over and over will help you put together a solid maintenance team.

2. Not having good interview questions

The questions you ask in an interview ought to be relevant to the maintenance position. You want to learn the potential candidate’s education, skills, attitude, and behavior tendencies. Sure, the person may be able to do the job you’re offering, but what is his attitude? Is he or she motivated? Does he have integrity? How would he handle a conflict with a co-worker or customer? How will you evaluate their job skills? What about technical evaluations? Ask questions that will help you develop a real sense of skills, as well as who the person is underneath the resume.

For example, if you want to learn just how confident and assertive an applicant is, ask him to tell you how their input solved a problem at a previous job. Or, have him tell you about a time when he had to go against the rules because it was the right thing to do. You can learn a lot by asking open-ended questions and having a conversation. Not sure what kinds of questions to ask? Focus on questions that have to do with problem-solving, leadership, motivation, organization, independence, empathy, safety, ability to follow directions, and integrity.

3. Not having a job description

Do you really know what you’re looking for when it comes to your maintenance department? Have you thought out the job description? Have you written it down? Many hiring managers don’t take the time to spell out the skills, competencies, and characteristics they’re seeking in an employee. Taking the time to develop a job description will help you find the best candidate for the job.

4. Not checking references

You may think that you can get by without checking references thoroughly, but not checking them can be a mistake and turn out to bite you in the long run. Go ahead and check the candidate’s references listed on the application. With his or her permission, check previous employers or others that know the candidate. Sure, they may be limited as to what they can offer, but you may get a better feel for the candidate by what they do mention. Check for how consistent the candidate has been with you in the interview compared to the references.

5. Not using more than one interviewer

You can most likely do a great job filling a position just by interviewing candidates’ by yourself. However, having more than one interviewer may help you get the best candidate available. Why? Another interviewer may see things that you don’t see. For example, let’s say you interview someone and you find out you have something in common. Perhaps you are fans of the same sports team or you went to the same school. You feel a connection based upon this and favor this candidate without realizing it. You feel this person is a lot like you and you think how great it would be to have people like you work for you.

Then, your co-worker interviews the candidate and discovers that he isn’t as qualified as the others. Or, he discovers that the candidate has little integrity or motivation based on the questions he asked. But you thought he was so fitting!  You may have fallen for the Halo Effect, which is when someone favors a job candidate more so based upon having something in common than actual job skills or expertise. Some people call this “hiring in your own image”, which simply means that you hire someone based on the assumption that you like them and not necessarily because they were the most qualified for the job.

Just hiring a great maintenance team is not enough

Putting together a great maintenance department doesn’t have to be challenging. Use these tips to help you find the right hires. However, remember that you cannot rest easy after putting together a great team! You still need to keep track of your maintenance program and make sure it is meeting its targets. This is where keeping track of a few key metrics can be very helpful. Download our free “Key Maintenance Management Metrics for Maintenance Planners” for more information on these metrics. Good luck!

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