If you are like many professional horsemen,
the right people to help you in your business is a
challenge. It's a challenge because candidates
horse experience are limited, the rate of pay in the
equine industry is low in comparison to other
industries and much of the work is unsupervised
requiring employees with good work habits.
A resume, job application and a short interview will
you tell you only part of the story about an employee
You know what I mean if you've
your new hire show up for work on the first day and
you find out that not only did the name on the job
application and the face from the interview show up, a
whole person came along as well.
The whole person comes with a life history and often
with personalized baggage. And personalized
baggage does not refer to monograms on suitcases.
There are many books and articles written
on the subject of hiring. You may want to brush up
on your interviewing skills and techniques by reading
some of the good books and articles.
Like most things, however, experience is the best
teacher on the practice of hiring good
Experience has taught me that
the following points are important to consider in your
interview process. They're in random order and may
seem blatantly obvious. But, like a mare with her
ears pinned flat on her neck, the obvious is still worthy
of your attention.
- Does the applicant show up early, on time, or
for the interview? Late arrivals are often backed by
good excuses- "heavy traffic, difficulty finding the place,
drop children off, etc." These are the same excuses
you'll probably hear every day from the applicant once
hired. If you expect punctuality every day, lack of it at
the interview is deal breaker.
- Is the applicant dressed in a way that is
acceptable to you for your business image? If
unconventional body piercings-offensive tattoos and
sloppy general appearance don't bother you or your
customers, no need to worry. If they do, keep in mind
you are probably seeing the best image of the
candidate at the interview.
- Reliable transportation?-You know what
when a worker is a no-show. You either find a way to
pick up the employee to get him or her to work, or you
go through the day running on one less cylinder.
- Look for life in the eyes- good eye contact,
enthusiasm and energy.
- Bad mouthing and negative comments-
employers, industry, relationships, family, excessive
bad luck. If you hear too much of it in the
interview, you'll be forever hearing it from the
- Take this job and ---How many
what's the pay ? If too many questions like these
come early in the interview, you know that
Johnny is all
about his Paycheck.
- Lack of enthusiasm for horses and or
general. Captain Obvious says this could be a
- Messy car - no science or research backs
but I got in the habit of trying to have a peek at a
candidate's car. Back seats littered with adult
beverage cans and fast food wrappers, duct taped
door handles and turn signal lenses and out of date
inspection stickers tell part of a story.
- Poor listener-Even though you will only be
doing twenty percent of the talking at an interview, the
candidate should show signs of coherence and
listening carefully to what you say. After all, carrying out
your directions is a key
- Lacking good manners-you'll never be
apologizing for your employee's crude behavior and
impolite habits. Even though it's not you being rude,
his reflection tarnishes your silver.
We both know there is no perfect employee.
But, as a
profitable business owner, screening for bad habits
and attitudes makes good sense. Good attitude
trumps work experience.
People with good attitudes, but weak on work
experience and skills can always be trained for
People with bad attitudes, but strong on work
experience and skills are often trainwrecks for