Friday, May 3, 2013

Creating a comprehensive application process to filter the potentials from the qualified

Over the past 11 years of being an employer in the cleaning service industry, my partner and I have read thousands (if not tens of thousands) of applications and resumes, have hired hundreds of people and have parted ways with most. Through this journey we have learned what type of people work well within our organization and what type do not.

Unfortunately, finding the right employee is like finding a needle in a haystack. There is a huge population of unemployed persons that are all applying for the same jobs. So how do we find the right people within this mountain of applications and resumes? My partner and I have developed a hiring system that includes a series of steps, which we will discuss in a series of blog posts, that give us an insight as to which applicants are worth knowing more about.

This blog post is a continuation of a series of posts on how to find the "perfect" employees for your cleaning service business. If you haven't already, read the previous posts which are linked below.

How to hire the RIGHT people for your cleaning service business.

How to write a job description that works!

As promised, in my previous post, this week's post is going to focus on developing a comprehensive application process that will filter all the potential candidates, that have applied for you position, so all that you are left with are the qualified ones. 

Even though you have put together a detailed job description, listing the requirements needed for the job, you will receive hundreds of applicants that do not have these requirements. Why? They didn't read the job description. More than half of your applicants are simply applying to every job posted hoping to land one. They are trying to fish, for a job, with a huge net hoping at least one fish stays in the net as they pull it tight. So instead of reading hundreds of resumes and applications from people that aren't qualified, or are not even looking for the actual job you're hiring for (e.g. they want a full time receptionist position with medical and dental insurance), you will want to develop an application process that will weed the unwanted applicants out so you can focus your limited time and energy, on contacting the applicants that you are most interested in and that are interested in your position.

One of the best ways to do this is to have every applicant apply the same way. Each person, wanting to apply for your position, should fill out an application and submit it the same way as everyone else so that you are not pulling your hair out looking at different forms and reading through an entire resume to find out the person is not a fit for your company.

To start, you will need to grab your list of attributes. We will use these to develop our application starting with the "required" attributes. There are many template applications you can use, for your cleaning service business, but we have found that a generic application just wasn't gaining enough of the pertinent information, we needed, in order to determine the eligibility of the potential applicant. Therefore, we developed our own and we suggest you do the same. Let's discuss the different parts of the application and how you can use them to gather the information you deem relevant for your business.

  1. Personal information -This is the most important and self explanatory. In this section you gather names, phone numbers, addresses and the like. 
  2. Requirements of Employment -Use the next section to filter out potential applicants that do not have one or more of your requirements of employment with your company. Make sure you create a question pertaining to each of your "Required" attributes. For example, if you use the internet and texting to communicate with your staff, you would need to require your employees to have a cell phone with texting capabilities and a computer (or equivalent) with internet access. Therefore, you would include questions relating to these requirements. If an applicant answers 'NO' to any of the questions relating to your required attributes, you do not need to read further. This person is filtered out and you move on to the next one. Example Questions:
    • Do you have a cell phone with texting capabilities? Yes/No If yes, please provide cell phone number. 
    • Do you have a computer with internet access? Yes/No  
  3. Employment History and Information -This next section is used to gather information on the applicant's work history. We specifically ask questions regarding to experience in the cleaning field as well as what days of the week they are available and what times. 
  4. Education History -In this section we gather our applicant's educational history as well as any technical certifications pertaining to the field. We also ask if they are currently enrolled in school and if so, what the schedule is.
  5. Tell Us About Yourself -This is one of the most important sections. We ask questions like "Tell us about yourself, your family and what you like to do in your free time.", "Where do you plan to be in three years?" & "Tell us why we should hire you.".  The answers to these questions give you a feel into the personality of the applicant. If they like to do things that your current, successful employees do, then you have a good inclination that their personality will mesh well with your current staff.
Wow, this is quite a bit of information so I think this is a good place to stop for today. Take your list of attributes and create your application. In our next issue, we will discuss how Clean Right Co posts our job openings, gathers the applications and filters them to find the qualified applicants that we are interested in learning more about. Erica Jensen, President Clean Right Co -Spokane, WA