Assessing Potential Employees

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Sonny Lykos offers tips on finding and hiring new employees for a remodeling business.

June 01, 1999

Sonny Lykos, president of Construction Solutions in Naples, Fla., admits he has an obsession: improving the reputation of the remodeling industry. Hiring only the most skilled and ethical people to represent his company is the first step in accomplishing his mission.

When interviewing potential employees, Lykos begins by having the candidate fill out a six-page skill-assessment list as part of his company’s application process. Aimed at evaluating the skills of potential employees, the extensive list covers every imaginable area of remodeling and poses questions about office skills as well. "We want to determine exactly what our guys can do," he says.


Ten tips on what employees Want
1. Appreciation of their work

2. To feel in on things

3. Sympathetic help with personal problems

4. Job security

5. Good wages

6. Interesting work

7. Growth in the company

8. Loyalty to workers

9. Good working conditions

10. Tactful discipline
Source: Paul Rosenberg, Electrical Contractor magazine

The list has a secondary function, too. If it is necessary to terminate an employee, the skill assessment can serve as documentation. Although Lykos has never used the list in this manner, he says it is necessary because of the "litigious" society that exists.

During the interview process, Lykos also presents candidates with hypothetical situations to determine how they will interact with a full range of clients -- the elderly, women and aggressive people are three he typically chooses.

In addition, the potential employee must pass a driver’s exam. "I’ll ask him to drive to two or three sites in progress to see the kind of work we do," Lykos says. "While he’s driving, I monitor his driving habits, looking for things like tailgating, excessive speeding, complaining about ‘old’ people, nonuse of directionals and other bad habits." Only one candidate has failed this final step of the interview process.

Remodeling involves good public relations and a lot of hand holding, according to Lykos, so people skills and responsibility play critical roles.

"What I’m really hiring is good judgment," he says. "You can teach skills, but you can’t teach ethics, and I wouldn’t try to. I’m not a psychologist; I’m a remodeler."

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