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Business Operations

What to look for when interviewing

October 26, 2011
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If you're looking to hire some new employees, Mark Ellis, president of Southland Auto Wash of Grand Rapids, MI, has some advice on what to look for during the interview process before asking, "When can you start?"

"A positive personality and smile is something we find we can't ‘teach' so we look for it in interviews. It's our number one criteria for certain customer-interaction positions. Neatness and promptness signify that an applicant is serious and worth considering, as those qualities are requirements of our team. Physical ability to do the work is a requirement," according to Ellis.

If an interviewee has the following, Ellis said it would probably be best to not hire him or her:

  • Arrived late to the interview
  • A lack of neat grooming
  • Poor eye contact
  • Gaps in employment (although with the recent employment difficulties in Michigan potential hires are reviewed on a case-by-case basis)

Ellis said they also call on references and ask whether the prior supervisor would rehire the applicant, and if they say "no," they generally won't hire them either. "We ask the applicant why they are applying with us. Some applicants are just ‘filling out forms' for unemployment and are a waste of our time. Prior carwash experience is more negative than positive, because we are interested in training our team members in Southland's methods. We also ask about their driving record and criminal record. Problems in either of these areas raises a red flag, and we use caution."