Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Don't Judge A Banana By Its Peel

September 19, 2010

Outward appearances are not always what they seem to be, especially in terms of hiring new employees.

Attracting qualified, motivated employees can be a dreadfully difficult process for a hiring manager in any industry.

In the commercial cleaning and maintenance industries, where employee injury rates are higher than most other service industries and where employee turnover is historically exorbitant, putting forth the time and effort to fill vacant positions with worthy workers can often feel like a crapshoot.

Knowing this, hiring managers will often forgo a thorough vetting process to find their ideal candidate and opt for hiring any one with a heartbeat in hopes that this shot in the dark will succeed.

Not only is this process — if a loosely adhered to, haphazard hiring practice can be called a process — dangerous, it is also counterproductive.

Without performing extensive background checks and asking strategic, open-ended questions, the true personality and subsequent worth of the individual you are considering for employment may never be known.

To use an extreme example, think of what neighbors of convicted serial killers always tell the media: "He seemed like such a nice person. I would have never expected this from him. He loves puppies."

Moreover, enlisting employees from whom you expect failure is a waste of the resources necessary to train said employees on the basics of your operation and how the services you offer are delivered.

Of course, going through the hiring ropes numerous times could streamline your new employee training practices; but the ability to train a constant influx of new hires is not desirable — securing longtime employees who share the values of your company or organization is.

Unfortunately, a stupendous employee rarely earns the hiring manager or the individual who trained them praise.

Conversely, a problem employee almost always reflects poorly on all parties involved in bringing them aboard.

This month''s cover story discusses new techniques hiring managers can utilize to ensure they are choosing the right candidates from the stack of seemingly similar resumes filling up their inbox or piled on their desk.

Given the elevated unemployment rate our nation is currently facing, some hiring managers are likely content with revolving door employees.

To their defense, receiving a high number of applications and giving an increased number of employees a chance to succeed within their company or organization is bound to yield at least a few qualified and conscientious employees.

While these practices might work in specific instances they do little to elevate the level of professionalism in our industry.

High employee turnover and the constant replacing of the friendly faces that clean schools, colleges and universities, health care facilities and office buildings, only reaffirms the stereotypical notion that janitors, custodians and maintenance personnel are untrained, uncaring and unworthy of the time and effort warranted to keep them as longtime, reliable and professional employees.

Send comments or thoughts on this topic or any other article that appears in CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine, to