Featuring Geoffrey Gran, Owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest
Geoffrey Gran and his business partner Bill Heuer started TCF in 2005. They now have 162 employees and are the largest fabricator in Illinois. Their goal from the beginning was to be the best, and hiring great employees has been the key to achieving it.
Finding quality talent is one of the largest pain points in the fabrication industry, so we turned to Geoffrey for some advice.
He shares the tools TCF uses to find employees, must-ask interview questions, the most common mistake fab shops make when hiring, and more.
Using Indeed and Referral Fees
We use Indeed a lot for our recruiting. Now, Indeed has the ability to add assessments.
So if you’re hiring someone in your Finance Department, you can add an assessment to find out if they’re good at math. If you’re hiring someone to do a field measure, you can find out if someone is good with spacial relations.
Example of Indeed Assessments
It’s making sure you’re hiring someone with the right qualifications.
The other thing we use is referral fees with employees. If you treat employees great, they’ll enjoy working for you.
The best referral you can get is when they tell a friend or family member that you’re hiring. If we hire them, the employee and the new hire get a bonus after 90 days.
Must-Ask Interview Questions
There are job-specific questions whether it’s finance, polishing, or installing. But there are certainly some basic questions you should ask everyone.
What is your goal and expectation of coming to work every day?
Everyone can’t be the chief, so you need people to be workers. But, is their goal always to get better? Do they want to help the company move forward?
We want this place to be a safe haven, so are you good at working with others?
We say that, but you really need to dive into what that means. Someone can be a great worker but if they bring a lot of drama or are a hothead, that doesn’t work. Disposition is really important.
For the most part, almost anything can be taught if you have the right attitude and want to learn.
Job Descriptions and KPIs
What does your job description say? It’s amazing how many guys stop right there and realize they don’t have a job description.
It’s really hard to find someone with the right qualifications if you don’t have that. And once you hire someone, if they don’t have a job description, how do they know how they’re doing? How do they know what “right” looks like?
We give everyone a job description and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Then, we tell them what our expectations are every day. It might be a square foot goal, a quality control goal, whatever it might be.
If you give everyone transparency, they will move mountains for you.
If you do that with your employees, they’re going to feel satisfaction because they know where they stand every day. That makes them happy, and then, they’re challenged. We have very little turnover because we recognize that our employees are our No. 1 asset.
If you can do those things, you end up with great staff.
Company Size – Does It Matter?
It is incredibly important regardless of your size. It’s incredibly important when you’re small because if you only have five people, those people probably have a larger list of things they do.
When you get bigger, roles can be siloed, but when you’re small, maybe you’re doing finance, purchasing, customer service, and scheduling!
Having those job descriptions and KPIs and reviews are incredibly important.
We have a Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and she runs an internal Facebook page. Every couple of weeks, she does a spotlight on an employee. She interviews them, takes pictures – Moraware does that, too.
Everyone gets their own birthday day – we don’t do a birthday month – it’s your day. Everyone gets their own cake, we celebrate with your department. When you do those things and engage your employees so they’re not just punching in and out every day, it becomes more than just a job.
We try to offer careers to people. Some people think you can’t offer someone a career who is polishing and making $15 per hour, but I disagree. I think you certainly can.
Geoffrey Gran is the owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest, the largest fabricator in Illinois with over 160 employees. Gran helped create Fifth Gear Technology, the company behind SPEEDlabel, SPEEDdraw, and Hot Sauce Your Tops.