SR Panel: Hire Right

Rene Huston
Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas
owner/vice president of finance, sales and marketing
Sun Prairie and Madison, Wisconsin

Finding employees keeps me up most at night. It’s also what sometimes holds me back from growth ideas: not knowing if I’ll have the staff to support the idea(s).

Over the past month, we have spent a lot of time strategizing the hiring process for three positions within our company. We posted the positions on Indeed.com for a minimal fee. We wrote a few versions of the ad to see which received the most inquiries. To my surprise, we received a handful of qualified applicants and quickly filled one of our retail sales positions. The other two were filled via referral. Referrals can be a powerful platform when seeking employees. At Patio Pleasures, we have a strong give-and-take philosophy: We expect a lot, but we also give a lot. We compensate our employees well and expect high performance. We do not offer heath insurance due to the expense, but we do offer other benefits — vision, dental, 401(k), short-term and long-term disability and life insurance — that are reasonably priced and add a lot of value to the opportunity. These benefits are 100 percent covered by Patio Pleasures and offered to the employee only. The employee can add family for a nominal price.

Writing the job description was also key. I wanted to be sure that whoever applied knew what we were looking for. Our posting included keywords and phrases such as:

You might be the right retail sales associate for Patio Pleasures if you:

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  • Are open to working weekends in a fun and fast-paced environment
  • Believe someone’s home is the best place to invest in recreation, fun and healthy outdoor living
  • Like to think creatively and collaborate with your teammates.

Eric Cassidy
Valley Pool & Spa
vice president
Five in the Pittsburgh area (Sixth coming 2018)

We utilize Indeed.com and Facebook to find all potential new hires. We do paid listings on Indeed, and boosted posts on Facebook. The Facebook boosted posts are basically supporting and linking to the Indeed ad, so everyone applies there for easy tracking. We get anywhere between 50 to 200 applications from our postings when we hire every season from February to March. Based on their resume submissions, we then invite select individuals to fill out a premade Google form that asks various questions that would normally happen on a phone interview. Based on those responses, we usually get down to 10 to 25 people to interview. Facebook is great because people who already know our company share our job posts on their personal Facebook page. Aside from this, we work really hard at being a place our team loves to work and have won numerous Best Places to Work awards over the last few years. That being said, nearly half of our new hires are from current employee referrals. We prefer to not hire anyone with industry experience and just look for the individual with the best character and personality.

Here are examples of everything from last year: