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Forum topic by David Drummond posted 04-01-2015 03:36 AM 1298 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Drummond

97 posts in 2127 days


04-01-2015 03:36 AM

Ill keep this short and sweet… I am looking for input on how to find new talent. I run a cabinet shop and am looking for a shop foreman but am having problems finding someone that fits the bill. I am a small shop and dont have the presence that has applicants knocking on the door but I do produce high end quality cabinetry and have high expectations on what I expect from an employee. I am to the point where I need to bring someone on to run the shop that will allow me to bring more work in and am hoping that someone here has some ideas on where I could recruit from whether it be high school wood shop, trade specific college recruiting or retired woodworking enthusiast. All input is appreciated. Thanks!

-- "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do... Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain


19 replies so far

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,

2387 posts in 3009 days


#1 posted 04-01-2015 04:28 AM

Good topic. At one time we had 3 full time guys plus my wife and I full time. It is just my wife and I full time now and I use sub contractors as needed part time here and there. I personally have not had much luck with hiring labor full time. The as needed sub has worked great for us though. After being burned out dealing with our last full timer, I elected to go CNC and just run with my wife and I. But I now have a vision to once again attempt to hire a full time guy in the next year or so. But I have other priorities to tackle before I do that.

I have had my share of bad experiences along the way, so I will have to follow this thread.

-- .

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1640 posts in 1779 days


#2 posted 04-01-2015 04:42 AM

You could check out Marc Adams School. Most of the students are hobbyist retirees but some younger talent goes through there.

We’re considering hiring in the near future ourselves but our business model isn’t at all like a cabinet shop so we can afford to recruit for work ethic and personality then slowly train to our liking. It’s because we’ve got a lot of busy work that takes very little time to learn that we could put the newcomers on to start.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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NoThanks

798 posts in 991 days


#3 posted 04-01-2015 05:34 AM

I put my ad in the paper and kept it in there all the time.
Putting in an ad here or there, you miss guys with experience that may leave their present job in between your ads.

If your looking for someone with experience, chances are they are working now and may not be happy where they are at so they will be looking at ads trying to find a new job. You have to have your ad out there or they won’t see it.

Employees are the hardest part of business in my opinion. If you find a good one, pay them well to keep them.
I never had much luck trying to train young guys. Once they think they know it all they leave to start their own business. And a lot of older guys just want to put in their time and collect a paycheck.
You have to go through a lot of them to find the right guy.
It’s vicious…..

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 692 days


#4 posted 04-01-2015 11:19 AM

Do you have a woodworkers store local? if so you may be able to drop the bug in one or all the employees ear. They seem to know whats going on and who the right people are.

Is this an easy topic?—no. This is partially why I never elected to try to go full time as an owner. The other is the governmental stuff. I am a simple guy: we agree to a wage, I pay you, you work for me. The deal is good on a hour by hour basis. You want to leave, great, good luck. I dont want you, great, see you. But the market interference of the gvt makes this difficult with all the extra stuff one has to pay. Yes, I think gvt is the greatest physical evil on earth.

Both times I worked in cabinet shops i was under the table. But I have to admit that doing this can be challenging. If you get caught on either side you get fined.

Hope things work well.

EDIT:
If I may offer a question I use when interviewing a candidate for an engineering job where I work: What is something you made that you really enjoyed but you could have bought? Ask for pictures and be ready to ask specific questions about the construction.

This question tells me if this is a guy right out of college who is looking to make cash or is this someone with so much passion for the craft that they cant help but do it.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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Puzzleman

411 posts in 2406 days


#5 posted 04-01-2015 05:26 PM

It seems most of the answers deal with hiring regular employees. The OP stated that he is looking for a supervisor. That is a different skill set.

My answer is to figure out what you want the person to do. Must he have woodworking skills or rather you want her to have supervisory skills? These are two different skill sets. If you are looking for more of a supervisor, you would want to hire someone with more of supervisory skills than wood skills. You will probably have to teach them the points of wood working. If you are looking for more of a wood worker, then you need to be sure that the new hire has the right attitude for supervision and spend training time with him to learn to supervise.

I started a job as a plant manager without any knowledge of what was done in the plant. What I did have was the management skills necessary to lead, follow up, discipline, understand costs and see the bigger picture. I was able to learn the basic skills of what was done in 2 weeks. Had key employees that would help me with operational situations until I learned what I needed to know to do it by myself.

As far as looking for someone, I would register with the state unemployment office. Many older supervisors are looking for jobs. Put ads on Craigslist and in local paper. Stress that you are looking for a manager first and that wood workings skills are not necessary but are a bonus. The next thing I would do is to talk about your situation with everyone you meet about what you are looking for. Never know when a friend of a friend of a friend will be the right fit.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

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dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#6 posted 04-01-2015 05:45 PM

Look at your best guy now and if he’s worked his butt off making you money then promote him. Then you need to hire a new person to fill the rung on the bottom. Or maybe continue your role managing the shop and hire a salesman instead.

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 692 days


#7 posted 04-01-2015 06:01 PM

This.
As long as the guy working his butt off for you has a bit of management sense. If not he may be able to learn it. But beware. Management may sound good to him but if he is passionate about wood then he may come to hate his new job and leave.


Look at your best guy now and if he s worked his butt off making you money then promote him. Then you need to hire a new person to fill the rung on the bottom. Or maybe continue your role managing the shop and hire a salesman instead.

- dhazelton


-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View David Drummond's profile

David Drummond

97 posts in 2127 days


#8 posted 04-01-2015 07:22 PM

I am currently a two man shop with hopes that my helper could take the lead on projects but its just not working out. I am looking for someone to hand a set of prints to and have them build whatever I put in front of them with the assistance of helper. I would be ok with bringing someone up to speed but it would be of utmost importance that they are comfortable with power tools, table saws, miter saws, routers, etc…

-- "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do... Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain

View mrg's profile

mrg

659 posts in 2461 days


#9 posted 04-01-2015 07:57 PM

Have you tried the county vo-tech or high schools in the area that has a wood shop. You may find some good talent that could start now part time in a work study program. I don’t know if they still have these programs but that’s how I got into my field and my best friend got into industrial woodworking.

Best of luck.

-- mrg

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Woodmaster1

736 posts in 2049 days


#10 posted 04-01-2015 08:24 PM

I team teach a woodworking/construction class at the high school level. The other teacher and I think out of 20 students we have maybe 5 students that would be a good worker. It is sad to see how the mechanical ability is missing in today’s students. Too much electronic device use by them and the parents. They do not have anyone at home that works on things to teach them how to use tools. They are not even close to the students I had before electronic devices took over.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#11 posted 04-01-2015 09:31 PM

As I said, it might be easier to find a sales guy who can do estimates.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1640 posts in 1779 days


#12 posted 04-01-2015 09:41 PM

The problem with promoting your best worker is that it takes him away from the job that he’s doing so well. There’s no guarantee he’ll be just as good at the new job or that it will be possible to fill the vacant position with someone equally skilled.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

303 posts in 1924 days


#13 posted 04-01-2015 10:36 PM

Great thread, and I will chime in because I am sort of on the opposite side of this equation. I am actually looking for a job in a cabinet shop/ furniture shop when I am done with woodworking school. It occurs to me you have a budding group of highly educated, accomplished, mature professionals who have made a life change from corporate ladder climbing to woodworking. I can cite at least three other guys in my glass who are longtime hobbiest woodworkers who are trying to make it a go as a pro… For me I spent 12 years in hospital administration along the way picking up an MBA, had a steady employment record and made a conscience choice to follow a passion rather than fiscal upside of a job wearing suit every day (still happier every day for it) It occurs to me guys/ gals like this are ideal candidates to recruit, and actively calling woodworking schools and specifically asking which students are highly motivated and serious would be a worthy endeavor. I guess a pitfall would be these folks often think they will be a one man shop doing one off furniture and making a living doing it… But from what I’ve learned at school, from other people who have been doing this for decades, Their advice is its best to go work for someone for 3-5 years because there is too much to learn and experience, and running a business is world different than being a hobbiest. In short, maybe focusing on these kinds of prospects has a built in flexibility where they have a ton of non- wood related skills, less hurdles, but need some time to be coached up on the wood specific skills. It’s a win win, you get an employee that doesn’t need babysitting, they get to learn and grow doing what they love.

It’s so weird to be on the other side of hiring at this point in my life, ie 37 years of age. I have applied to a few FT craftsman openings in different cities, but haven’t had any responses quite yet. It has not been that long, so I’m sure I’ll find something. If I’ve learned one thing at woodworking school that rings 100 percent true, there are simply no short cuts to paying your dues. I thought I was pretty good a year ago, and have spent each day getting a little more humble.. Lol

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,

2387 posts in 3009 days


#14 posted 04-01-2015 10:38 PM

What is being suggested as far as advice on hiring goes is a ton easier talked about on this thread then in real life experience. I have hired in one capacity or another about 15 or so workers since 2009, I only recall 1 that I would be happy to bring back full time.

The traits I would look for would contain decent intelligence, works well with technology, hard work ethic, prompt and on time, schedule and deadline oriented, focused, and most of all, HONEST. Basically a fellow like me, but that is not easy to find, trust me. If I could find the right guy that I could hand the cut sheet and plans to, then run after more sales that would be great. Again it is much easier talked about then actually done in real life.

-- .

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NoThanks

798 posts in 991 days


#15 posted 04-01-2015 10:50 PM


But from what I ve learned at school, from other people who have been doing this for decades, Their advice is its best to go work for someone for 3-5 years because there is too much to learn and experience, and running a business is world different than being a hobbiest.

- BLarge

This is the exact problem employers face.
They spend 3 – 5 years investing in an employee only for them to leave.

It costs an employer a lot more than payroll to train a person.
Then when they leave you have to do it all over again.

Like I said above, it vicious.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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