How Funeral Pros Can Find & Hire Great Talent

Posted February 1, 2017

6 min read

“How can a funeral professional successfully hire the right kind of talent? And how come, in the past, we’ve repeatedly hired people who just don’t work out?”

These two questions were the catalyst behind our conversation with Alan E. Hall, a popular speaker, author, columnist, community leader, and catalyst for business growth. As CEO of Tempus Global Data, Hall pulls from more than 40 years of executive experience to provide business owners with actionable advice on how they can more effectively hire people who are a better fit for their firm.

How to Find the Best New Employees

Hall says that one of the biggest mistakes he sees business operators make is focusing too much on criteria that only looks at candidates with skills that—on paper—match a job description.

“That’s probably the number one thing we all do, but in my experience, that has not proved successful because there are several other factors that are more important than skills alone,” explains Hall. “What I’ve learned over the course of time is there are other questions we need to ask.” Here Hall explains 7 critical factors we should focus on.

1. Competent.

Competence doesn’t mean a candidate is right for the job, but there is often a certain level of skill required for a job, so it does need to be evaluated. Does the person have the necessary qualifying demonstrable skills, such as education, to be at your firm? Do they have the ability to achieve desired results as planned, on time, and consistently? Again, looking at competence alone will not tell you if a candidate is going to excel and fit in at your funeral home, says Hall, but it does allow for the conversation to continue.

2. Capable.

“Being capable means the employee has potential for growth and the ability and willingness to take on more responsibility,” explains Hall. Consider asking, “In your previous position how did you define doing a good job?” Then ask for examples to demonstrate the behavior and to see how the candidate thinks.

3. Compatible.

You want to do your best to see if this person gets along with past colleagues—since after all, you’ll want them to work well with families and peers. Besides asking references, consider asking them how they have served other employees they have worked with in terms of time and support. Ask them if they are honest, and what that means to them. “I would avoid individuals who have a separate personal agenda that is different from the company’s goals,” adds Hall.

4. Commitment.

Hall shares how football coach Tom Flores once said, “A total commitment is paramount to reaching the ultimate in performance,” and this is true for those you want to bring on board to your team. Look to see how the candidate dealt with issues or obstacles that were not enjoyable to them in the past to gauge resilience.

“You can ask, ‘Tell me about a time when it was hard for you to deliver a task or meet a deadline. How did you go about meeting it? What obstacles did you encounter? What was the outcome?’” says Hall.

If you see signs that a candidate frequently switches jobs, or has gaps in their resume that are unexplained, dig deeper.

“You really want to look at their past record of business opportunities, where they’ve worked, how long were they there, when they left, and why. You start to see a pattern. You want to know their history, but you also want to know if they intend to stay with you, too.” That’s where references or past employers can also help tell the story.

5. Character.

In the funeral profession, making sure you find an employee who has values that align with your values (and the firm’s values) is important. “Do they tell the truth and keep promises? Are they above reproach?” says Hall. Hall provides examples of questions and conversation starters to see how a candidate answers:

  • “There are many ways to show respect to others. What ways work best for you? Give me a specific example.”
  • “What have you have done to earn others’ trust in the past?”
  • “Tell me about a time at work when you objectively considered others’ ideas, even when they conflicted with your own.”

6. Culture.

Culture can be hard to capture and describe to others—but you certainly know when an employee is brought on and doesn’t seem to align with your firm’s culture. That’s why you want to be sure to look for indicators that someone will fit in with the norms, expectations, values, policies and unspoken rules of your firm.

“In the interview process, it is not only important to learn about the preferred culture of an applicant but it is also imperative to clearly describe to the candidate the declared culture of the company.” That alone can cut down on hiring mistakes, says Hall.

7. Compensation.

Hall recommends offering a market-competitive compensation package so that you attract quality people. If you don’t offer this to people, there can be resentment, tension and conflict, or people can come to work for you, but feel unappreciated and underperform as a result.

Hall recommends these questions to discuss this with candidates, at the right time in the process:

  • “What were your starting and final level of compensation at the last two companies?”
  • “What are your salary expectations and are you comfortable with the compensation package being offered for this position?”
  • “What are your long term salary requirements?”

“If you’re going to hire, hire the best people. You are going to need to take care of those employees with, in this case, compensation, benefits, and what else the market dictates to attract and keep those employees,” he says.

“The bottom line is we should spend as much time asking the 7 questions of hiring as we do anything else—because if we fail to do it correctly, and we end up having to terminate that individual, we’ve lost time, money, energy, productivity, and much more.”

Help Your People Collaborate More Effectively

You’ve hired a great team, and now it’s time to support them with the easiest way to collaborate and improve efficiency. CRäKN is a seamless solution that helps your people be more productive than ever—all while helping to reduce error along the way:

  • Automate your processes: contracts, forms, files, and more
  • Collaborate and stay on track: calendars, resource usage, to-dos, and beyond
  • Create visibility: e-whiteboard, SMS messaging, satisfaction surveys, etc.

To see how CRäKN streamlines and automates routine tasks to reduce costs—and allows you to spend more time serving families—request a demo today.

About Alan E. Hall

Hall is well-known speaker, author, columnist, community leader, and catalyst for business growth. As CEO of Tempus Global Data, Hall pulls from more than 40 years of executive experience to provide business owners with actionable advice on how they can more effectively hire people who are a better fit for their firm. Find the 7 C’s Of Hiring book here.

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