News Poll: Finding the right employees is a challenge
YARMOUTH, Maine—A large majority of respondents to Security Systems News’ latest news poll say that hiring is a challenge, and 82 percent are looking to fill at least a couple of positions.
“The best way to attract ‘A’ players is to build a culture that those folks find attractive. [This would be] a culture of recognition, meritocracy and enthusiasm. Once you accomplish that your business will become the employer of choice for those candidates that you desperately need to attract to be successful,” John Cerasuolo, president and CEO of ADS Security, wrote in.
Hiring good employees is a constant struggle according to 81 percent of respondents. An additional 17 percent said that hiring can be a challenge for certain positions. “Hiring technicians is the most difficult staffing task. Skilled technicians that can pass a background, drug screen, have a clean driving record is challenging. Those that meet [these conditions] that have a good work ethic and fit our company culture is even more difficult. We have started a training program to train technicians from scratch due to the difficulty of finding experienced techs that meet the above standards,” one reader said.
One respondent discussed the particular difficulties in his or her area. “It's especially hard in Maryland because only licensed electricians can pull wires—ANY wires. We can find electricians, but few have any low-voltage experience. And people with low-voltage experience typically are not licensed electricians. When we do find someone, they may or may not fit into our company culture. Unfortunately, it's often not until after they are hired that we find that out.”
Jason Brinton, owner of Brinton Electric Security Services, said, “Our office is based outside of a largely populated area. This has been a constant struggle for us to find good qualified help. There are fewer people with the skills we are looking for in our area. When hiring we look for people with a proven good work ethic and hire them, then train them to our needs.”
Two percent said that hiring is not a problem for their business.
The best candidate needs to fit into the company’s culture, according to 53 percent of respondents. Several people wrote that it is best to train someone who fits the culture. “We can teach people the job skills they will need. What we look for are the right people to work in this specialized business of fire alarm, burglar alarm, CCTV, access control, etc. They need a passion for this business and for working with the public,” said one respondent.
“[We have] trouble finding all levels of employees. [The] hardest is experienced techs,” another respondent said. “We have changed our strategy to 'hire for attitude, train for skill.’”
“We hire for character first, then knowledge and ability. Character is a non-negotiable in our business and we are willing to take on the investment of training a person with the right character traits and willingness to learn,” said one reader.
Forty-one percent said that they hire based on qualifications, while another 6 percent said they are now looking for people with IT expertise.
Fifty-two percent of respondents are currently looking to add on more staff. An additional 30 percent said they have a couple of positions to fill.
Nineteen percent said that they are not hiring; their company is at a good size now. “It has been difficult until recently. [We] just hired 3 new (2 techs, 1 marketing/admin). We look for people with the right skill set or background, even similar skills from another profession for techs. They must have good manners and be respectful to everyone and want to succeed at whatever job given,” Tracy Hendrix, owner and CEO of Femac Security Solutions, wrote in. “We do seek those with at least some experience with networking that can be translated to security.”