A team is only as strong as it’s weakest player and on the custodial roster, the weak can make or break the department. In recent months, managers have written in to Facility Cleaning Decisions inquiring about employee issues and seeking advice on hiring techniques, training advice, disciplinary suggestions and communication challenges.

To address these questions, we turned to our Advisory Board of professionals, who have a combined tenure of 181 years within the industry — 146 years of which have been spent in management. Speaking from years of experience, each offers their best advice to managers facing these difficult employee challenges.

What are the best hiring techniques when recruiting quality staff?

Outline a clear definition of the job responsibilities and requirements necessary for the position. Offer an attractive package and have an idea of the type of person you’re looking for. Then design your interview process to highlight those attributes.
— Steve Spencer, Facilities Specialist, State Farm Insurance

We offer flexibility in the schedules according to their personal life (starting at 4, 5 or 6 a.m., or 2, 3 or 4 p.m.), which seems to draw a large pool of potential candidates to our openings.
— Doreen Bessert, C.E.H., Worksite Placement Coordinator, Custodial Supervisor & Central Purchasing Agent, Maitowoc County DPW

In addition to the normal interview routine (reviewing application, work history and resume, if submitted), we review why the applicant is seeking employment, and we ask behavioral-based questions in addition to job related questions. We also observe how the applicant responds. Do they make eye contact when answering? And did the applicant ask questions of us, but more importantly, were they relevant?
— Ada Baldwin, M.R.E.H., Director for University Housekeeping, North Carolina State University

We have found that employee referrals are the best for recruiting potential new hires, assuming that employee is a good and reliable source.
— J. Darrel Hicks, R.E.H., Director of Environmental Services & Patient Transport, St. Luke’s Hospital

Our recruiting starts with a strong job announcement that accurately portrays the job we are recruiting for, as well as our organization. Once we receive applications we screen them for relative experience. We have questions that are prepared in advance that help us determine if a candidate has the skills and aptitude to be a superstar employee. We also expect candidates to verbally answer a written question.
The interviewers in this first interview will then refer the best candidates for a second interview with two additional members of the leadership team. 
Once all the interviews for a job opening have taken place, the four interviewers meet to rate and discuss each candidate and make recommendations for hire. We then do a criminal background check and conduct telephone reference checks. This process has resulted in a pretty high success rate of recruiting and retaining quality staff. 
Any mistakes can be addressed during the six-month probationary period. We might reject two out of ten probationary employees, on average.
— Gene Woodard, R.E.H., Director of Building Services, University of Washington

At the district, we use job announcements/postings that clearly list essential job functions, required knowledge base, skills and abilities, as well as pay range. This provides each potential candidate with sufficient information regarding the available position. We post these open announcements in various outlets throughout the city, such as city hall, the county courthouse, as well as job search engines, etc. I have found that posting job announcements through various outlets is a great way to advertise an open position. The old method of “word of mouth,” is also very valuable.
— Michael Gutierrez, Manager of Building Operations, Milwaukee Public Schools

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Interview Question Recommendations