Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 May 11, 2018

Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

The need to hire can be a good or a bad thing. In some cases business is booming and there’s a need to add to your team. Alternatively someone has left for a different job opportunity or has retired, and there’s an urgency to fill the gap.

Whatever the reason, the process of interviewing will either delight you or send you running for the headache pills.

But hiring the wrong person for the job has many consequences. It’s costly, both from a time and productivity perspective. And it can be demoralizing for those who are responsible for onboarding the new hire, and have participated in the knowledge sharing process to educate that individual about not only the job itself but organizational culture, processes and policies.

In some instances employers will realize that the person was not the right fit for a particular role but will be hesitant to let that person go, instead working to make them fit somewhere into the organization. That may work — if you’re lucky — or it you could end up sinking time and effort into training the employee for positions for which they have no real aptitude, or even desire to be in.

So what are some of the best approaches to interviewing and hiring the best candidates?

What to do

  • Be clear on what the job entails. If expectations on either side are unclear it can cause issues later on if you hire that individual and the job is not what they thought it was. Do your questions relate to the actual position you are trying to fill? Have you put some thought into them?
  • Do check references. If possible undertake extra reference checks, and not just the ones the candidate has provided. Ask about the person’s strengths and weaknesses, how they perform under pressure, how they work within a team, and what skills they need to grow as part of their further development.
  • Do include another person in the interview, no matter how small of an organization you are. If you have a team already in place who will be working with this new person every day have them sit in on the first or second interview. If not, task a trusted colleague to step in and help with the process. Quite often they will see something that you may not, or remember to ask a question that you don’t.
  • Don’t wing it. While unstructured interviews can lead to a free flowing discussion they can leads to problems, especially if you go off on a tangent and then ask different candidates different questions. Structure your interviews so that all candidates receive the same questions, which will make the interviews more reliable and will allow you to better/fairly assess candidate responses. But…
  • Be creative. Any interviewee will be prepared for the standard interview questions Try to ask questions in such a way that they may not be prepared for.
  • Some questions that I include in an interview are, “Tell me three words that describe you,” followed by “Give me three words that your colleagues would use to describe you.” It’s amazing how many people this stumps. Another good question is, ”Tell me a time when something went wrong and how you handled it.” If they tell you nothing has ever gone wrong during their career to date, or that they have never done anything wrong, make it a short interview.
  • Most importantly, listen. Sometimes it is tempting to jump into those momentary silences that may crop up during the interview, but this provides an opportunity to see how the candidate reacts and ideally opens up with some further narrative.

What not to do

  • Don’t talk too much. You’re there to listen and use that time to determine if this person is a good fit for your company. If you hear yourself talking too much take a deep breath and move on to the next question.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, especially if you have noticed gaps in the candidate’s resume or have seen an alternative narrative on their social media.
  • Don’t drag the interview out. Not all interviews have to set a predetermined time limit – let the actual discussion be your guide.

Hopefully taking the time to prepare properly for the interview process will save you time and money in the long run, and possibly you may find your perfect employee.

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.


OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

Read more




Looking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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Changing Scene

  • Prev
Effective January 1, 2019, Ramy Yousif assumes the position of Rexel Atlantic’s General Manager.
This past summer, from July 1 to September 15, AD Rewards ran the Redeem for a Dream promotion.
Electro-Federation Canada’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that ...
On October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This ...
AD, the contractor and industrial products wholesale buying/marketing group, reports a 10% increase ...
Standard’s Mississauga Sales office has moved to a new location and is now fully operational. In ...
This practical guide to product selection and installation for cable tray systems was designed for ...
Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), a not-for-profit organization and Canada’s largest ...
Heather and Elaine Gerrie, co-presidents of Gerrie Electric, are this year’s winners of the ...
Tony’s energy and commitment to Westburne has enabled him to grow in a new leadership role in our ...

Peers & Profiles

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On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

Read more: Laura Dempsey

Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

Read more: John Sencich

Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

DIgitalDigitalization is set to take a strong hold of all business models, transforming how companies access, monitor, engage with and service customers. Today’s customers are not passive consumers; they rely on real-time digital access to information to make purchasing decisions. Businesses must consider how to apply digital technologies and digitized data to connect with customers to help reshape their paths to purchase. This digital lens provides improvements to business functions, operations and overall processes by creating stronger insight and knowledge so businesses can take action.

The path towards digitalization has put the electrical supply channel at an important crossroad: the entire electrical value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, customers) will need to strongly consider how to move from a traditional model that has served the market well for decades, towards a new model that is connected, smart and highly efficient. But how does the industry evolve from a traditional model to an integrated ecosystem?

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 



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