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.

David Gordon

Over the past few months as we’ve sat in strategy development meetings with distributors, reviewed distributor purchasing information, and talked to manufacturers’ reps and contractors, we’ve seen a purchasing trend that is roiling the industry. The trend, which mirrors what is happening in lighting with “unfamiliar brands,” is accelerated growth and acceptance of less familiar brands for infrastructure type products (electrician supplies, boxes, fittings, etc … consumables and products that go within the wall). This then begs the questions, “What is the value of a manufacturer’s brand,” and “What are the implications for manufacturers and distributors?”

Many have seen this as driven by...

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Study


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.

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As part a family company, I have heard my father talking about business ever since I was a little boy. Although it had always interested me, I had never thought I would end up working alongside my father and my uncle in the company my grandfather started a long time ago.

I had been working in sales ever since I was 16 years old in many different markets than the one I was about to enter, but I thought it would be relatively easy to handle. Very quickly I started noticing the challenges of being a 22-year-old sales rep for electrical products entering a world where most of the manufacturers’ agents had been in the business for a long time.

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Changing Scene

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Peers & Profiles

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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.

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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.

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Looking Back

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Golden anniversaries are celebrated by the mature, and our industry is allowed to celebrate ...
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The year 1982 started on a relatively good note for electrical distributors. Sales in the first ...

 

Online

Building a simple customer experience that satisfies your customers’ expectations is a starting point (or evolution) in your digital journey. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know what my customer wants?” The data are available from their behaviour online, and many of your customers will tell you what they want. Putting the pieces together can appear complex, but it can be simplified if you segment the optimization of your customers’ experience into three buckets: design, usability and search.

Design, usability, and search pertain to how you can serve your customer. In order for your website to create value in the eyes of the customers, you have to optimize your website so that it is accessible to the greatest number of your ideal customers. Value increases with the number of customer touchpoints that the customers use.

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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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Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of the history of wholesale sales in Canada.

Canada has a long trading history, which started before Confederation. Because wholesalers play an important role in the import and export of goods, free trade agreements have had a notable influence on the evolution of the wholesale sector.

 

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Free Trade Agreements and the Evolution of Wholesale Sales in Canada

The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

The goal is to create an inclusive space for innovation, encouraging students to turn their bright ideas into business plans and prototypes of commercial products. The BCIT Student Innovation Challenge is an annual competition allowing British Columbia Institute of Technology students to launch entrepreneurial ideas, inventions, or applied research projects. E.B. Horsman and Son is “Visionary” sponsor of the challenge.

 

Read more: E.B. Horsman & Son Sponsors BCIT Student Innovation Challenge and Students ...

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