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Doug Kooyman’s 14-Step Hiring Process

Doug Kooyman, owner of Kooyman Lumber in Pella, Iowa, uses a 14-step hiring process he and one of his employees developed several years ago. While sometimes he’ll modify the process based on the position for which he’s hiring, his 14 steps are a good example for the rest of us to follow.

Please remember that, as an employer, each of you needs to be sensitive to legal and regulatory restraints on your hiring process. While the following list represents one retailer’s method of hiring, you will need to ensure the tests you require of a new employee and the questions you ask during the interview comply with your state’s hiring guidelines.

  1. Job Advertisement. Instead of advertising in the newspaper like he used to do in the past, Kooyman says nowadays he’s more likely to post the job online, on sites like LinkedIn or Craigslist.
  2. Job Description. The description of the job should accurately reflect what the job does. “For example, while a lot of lumberyards hire outside sales managers, I prefer to call those employees account managers, because that’s what they actually do.”
  3. Application. Kooyman’s job application is four pages long and includes a request for business references. Depending on the number of applications he gets, Kooyman may narrow the field of candidates before moving on to the next step.
  4. Profile Test. A short, 15-minute profile test gives Kooyman some idea of the candidate’s personality and skills. He uses the Profile Step One test, administered by a third party.
  5. Compare the Candidate to Other Employees. Kooyman wants to know how the personality and skills of his prospective employee compares with those of his best employees. Current employees have already taken the Profile Step One test. Kooyman takes their test results and compares them with the candidate’s test results. If the employees he has are doing well, then he wants more employees like them. For example, if he’s hiring an account manager (outside salesperson), he’ll compare the job candidate’s test results with his top three account managers and the personality traits he feels are best suited for that job.
  6. Compare the Candidate to the Job Description. With the results of the Profile Step One test in hand, Kooyman can also see if the job candidate is a good fit for the job description. He might accomplish this step in Step 5 above, but particularly if he’s hiring for a new position, Kooyman will look carefully at the candidate’s personality and skills to see if he has what he’s looking for.
  7. Phone Interview. Kooyman reviews the application cover letters and resumes, then rates them A, B or C. Kooyman calls the A-rated candidates first and schedules a phone interview with them for after 5 p.m. so he won’t be interrupted, and it’s also more convenient for the interviewee. How prompt the prospective employee is about returning the call tells him a lot about that person’s promptness at work, too.
  8. In-Person Interview. With the field narrowed to three to five candidates, Kooyman schedules in-person interviews. At this stage, he invites key members of his staff, including his wife, who’s not an employee but who’s judgment he values when it comes to selecting a new employee) to sit in on the interview. Having others in the interview means he’ll get different perspectives; they may ask valuable questions he may miss. At this stage, it’s important to become more comfortable with who the person is as much as what skills he or she has. While he has a list of questions to ask, if Kooyman reaches the point in the interview where he’s not comfortable with the candidate, he may stop the interview early.
  9. Conative Test. Particularly if he’s hiring for a manager position, Kooyman also has the candidates who come in for the in-person interview take a Kolbe® conative index test. This test, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, produces a four-page report that measures how well the applicant fits the requirements of the job.
  10. Background Checks. How extensive a background check Kooyman requires depends on the position for which he’s hiring. Tests might include a criminal history check or credit check. He often uses the company Verifications Inc. as his source for many of these tests.
  11. Final Interview. There’s always something he forgets to ask, Kooyman says. The final interview can be in person or on the phone. This is also the opportunity for his staff to ask any final questions.
  12. Final Decision. Often, Kooyman knows whom he will hire and be ready to make an offer at the end of the final interview. He creates a written proposal with the details of the job for the new hire to sign.
  13. Start Date. Kooyman may need to negotiate a start date, keeping in mind the employee may have obligations to another job to finish.
  14. Selling Attitude Report. Appropriately, Kooyman’s hiring process ends with the start of a long-term process focused on developing that employee’s skills and attitude. If he wants to keep his employees, he knows he needs to invest in them. New hires take a selling attitude test from The Brooks Group, a sales training company. “I hire attitude and train skills,” Kooyman says. The report generated from the test examines his new employee’s attitude as it relates to an ability to sell. He can then set goals based on that employee’s strengths and weaknesses.

About Whitney Daulton

Whitney and her team contribute to the creative development of NRHA and Hardware Retailing magazine’s brand identities, marketing and advertising campaigns, events, websites and print and interactive publications. Her team works to provide independent retailers with quality information and tools to help them become better and more profitable. Whitney graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism also focusing in Graphic Design. She recently completed an executive education program at Yale University.

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