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By Rick Mullen
Maintenance Sales News Associate Editor

Speaking to an audience of cleaning industry business owners recently, Beth Borrego, business consultant and co-founder of See Dirt Run!™, of Germantown, MD, shared some “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to hiring and evaluating employees.

“One of the biggest challenges we all face as employers, is hiring quality employees,” Borrego said. “And, of course, once a person is hired, you want to keep him or her.”

Before a quality employee can be hired, a company must first find candidates for the position. Borrego offered some tips when it comes to mining for good people. While there are many online sources to help employers find people, she also suggested thinking outside the box in the hunt for employees.

“You can go to colleges to post jobs. You can go to high school job fairs. These are things you can do outside of the normal online postings,” she said. “Sometimes it takes a little more creativity to find people.”

Once ads and postings begin bearing fruit and resumes start coming in, Borrego separates them into three categories — "the no's, the maybe's and the yes's." She then starts making phone calls.

“I’m not going to bring anybody in and meet with them until I have had a talk with them first,” ‘Borrego said.

Borrego listed several laws employers must be familiar with in hiring employees:

Relevant Labor Laws:
■ Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
■ Age Discrimination in Employment Act;
■ Americans with Disabilities Act;
■ Equal Pay Act; and,
■ Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986.

“Employers need to make sure they are following these laws when hiring,” Borrego said. “Depending on the size of the business and the number of employees, some of these laws may not apply in every case. Make note, employers should familiarize themselves with these laws to make sure they don’t get into any trouble.”

The “Go's” And “Stops” When Interviewing Candidates
In the interview process, there are certain areas of discussion that are off-limits, Borrego said. See the topics below:

■ Race;
■ Age;
■ Religion;
■ Color;
■ Place of birth;
■ Disability;
■ Marital Status; and,
■ Children.

“You can’t talk or ask about these topics,” Borrego said. “There should be no questioning concerning these subjects. Now, if through the course of the interview, the candidate happens to bring one of these subjects into the dialogue, and you did not ask about it, don’t say a thing. Let the candidate finish what he or she is saying, and move on. It is not up for discussion.

“There are some things you can and can’t ask. In some cases it is the way you ask the question as to whether are not you are going to get yourself in trouble when interviewing.”

Borrego broke down what can be discussed and what cannot be asked into two categories — “go” and “stop.” The “go” category designates what is acceptable to ask, and in the “stop” column are forbidden topics. Listed below are some “goes” and “stops:”

Go: If they are over the age of 18.
Stop: Their age and date of birth.

“You can ask someone if he or she is over 18, but you can’t ask the age or date of birth of a person,” Borrego said.

Go: What schools a candidate attended and if he or she completed a degree.
Stop: Year of graduation.

“You can ask what schools candidates attended and if they graduated. You can’t ask the year of graduation, because that would be an indication of how old a candidate might be. Stay away from the year,” Borrego said.

Go: If they are able to perform specific functions or tasks related to the job they will perform.
Stop: If candidates have disabilities or physical conditions.

“You can ask if they are able to perform specific functions related to a task within the job they will be performing, but you can’t ask if they have any disabilities or physical conditions,” Borrego said.

Go: If they are legally authorized to work in the United States.
Stop: If they are a citizen, what is their birthplace, or what is their national origin?

“You can ask if theperson is legally authorized to work in the United States, and you should,” Borrego said. “However, you can’t ask if candidates are citizens, what their birthplace is, or national origin, because you don’t have to be a citizen of the United States in order to be here legally working,” Borrego said.

Go: What languages do you read, speak or write fluently?
Stop: What is your native tongue?

“You can ask people what languages they can read, write and speak fluently, but you can’t ask them what their native tongue is, because that would be profiling,” Borrego said.

Go: What is their current address or phone number and do they have any alternate locations where they may be reached.
Stop: How long have they lived in a particular location.

“You can ask for the person's current address and phone number, and if he/she has any alternate ways you can reach them,” Borrego said.

She also explained an employer cannot ask if a person is transient or has a hard time staying in one place, etc.

Go: What days are you available to work?
Stop: What religion do you practice?

“You can ask what days a person is available to work, to determine if his/her schedule will work with your schedule — that is very fair,” Borrego said. “However, you can’t ask what religion a candidate practices. You can ask if he or she is available for work all days of the week and to work overtime.”

Go: Are you able to work with our required schedule?
Stop: Which religious holidays do you observe?

“You can ask candidates if they are able to work the required schedule — that’s fine; however, you can’t address whether or not they would be able to work because of a religious holiday,” Borrego said.

Go: Are you able to start work at (insert start of business time)?
Stop: How far is your commute, or do you live nearby?

“You may certainly ask if the candidate is able to start work on time,” Borrego said. “We can ask, for example, are you able to come to work at 7 a.m?, but we can’t ask where candidates live and how long a commute they have.”

Go: If the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony.
Stop: You may not ask about arrests that did not lead to convictions.

“You can ask a candidate if he or she has ever been convicted of a felony, but you cannot ask about arrests that did not lead to convictions,” Borrego said.

Go: How many days of work did you miss last year?
Stop: How many sick days did you take last year?

“People take off work for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t mean they have a medical condition,” Borrego said. “A person could have had a family member who was ill and needed care. It doesn’t mean the candidate was sick. You can ask how many days a person missed last year, but you can’t inquire about his or her health or well-being.”

Go: In the past, have you been disciplined for violating company policies forbidding the use of alcohol or tobacco products?
Stop: Do you smoke or drink?

“You may ask if candidates have ever been disciplined for violating company policies that, for example, forbid the use of alcohol or tobacco products; however, you can’t actually ask if they smoke or drink,” Borrego said.

Go: Do you use illegal drugs?
Stop: Do you take drugs?

“This distinction is important,” Borrego said. “You can ask candidates if they use illegal drugs. ‘Illegal’ is the important word. You can’t ask if they take drugs, because just asking if they take drugs includes prescription medication. Therefore, the word ‘illegal’ has to be in there if you are going to make that inquiry.”

Go: Are you able to reach a shelf 5 feet tall, and are you able to lift 50 pounds?
Stop: How tall are you and how much do you weigh?

“You can’t ask candidates how tall they are or how much they weigh, because you can’t physically profile someone to get an idea of their body type,” Borrego said.

Beth Borrego

She also suggested asking “open-ended” questions as the best way to get to know a candidate.

“You need to start doing a little digging. Get to know the person sitting across from you. Get a feel for if he or she is going to be a good fit for your company,” Borrego said. “Furthermore, get a feel for if what is on the person’s resume is real. Let’s face it, we all probably have had somebody, at some point, who really didn’t tell us the whole truth.”

Ten common interview topics
and/or questions:

■ Tell me about yourself;
■ Tell about a difficult situation with which you were faced and how you dealt with it;
■ Tell about a time when you were confronted with an unpleasant customer and how you dealt with it;
■ What do you know about the company?;
■ What is your greatest achievement?;
■ Why should we offer you a job?;
■ What are your strengths?; and,
■ What are your weaknesses?

“The important thing here is to ask questions and then be silent,” Borrego said. “Give candidates a chance to answer the question. If they want to skip out on a question, don’t let them. There are some questions you might ask that are open-ended they are not going to want to answer, especially the one about a person’s greatest weaknesses. People hate that question, and I ask it every time. Everyone wants to skip it, but I won’t let them. What I typically do is give them a couple of my own weaknesses, and then I ask again.”

Borrego said it is common when an employer is interviewing a prospect to ask about his or her prior employer, asking such questions as, “What did you like about this job? What didn’t you like about this job.”

“When I see the reason a candidate left his or her former job was due to a personal conflict, I ask, ‘What do you mean? Can you elaborate on this?’ — and I listen very carefully,” Borrego said.

In addition, Borrego suggested, in the case of a job opening that requires a certain amount of experience, the interviewer should “do some fact checking” on the candidate’s claim of prior experience.

“As a business owner, you probably know every facet of every job in your company,” she said. “Therefore, when you have somebody sitting in front of you and he or she has on their resume that they have performed this specific task for the past three jobs, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to ask them about it. I make them tell me everything and I listen very carefully.

“Sometimes a person will give a vague description of the job. In that case, I dig a little deeper. A lot of times, I find out the candidate was kind of along for the ride, but he or she really didn’t do all the work. So, you have to dig and ask questions and probe deeper about the skills a candidate says he or she has.”

For those candidates who were in the running for a particular job opening but were not hired, Borrego said she always follows up to let them know she cares and understands how hard it is to look for a job. There is also an added benefit in keeping lines of communication open in case she might want to tap them for future employment.

“Personally, I want my business to be well thought of. I want to be professional, and I want the people who interview with me to know that I care about the employees I hire, so I follow up,” Borrego said. “I let them know if they are unsuccessful. I thank them for their time. You may have a half dozen people who are pretty darn good. You may hire two. The other four will be really grateful that they heard from you, because you may be the only one to follow through and let them know they were in the running. Furthermore, if those first two don’t work out, you may find yourself going back to the four.”

Before pulling the trigger and hiring a prospect, Borrego said there are some tasks that are important. Indeed, she will not hire a person until these questions have been satisfied.

“Background checks are important. Contacting a prior employer to see if the candidate is eligible for rehire is important. Also, checking references is important,” Borrego said. “However, most important, in my opinion, is drug testing.”

A Guide To Evaluating Employees
After an employee is hired, sooner or later it will be time for an evaluation. In preparing an evaluation form, Borrego said one method is to compartmentalize specific work attributes.

“Each segment would include definitions. The scores would act as a guide to pinpoint areas at different levels of achievement,” she said.

On a scale of 1 to 4, the numbers might be defined as:
■ 4 = Exceeds expectations;
■ 3 = Sometimes exceeds expectations;
■ 2 = Meets expectations; and
■ 1 = Fails to meet expectations.

Borrego outlined the traits of employees using the traditional “A, B, C, and F” grading scale, coinciding with the 1 to 4 number scale.

“The grades relate to the number scale on an evaluation form, as a way to define them,” Borrego said.

They are as follows:

Meets expectations (A):
■ Consistently excellent quality;
■ Excellent ethical business practices;
■ Accurately follows instructions;
■ Very high quality work;
■ Actively seeks improvement, makes suggestions; and,
■ Requires little or no re-do or correction.

“The ‘As’ are your shining stars,” Borrego said. “These are people who you grow and train to possibly become managers themselves. Move them up. These are the ones you really want to retain.”

Sometimes exceeds expectations (B):
■ Produces high quality work;
■ Makes few errors;
■ Minimal re-work required;
■ Strong commitment to quality of work; and,
■ Strong commitment to company principles.

Meets expectations (C):
■ Mostly follows established work methods;
■ Mostly follows guidelines and policy;
■ Mostly works toward quality outcomes;
■ Produces acceptable work; and
■ Has minimal errors, some re-work required.

“We’ve all had ‘average’ workers. There is nothing wrong in having average employees,” Borrego said.

Fails to meet expectations (F):
■ Difficulty embracing and adhering to quality standards;
■ Difficulty performing tasks as directed;
■ Marginal to unacceptable work;
■ Frequent errors requiring repetitive redoing; and,
■ Constant explanation of a job previously explained many times.

“If you have somebody who scores ‘Fs’ across the board, you have a big problem on your hands,” Borrego said.

While anyone can have a bad day from time-to-time, Borrego said, the “Fs” are consistent, day-in and day-out, in their failure to meet expectations.

“Nobody is perfect. As business owners, we tend to want everybody to work as hard as we do,” Borrego said. “We want to hire miniature versions of ourselves. Guess what — that is not reality. It doesn’t work like that. You are going to be very frustrated if you think you can hire someone and create a ‘mini-me.’

“The best thing you can do is to set up productivity standards; have an established, regimented system written down; train people; and make sure everyone is on the same page with methodology how to do the job. In addition, employees need to know what the expectations are, and then we can help them succeed. We must nurture and help people get better, while giving them positive reinforcement. Let your employees know where they are falling short, and how to correct their mistakes. And, at the end of the day, thank them for their hard work.”

Contact: See Dirt Run! Inc.,
13616 Warrior Brook Terrace,
Germantown, MD 20874.
Phone: 301-540-1243.
Email: beth@seedirtrun.com.
Website: www.seedirtrun.com.

Hankscraft Inc. Achieves NSF International Nonfood Compounds Registration

Hankscraft Inc., has received authorization from global public health organization, NSF International, to be listed in the NSF White Book™ through the NSF Nonfood Compounds Registration program, a voluntary registration program to verify the safety of products to be used in food and beverage processing.

This authorization is for Hankscraft’s handwashing and sanitizing products, RedDot Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap (E2) and RedDot Fragrance-Free Foaming Hand Soap (E1).

“To register a product in the NSF White Book™, the product receives a thorough toxicological review to ensure that the product meets the safety requirements for the category code that is appropriate for the products’ end use,” said Andy Ahrens, vice president and general manager of RedDot Brands.

To view Hankscraft’s official NSF listing for these products, visit the official NSF White Book™ listing at: http://info.nsf.org/usda/PSNCListings.asp.

“We are proud that we have achieved NSF approval on both our Fragrance-Free Foaming Hand Soap and our Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap. NSF is the go-to agency that facilities turn to for risk management solutions, and we’re very pleased to be aligned with their organization.”


For more information on the details and requirements of the NSF Nonfood Compounds Registration Program, visit NSF International’s website, www.nsf.org.

Founded in Madison, WI, in 1920, Hankscraft Inc., is privately held with over 300 employees.

"Hankscraft launched RedDot Brands in 2016 after identifying an industry need for enhanced branding and customization for distributors and end-users in the lodging, foodservice, commercial building, healthcare, manufacturing, and education markets. The product line is centered on a core offering of the most commonly used automated and mechanical dispenser products,” said Hankscraft.

Visit www.hankscraft.com and www.reddotbrands.com for more information.

DDI System Adds More Customer Interaction To Its Inform ERP Distribution Software

With the release of Inform Version 17, DDI System says it has completed fully embedded CRM (customer relationship management) tools throughout its Inform ERP Software.

DDI System has added ready-to-use calendaring and dashboards to highlight customer purchase patterns, due-to-buy items, and sales correspondence including task and activity tracking.

DDI said, “Distributors gain the ability to launch a new quote, sales order or task from any customer screen for quicker, better customer service.

“With built-in prospect/customer designations and chronicled notes, counter and phone sales teams will service customers with the knowledge they have come to expect, building the relationships needed to develop loyalty in today's world of online buying.


“Integrated, real-time e-commerce adds comfort and ease to online buying and provides added value with a customer information portal.”

Customers can save shopping lists, pay invoices, review sales history and receive real-time customer-specific pricing upon login.

DDI said its Inform software combines everyday operational benefits in accounting, inventory, sales, purchasing and pricing with the latest sales driving tools such as cloud connectivity, mobile apps, embedded CRM, real-time e-commerce and more.

Visit www.ddisystem.com or call DDI System for a complimentary demonstration at 877-599-4334.

Bullen Adds Steven Devito
To Its Sales Team

The Bullen Companies has added Steven Devito to its sales team. Devito has experience in distribution, logistics and pharmaceutical sales.

He works in new business development, strategic sales planning and sales leadership.

Devito’s coverage area will include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the New York City Metro Area, Maryland, and Delaware. He also provides support to Bullen’s regional customer base while working on future growth.

Bullen brands include: Airx Laboratories, e-clean Products, Clausen Carpet Solutions, Truekleen, Road Off, and One-Up, along with private label manufacturing.

Visit www.bullenonline.com for more information.

Steven Devito

Zephyr Featured By The Associated Industries Of Missouri

Zephyr Manufacturing Co., of Sedalia, MO, recently joined a group of industries highlighted by the Associated Industries of Missouri.

Founded by Harry E. Lindstrom in 1927, Zephyr has evolved from only producing brooms to manufacturing mops, brooms, brushes and a variety of cleaning products to serve hospitals, schools, prisons, service contractors and industry. The majority of Zephyr’s products are manufactured in Missouri by Zephyr’s 35 employees.

“We’re proud of our history and this recognition. AIM is a highly respected organization. Zephyr’s greatest strength lies in its long-standing tradition of selling quality products at a reasonable price with great customer service,” said R.J. Lindstrom, president of Zephyr, and great-grandson of the founder.


“Established in 1919, the Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) is Missouri’s oldest, premier business association. AIM was built on the foundation of promoting a favorable business climate, empowering members through communication and education and serving as an advocate to the legislature, administrative agencies and the public,” according to a press release.

Zephyr is a family owned and operated manufacturer that serves North America with specific products for the institutional, industrial, janitorial and food service markets. Visit www.zephyrmfg.com for more information.

Spartan Chemical Names Courtney Clark And Ryan Leadingham As Corporate Account Managers, National Accounts

Spartan Chemical Company, Inc., has named Courtney Clark and Ryan Leadingham as corporate account managers in the company’s national account team, which is led by David Reed, vice president, national accounts.

“Increasingly, we are seeing more and more national account opportunities,” said John Swigart, president, Spartan Chemical. “In response to this market dynamic, we are expanding Spartan’s team, enabling incremental growth across our distribution network.”

Clark joins Spartan from Provista, a Vizient Company (previously Novation and Med Assets) where she started in 2011 in the contracting division. She then moved to outside sales as corporate account executive, where her responsibilities included new member recruitment and overall business development within various market segments. Clark is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Leadingham is now corporate account manager, West Coast. Leadingham holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from California State University. He has over 11 years of experience in the janitorial/sanitation industry, and most recently was manager for Spartan’s building service contractors program.

Spartan’s chemical products and services are used in building service contractor, education, healthcare, food service and processing, lodging/hospitality and industrial markets.

Visit www.spartanchemical.com for more information.

Courtney Clark

Ryan Leadingham

NPS Corporation Celebrates
20-Year Anniversary

Green Bay, WI-based NPS Corporation, a manufacturer of towel, tissue and spill control products, is celebrating its 20th year in business anniversary.

NPS was founded in October 1996, with the purchase of a small, niche-packaging business from Kimberly-Clark. Over the past 20 years, NPS has grown from 5 employees to over 400. The company’s spill control products are sold in 46 countries. NPS is also a manufacturer in the away-from-home USA towel and tissue industry.

“I’m very proud of what NPS has become in the 20 years we’ve been in business,” said Andrew Hetzel Jr., president and CEO of NPS Corporation. “It has been quite a ride to say the least. Having said that, thanks to our many outstanding employees, I believe our best days are still ahead of us.”

Hetzel added, “We simply would not be in the position to celebrate this anniversary without the partnerships we have with our employees, customers and suppliers.”


Among other attributes, Hetzel said the company’s success is due to a company-wide commitment to taking care of customers and treating employees fairly.

NPS Corporation is a privately held corporation. NPS brands include Merfin, Response, Retain, React, Spilfyter and Sustayn by Spilfyter.

Visit www.npscorp.com for more information.

Brady Names Bryon Church New Arizona Sales Manager

Brady, a Las Vegas full-line janitorial supply, equipment and foodservice distributor has hired Bryon Church as sales manager for Arizona, reporting to Ryan Banks, vice president of sales.

Church is responsible for overseeing sales growth and business development for all Arizona accounts, while managing the sales representatives in the Phoenix and Tucson branches. He will also drive business in key market segments and corporate initiatives.

Church takes over from Sales Manager Marv Manley, who now focuses on new business development and special projects for Brady.

Visit www.BradyIndustries.com.

Bryon Church

Rankin Publishing Co., Inc. | 204 E. Main St., P.O. Box 130 | Arcola, Illinois 61910-0130, USA
(800) 598-8083 (217) 268-4959 Fax: (217) 268-4815 | email: drankin@consolidated.net


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