Kristy & Justin Sifford – Listen Better, Plan Better, Hire Better

Air Date: 7-21-2017|Episode 469

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome two people with a rare combination of credentials in the industry. Kristy and Justin Sifford both have extensive experience in the construction and flooring industry and are also experienced professionals on hiring, promoting and retaining employees along with other business operations issues…


Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome two people with a rare combination of credentials in the industry. Kristy and Justin Sifford both have extensive experience in the construction and flooring industry and are also experienced professionals on hiring, promoting and retaining employees along with other business operations issues. Just about every business has to wrestle with employment issues and very few business owners are also experts in hiring and recruitment of employees. Some will hire a company like Wylander and others will learn as much about the process as possible and do it themselves. Whatever your style you will learn more during this show.

Kristy Sifford founded the company after years of flooring industry experience that included an excellent track record of finding and placing top talent in both flooring and restoration positions. She is a highly successful matchmaker in this business. Kristy started working in her family owned flooring store in college, and grew to develop a flooring company, which was part of a large Disaster Restoration and Carpet Cleaning Company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition to recruiting, she has worked with many clients in the flooring industry on process improvement and handling remote accounting for flooring companies.

Justin Sifford worked in the flooring industry for over 20 years and the restoration industry for over a decade. Having owned flooring companies in the past he has a unique perspective that allows him to appreciate the struggles his clients have owning a business and employing and keeping top talent. He previously worked as the Vice President of Operations for a company that offered consulting and recruiting services to the flooring and restoration industries. He worked with a wide range of companies, from companies as small as $500,000 up to $20 million. He was able to successfully streamline processes for other companies, identify KPI’s, and was the chief architect in the growth of our own company.

Z-Man’s Blog:

“Putting the right person in the right seat”
Justin and Kristy Sifford, the owners of Wylander a focused staff recruiting firm were our guests on this week’s episode of IAQradio. I met Justin and Kristy, at the Violand Management Summit where we were partnered for a team exercise. In talking with them, I felt their story and unique approach would be beneficial to IAQradio listeners.
Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
Prior to becoming staff recruiters, both worked in flooring and restoration.
Staff recruiting is a unique skillset. We either like it or we don’t, we either do it well or we don’t.
Staff recruiting is time consuming. Looking at resumes, searching internet resources such as LinkedIn, skillfully using SEO to improve results on postings, screening applicants, sniff-testing to determine accuracy and truthfulness, etc. and both Justin and Kristy Sifford like doing it.
Owners of restoration companies are super busy because they are growing like crazy or fighting to keep their doors open. They advise business owners should focus on what they like doing and what they do well and consider using an experienced recruiter with a verifiable industry track record.
Employers are competing with; Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco where employees start at $12-$22 per hour, receive benefits, aren’t on call, won’t be overworked due to emergency demand.
68% of their talent was “dug-up” or found by them.
When looking for business development talent on LinkedIn the number of connections is important. They sniff-test what they find posted on LinkedIn and other sites
What type of sales experience? Inside sales and outside sales are significantly different.
They’ve learned that engineers don’t make good project managers. An engineer’s mind thinks differently.
Questions potential employees ask them: how long has the potential employer been in business, is the business stable, why are they hiring (growth and expansion or to replace a lost employee), opportunity for upward mobility, bonuses, and benefits. I’m not seeking just a job, I’m looking for opportunity for advancement.
Questions potential clients ask? You’re in Virginia and I’m in California, how can you recruit staff for me? What compensation do other firms in my business offer? What is your fee structure? How long does it take to fill a position (30-45 days).
The 3 most common jobs they recruit for are: estimating, project manager, & sales. They’ve placed people between the ages of 20-60+.
As technicians often do not have resumes, they suggest we look for general laborers by posting on: Indeed, Career Builder and community colleges, etc.
Recommend searching on Monster and similar career platforms for jobs requiring more education.
Too many companies don’t create a growth plan for workers. They advise them to think back at who started as a water technician and then advanced to management.
Crossovers. A controller from construction will easily adapt to restoration while a controller from retail will not.
Advise having a recruiting strategy. Think through each step of the process, don’t be caught off guard. Use industry specific SEO words such as Xactimate.
Understand the clients’ needs. Listen to the candidate. Never pressure candidate to take a job.
They don’t have a crystal ball, they provide a 60-day guarantee to replace at no cost.
You must setup new employees for success. Avoid common employee on-boarding mistakes such as: no first day training, no business cards, no email address, not notifying the company IT person.
Mitigation project manager is the hardest job to fill, because we don’t learn about restoration in school. Geographic areas with the greatest demand where unemployment is low and there aren’t many skilled folks looking for work. From Chicago moving east, south of Boston, down the east coast, Florida, over to Texas, Arizona (Phoenix), California, (Seattle) Washington. Employers ideal candidates have 5 years of industry experience and proficiency in Xactimate. Project manager earns $50K + commission in DFW, $45K in Kansas City. Much more in micro markets of: NYC, San Francisco.
They learn about client’s business culture by doing: Internet research (website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and the intake call where they learn about what is important and the owner’s priorities. Is it about money, or volunteerism? They work hard to match the caliber of the client with the caliber of the applicant.
We are in a “small big business”. Many of their clients are obtained by referral. When a client makes a referral, they ask their existing clients to “tell them a little” about the referral.
They partner with their clients, considering themselves part of the client’s HR department.
They rely upon DISC personality assessment.
The common fee structure for a staff recruiter in the industry is 15%-30% of first year’s salary, often $10,000 or more. Wylander’s fee is a flat $5,000 and includes personality assessments, advertising, even writing the offer. They reduce the fee $500 when hiring a military veteran.
Justin recommends reading is the “E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. He is a big fan of Brian Tracy, who started out as a busboy. Brian Tracy quotes:
  • “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?
  • I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.
  • It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. 50-1 ratio. The average person spends only 1 hour on self-improvement for every 50 hours spent on recreation.
Questions to qualify a staff recruiter: what do you do, what are you good at, what do you know about my industry, what is your definition of a good project manager, what is your ideal client, what industry terms are you familiar with, who is your biggest competitor?
How to make myself a more desirable applicant: stand out in the crowd, have an authentic conversation about growth, what classes have I taken, what self-improvement books have I read? What is the last self- improvement book I read? Efforts on self-improvement. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
Wylander hasn’t had much success with placing staff right out of college, owners want people with field and life experience.
As specialists in: flooring, construction and restoration they are in a position to share insight and knowledge such as compensation and how others handle business issues.
Final thoughts:
Keep your ear to the ground. Always be recruiting.
Z-Man signing off
Trivia Question:
Who is considered the father of Human Resource management?

George Elton Mayo