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Is the job candidate manageable?

November 1, 2005 By    

This is the final column in the series of hiring the best in the propane industry. The three original questions I asked in the beginning of the series were:

 Carl Hughes
Carl Hughes

Does the candidate have the ability to do the job? Is the able candidate willing to do the job? Is the able and willing candidate manageable within your organization?

The third and final leg of the hiring criteria is to determine if your candidate is someone who can be managed by you. Any breakdown in the process of an employee not following your directions and instructions prevents you from achieving the most important objective: getting work done through others. A fully capable and willing candidate may have a wonderful resume of experiences, but may not pass this last crucial test.

Consider what manageable means to you. None of us are perfect in any role and certainly not as managers. The point is to hire those qualified individuals who will work within your managerial style.

If you are a hands-off type of manager, you do not want to hire a candidate who requires a lot of direction and guidance. If you need tight control and prefer to closely supervise others, a more creative self-starter type of employee probably would not be a great fit.

Next you want to gain insight to their work history related to being directed by others. As you interview and conduct work history and reference checks, avoid candidates who:

  • have had a history of “bad bosses;”
  • demonstrate a low tolerance for taking direction and instruction;
  • appear to have all the answers before they understand your needs; and
  • appear to be inflexible.

Instead, look for candidates who have:

  • good listening skills;
  • the ability to take criticism;
  • a work history of going along with a sudden management change on decisions; and
  • demonstrated flexibility in past roles.

Customer Service Representative – The repetitive tasks and responsibilities of these inside clerical and administrative roles require constant focus and attention. Diversions abound in these settings.

Does this candidate continue to perform as consistently when you are away as when you are present? Those who don’t stick to their tasks in your absence will divert others from their roles and you’ll see productivity fall.

Driver/Technician – Conflict arises when a capable driver or service employee consistently chooses to do things his or her way. We all know there is more than one way to accomplish a lot of tasks.

Those who process the work your way – even though they may feel more comfortable with another method – are demonstrating an ability to be managed. Those who consistently buck your direction will present an ongoing challenge.

Managers – Good managers are hard to come by. The deterioration of a business unit often happens at the managerial level with disagreements between a company’s leader and its managers.

Your candidate must demonstrate the ability to follow your lead. Doubts about the manageability of a prospective manager are not to be ignored. Because you will expect them to get work done through others, those managers who will not follow your lead will create a wave of negative issues in the organization.

Loyalty and trust also are part of the equation. You must have loyal employees who support your company’s efforts and initiatives.

Some people are loyal and others are not. Disloyal people come in different forms. There are those who stay with companies for a long time, so they are not necessarily the same as “job hoppers.” But they can disrupt work activity with subtle negative influences on co-workers.

Trusting employees are not defensive and not concerned about being taken advantage of. They generally share a trait similar to loyalty that follows an individual from job to job.

The last four columns have addressed how to hire the best people for your propane business. And now we’ve added the elements of trust and loyalty. With these tips on “hiring the best in the propane industry,” I wish you the best of luck!

Carl Hughes is vice president of business development for Inergy LP. He can be reached at or at 816-842-8181.

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