I’ll know them when I see them…

Recently, I was working with our Human Resources department here at Franklin Electric to fill an open Field Service Engineer position. As we started the process, one of their first questions was “what’s the profile and background of the person you’re looking for?” A reasonable question… However, my reply was, “I have no idea. I’ll know him or her when I see them.”

That sounds dismissive, but there’s some sense and experience behind that answer. The fact is, when I look at our Technical Service team of nearly 30 individuals, it couldn’t be more diverse. There is no ideal background or resume.

For example, in terms of “formal education”, we run the spectrum from no college, but decades of experience, to a Master’s degree in Chemistry. In terms of experience, the team includes some folks that can see retirement from here. For others, Franklin Electric is their first “real” job.

As to the types of experience and where they came from, this is where things really get interesting. We have a Master Groundwater Contractor (green jacket), two people that came from competitors, one that came from a customer, 3 that came from the engineering department at Franklin Electric, and one that moved from the Franklin Electric Hotline to Field Service. Another transferred from Latin America. Some of the best came to us as the result of corporate acquisitions. Finally, one of our Field Service Engineers spent decades in manufacturing at Franklin Electric supervising 4-Inch motor production.

Having said this, there are some common threads. Everyone on the team is technically strong, they know how to talk to people, they can anticipate problems and propose solutions, and each is the type I’d trust with making an adjustment to my rare Ferrari (if I had one). It’s these things that matter, but they are exactly the things you won’t see on a resume and won’t find in a concise demographic or profile.

Chances are, you’ll have to fill an open slot at some point in your business. When you do, think about the qualities that will make your employee successful in his job. These are the things that really matter, and very often, they’re not listed on a resume. Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper in order to get to know the applicant. And keep an open mind; the type of person you ultimately hire may not be the one you first had in mind.

There’s also an added bonus here: It’s this diversity of skill sets and experience that make Franklin’s Technical Service team so strong. And quite honestly, more interesting to be around.

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