The office manager at a field service business can make or break the entire operation. If your office manager is falling behind on answering customer requests or they get behind on invoicing, your entire business might be feeling the pain. But a great office manager can make your employees in the field much more efficient and can make your business far more profitable.
Here are five steps to hiring an amazing office manager for your field service business.
Writing a job description
This should be your very first step in the hiring process. If you don’t have a good description of what a new office manager’s tasks will be, you shouldn’t be on the hunt quite yet. You need to nail down their duties and what their day-to-day job will look like, because if you hire someone and surprise them with a whole list of tasks that they are unwilling or unable to do, it will be a waste of both time and money. You’ll also have to start the entire hiring process over again.
If you’ve had an office manager in the past or if you currently have one, but are hoping to hire an additional person, look at what their day-to-day roles are or have been. Are they answering phones most of the day, routing field techs or do they spend most of their time working on billing and invoicing?
How much you can afford to pay an office manager is a big factor in hiring. Don’t be cryptic throughout this process with candidates. If they ask for a certain amount that you won’t be able to afford, be respectful and don’t waste their time, let them know before moving onto the next steps. Be clear what you can afford and you won't have applicants who are asking for much more than you will be able to pay.
Even if you aren’t able to offer the most competitive wages, can you afford to offer perks or benefits? Employees often value paid time off and vacation time just as much as their regular pay.
Start by working with your personal networks. Ask around for referrals from current employees. In our annual Green Industry Benchmark Report, we found that referrals remain the most popular method of finding employees for green industry businesses. One reason that referrals are so popular is that they are cheap, since you don’t have to post on a job website or take time with other avenues. And another reason referrals are popular is that other employees don’t refer people that they don’t feel would be a good fit.
If you’ve exhausted your referral sources, try posting the job description on your social media outlets and also on your website. You might have a current customer that would be a good fit as an employee!
Before bringing potential office managers in for a face to face interview, screen them with a phone call. Not only are you able to weed out potentially poor fits for the position, you’ll also be able to test out their phone skills. Assuming you’re like most field service businesses, you’re office manager is the first point of contact and therefore extremely important for your customer’s experience.
Interview for experience, but also take note of personality. Because if the person lacks experience as an office manager, but is a driven individual that you can tell is coachable, they might be a better fit than someone with years of experience. Ask situational questions that show how they solve problems and make sure they understand the tasks that are required of them.
Train…. And train. And train some more.
In our 2016 Green Industry Benchmark Report, we saw a strong correlation between high growth and companies that trained their employees on a regular basis. While most field service businesses will focus on only training their field techs, what training opportunities do you offer for your office staff?
When you’re onboarding a new office manager, make sure you’re spending the first week or two really focusing on training them in. And after that, you should be training regularly. If you're using a software program to manage your business in the office, set aside some time for regular training. Most providers will offer some form of training, some will offer it for free.
Want to know more about how to build the best team possible? Download your free copy of How to Hire the Best Employees for your Green Industry Business now!