G3: Industry insiders talk glass
Dave Dulin, partner, ICON Exterior Building Solutions, http://iconebs.com
"We find one of the greatest challenges is locating experienced field superintendents and project managers. Comprehensive and current product knowledge of curtain wall systems and glass products is essential to success in both cases. Aligning our needs with the skill level of the individual is usually highly dependent on where they gained their tenure, and identifying what degree of detail was required to deliver the product to completion. Locating experienced individuals without the fees associated with a head hunter can be a real challenge. We all understand and appreciate that the state of the construction market weighs heavily on availability of senior level managers."
Lance Carney, president, Creative Glass Products, www.creativeglassproducts.com
"The positions that we have the most trouble filling are lead installers and office personnel. Lead installers not only have to be well rounded and highly skilled, but also have to have excellent communication and people skills. Creative Glass Products prides itself in doing top notch work. We specialize in interior glass systems such as frameless shower enclosures, glass railing and floors, mirrors and tabletops, and my installation crews work closely with the homeowner or designer on these projects. I have found through many trials and tribulations that our best installers first have to be good team players. Hiring a person with lead experience from multiple competitors does not usually work out for us. ... I have found that it is hard to re-teach skills the proper way to someone who believes they already have the skills necessary to fill this position.
My most successful [lead-installer] hires have [been people with] basic skills and a desire to learn, coupled with excellent people skills.
In regards to office personnel, our people are expected to not only do office tasks, but to also wait on customers that come into our showroom. An office person may not want to participate in sales. However, they have to be willing to learn the products we sell. "
Antonio Aftimos, director of sales, Cristacurva, www.cristacurva.com
"With the difficulties in the world economy today, one would assume there would be more opportunities to find qualified personnel to meet our needs, but even so, it is difficult to find them.
One of the more problematic areas to find appropriate personnel would be customer service. Although this area should be essential to any business, it is not easy to find the right people who have the ability to respond in the right way. This is largely because people see this work as nothing more than answering the phone. They don't see it in its true light: helping and serving the customer, giving them the attention they deserve, [and providing] the necessary information to make them satisfied, all while working to generate an ongoing business relationship.
If you take good care of your customer, you can be sure that they will trust you and always return to you for advice and help. Answering the phone should not be just to pass on information. Rather, it should entail [meeting] the needs of the customer and creating a link for the benefit of both parties."