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By Harrell Kerkhoff, Maintenance Sales News Editor

Good employees are hard to find. Keeping them on staff for an extended period is also a challenge. No matter the industry, and despite the global pandemic, many companies still have serious problems maintaining and enlarging a solid workforce.

Sharing advice on the subject during a recent webinar was Kelly Anderson, president of the Kelly Anderson Group, Inc. (, which works with companies within the transportation industry to find, recruit, train, manage and retain quality employees. His message translates to every type of business in need of good people to hire and develop.

Anderson provided several tips on how those people in charge of recruiting can make their companies more welcoming to potential hires. That is critical in an overall job market where available jobs often seem to outnumber good candidates.

“It’s important to realize, when somebody is applying for a job, he/she would rather be doing five other things than talking to a recruiter — eat, sleep, be with family, play games and even work,” Anderson said. “When recruiting for new hires, every time you answer the phone, you have to give the caller a reason to go back to doing one of those five things — and stop calling other companies for employment.”

He noted that recruiters often place candidates in three categories:

■ Cream of the crop, people who can be recruited immediately;

■ Pretty good, people who can be recruited after they gain more experience, receive necessary certifications, etc.; and,

■ Not in this lifetime, which is self-explanatory.

Anderson added that many recruiters make the mistake of not properly following up on candidates who fit the second category, allowing many good future hires to fall through the cracks.


When jobs are many and good candidates few, Anderson stressed the importance of urgency and a short recruiting cycle.

“Although it may seem counterintuitive, I have found the longer the recruiting cycle, the lower the quality of candidates getting hired,” he said. “For me, the definition of the recruiting cycle is from the time a candidate says ‘hello’ until a contingent offer has been made.”

It’s important to glean enough information from a candidate during the first inquiry to help gauge whether or not he/she would make a good and immediate hire, Anderson added. For those who are determined to be good candidates, the recruiter should immediately start the hiring process. That includes a discussion on a possible start date. The objective is to give the candidate a reason to stop contacting other companies for employment.

Other tips Anderson shared included:

■ Immediately answer calls and online leads — “I have found that 50 percent of people looking for work will hang up if they receive a voice mail or automated attendant. I recommend that a company’s recruiting line be manned by ‘live people,’” he said. “I have had clients who have created ‘hunt groups,’ which means if a call is sent to one person, and he/she is not available, that call ‘hunts’ until a live person answers. It’s important to remember, with a good candidate, you may only have one shot. A live voice is best.”

With internet leads, Anderson recommends having an online landing page that includes a microapp, where people looking for employment can easily submit their name and contact information. He added that testimonials from current employees are also great to place on a company’s landing page.

Anderson reiterated the importance of getting back to applicants as soon as possible. Nothing is gained by waiting.

“Unfortunately, many online job applications are sent to a computer’s inbox and not responded to in a timely manner. Folks, if you let those applications go for a full day, or even a few hours, your chance of recruiting those people exponentially decreases. After a couple of days, those applications are ‘pretty well cooked,’” Anderson said. “If applications are not properly processed as soon as possible, that is wasted money and opportunity.”

Anderson also recommended that company officials look into online pay-per-click marketing opportunities when seeking quality applicants. This can be directed to specific demographics, geographies and occupations.

■ Empower recruiters with clearly defined hiring criteria and parameters — A company’s recruiter(s) should be empowered to make decisions,” Anderson said. “One problem I often see is when a recruiter is allowed to talk with the applicant, get important information from that person, spend time getting everything verified and then have to pass the candidate off to somebody else to move the hiring process forward. That last step can kill results.

“I’m all about empowering recruiters with clearly defined hiring criteria and parameters. There should still be oversight, but recruiters can play a key role in getting an action plan set in motion — one that leads to good candidates becoming hired.”


Anderson outlined several recruiting techniques that help companies find, and hire, quality people. They are:

■ Have a conversation, not an interrogation — Interrogating applicants does not work, according to Anderson. Unfortunately, that form of recruiting is very pervasive, and Anderson understands why. He explained that applicants are not always truthful when it comes to credentials, education, work history, etc. Recruiters, meanwhile, want to identify each applicant’s qualifications as quickly as possible. The end result is often the development of an interrogation approach, when seeking information from applicants.

However, Anderson said, a recruiter can be more successful by having positive conversations with applicants.

“It’s important to treat each applicant independently, not based on what somebody else has done,” he said. “When I answer the phone during a recruiting process, I ask the candidate, ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where have you been working? What have you been doing?’ Those open-ended questions allow me to gauge how much experience that caller has, or if he/she is wanting to enter the industry.”

During the conversation process, a good recruiter will find what is truly important to the applicant, such as working hours, pay, benefits, etc. That allows the recruiter to highlight what the company has to offer within those areas of interest.

Anderson also emphasized the importance of asking for the applicant’s name at the start of the conversation.

“How in the world can we ask people to trust us with their livelihoods and their ability to provide for their families when we don’t even know their names?” Anderson said. “I coined a phrase to address that need: ‘No name, no relationship; no relationship, no trust; no trust, no hire.’”

■ Identify symptoms before writing prescriptions — Just as a medical doctor would never write a prescription before understanding what is wrong with a patient, Anderson said it’s best to first identify the “symptoms” of a job applicant.

“As a recruiter, you may have all kinds of company perks and benefits to offer, but it’s best to first find out what is truly important to the candidate,” he said.

That can be done through proper interaction, allowing the recruiter to find solutions for a candidate’s specific needs. It also helps if a recruiter can include appreciation, humor and, if necessary, an expert from another company department during the recruiting process.

“For example, with candidates who have served in the military, thank them for their service. Humor can be powerful as well, especially if you can get them to laugh with you,” Anderson said. “Also, if a candidate asks a question you do not know the answer to, do your best to immediately connect with a co-worker who you feel will know the answer. Unfortunately, many recruiters will tell candidates that they will find out those answers and get back to them — and then never do. How are you, as the recruiter, going to get people to agree to target dates, if they still have unanswered questions?”

Anderson has also observed many instances where a recruiter never asked a good candidate if he/she actually wanted the job at hand.

“When I hear ‘buying’ signals from a candidate (meaning he/she is interested in the job), that is the time to ask when the person can start. Instead, many recruiters just keep selling. There is an old saying is sales, ‘The reason most people don’t get the business is that they never ask for it.’ There is a time to quit selling and start closing.”

■ Be the first to show acceptance — “If you are recruiting a candidate and everything looks good, be the first to show acceptance,” Anderson said. “As a recruiter, you may say, ‘Larry, based on what I’m seeing here, I don’t see any reason why we can’t take this to the next step. As a matter of fact, it sounds like you need to make a change pretty quickly, and we have job orientation every week. Would you want to start that orientation next week?’”

■ Create an action plan — Stagnation is no friend to finding good hires. In fact, the opposite is true.

“If an action plan is not put into place when trying to hire a good candidate, everything becomes ambiguous,” Anderson said.

There is also a surprisingly high number of qualified applicants who simply never hear back from companies after their applications have been sent.

“These are people who fill out a microapp or full application and nobody responds. Nobody calls them back,” Anderson said.

To stop that practice, he recommends recruiters use a color-coded spreadsheet to better keep track of which applications have been processed, and who has been contacted.

■ Have managers call newly-hired people prior to employee orientation — Anderson pointed out that new hires often feel anxious about their new jobs. They may ask themselves, “Is this job everything I have been told? Who is my manager? Will I like that person?”

Anderson recommends managers call on new hires prior to employee orientation, allowing for stronger relationships to be built at an earlier stage, while also easing apprehensions.


Once hired, the key question across all industries is: “How do we keep good people from leaving?”

According to Gallup, Inc., “The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.” Low unemployment rates in many fields exacerbate the problem.

Anderson provided tips on how to improve the rate of retention. They are:

■ Get to know employees and define mutual expectations — Every employee has a backstory, one that includes family and important anniversary dates. Managers should converse with new hires, seek relevant information and take notes. Then, when an important event is nearing, such as an employee’s wedding anniversary, the manager can see in advance if that person wants the day off. Such efforts, Anderson said, shows employees that the company they are working for really cares.

Setting the tone for mutual expectations between employee and employer is also essential. It must be understood what the employer expects from the employee and vice versa.

He noted that there are employees who will “walk through fire” for a company, and there are employees who would love to “set the company on fire.”

“The question is, how do you get the former and not the latter?” Anderson asked.

The answer, he added, often involves proper relationship building.

■ Show specific and genuine appreciation — Demonstrating “respect” and “appreciation” goes a long way in keeping good people at a business.

“I recommend that a manager show specific and genuine respect and appreciation to at least one employee per day, for something that person did yesterday,” Anderson said.

He added the employees will likely remember such recognition for a long time, and will more likely “walk through fire” for the company moving forward. Managers should also take ownership, responsibility and accountability for the employees under their watch.

According to Anderson, a high percentage of employee turnover occurs within the first 90 days of employment. Therefore, it’s critical that managers proactively identify issues before they get out of hand.

He outlined key “strategic touch points” company departments can help with in an effort to build solid relationships with new hires.

“For example, have a representative from payroll contact new employees to see if they have any questions about their paychecks,” Anderson said. “It would also be good if the person in charge of recruiting called new employees, asking if everything that was promised about the company has been delivered.

“When representatives of different departments contact new hires, it helps create a solid connection across the company for those people. It also helps identify any issues before they become major problems, resulting in less turnover.”

When possible, Anderson also recommended that companies cross-train employees, allowing them to experience what takes place within different departments.

“Doing so can increase productivity, profitability and employee commitment,” he said.

Brady Acquires Two California Distributors

Brady and Individual FoodService (BradyIFS) have purchased Fishman Supply Co. and Armstrong Paper Group in separate transactions.

The acquisitions of Petaluma, CA-based Fishman Supply and Santa Rosa, CA-based Armstrong Paper expand BradyIFS’ customer base and distribution reach in the northern California marketplace. Financial details of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

“I am pleased to welcome Steve Armstrong; Lee, Andrew, and Michael Fishman; and the outstanding teams at Fishman and Armstrong to BradyIFS. Both companies align extremely well with our strategy to strengthen our presence and reach across Northern California. We are excited and proud to partner with such great companies, leaders and associates,” said Kenneth Sweder, BradyIFS CEO.

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Brady distributes cleaning products to the hospitality, office building, health care, restaurant, recreation, education, retail, industrial, and transportation industries via six operating divisions.

For more information, visit

Ryan Newcomer

Luis Santiago

Spartan Chemical Company Announces
New Appointments To Operations Team

Spartan Chemical Company, a formulator and manufacturer of sustainable cleaning and sanitation solutions for the industrial and institutional market, has appointed Ryan Newcomer to packaging buyer and Luis Santiago to the role of environmental health and safety manager.

“Newcomer brings a broad range of experience, having spent the last five years working at Bonded Chemicals, Inc. (ChemGroup, Inc.) in Columbus, OH, where he was hired as a sales representative, and two years later was promoted to purchasing manager with a focus on chemical buying. Prior to that, he worked in Marysville, OH, for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company where he was a research biologist, working in research and development for five years. Newcomer received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture-horticulture with a minor in agriculture systems/landscape construction from The Ohio State University, in Columbus, OH,” according to a press release.

“Santiago comes to Spartan from the City of Toledo Fire Department in Toledo, OH, where he served the last 34 years. For the last seven years, he was fire chief, where he was tasked with managing a $73 million budget that included over 600 uniformed and civilian members that provided emergency response services along with risk reduction management. In this role, he also served as the primary advisor to the mayor and safety director.”

Spartan formulates and manufactures high quality products from its state-of-the-art facility in Maumee, OH, and sells both domestically and internationally through a select network of distribution. Spartan's products and services are used in building service contractor, education, food service and processing, health care, industrial, lodging/hospitality, and vehicle care markets.

ISSA Show North America Moving Forward In Person With Health And Safety Protocols In Place

Informa Markets’ ISSA Show North America has announced the ISSA Show North America is confirmed to take place in-person November 15–18, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. ISSA said that with a commitment to the health and wellbeing of all attendees, robust protocols have been put into place to ensure a safe and responsible event.

“We are committed to hosting an in-person show, and look forward to bringing the industry together for education, networking, and product discovery,” said Informa Markets U.S. Group Director Lindsay Roberts. “Over the last four months, Informa Markets has hosted numerous successful and safe events, which have also provided additional insight into ways we can enhance the overall experience for everyone at the industry’s most anticipated event.”

The health and safety protocols for the show include:

• COVID-19 tests and vaccinations: Everyone participating in the Show must provide proof of either a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of arriving at the event, or proof of full vaccination obtained no later than 14 days prior to arriving at the event. Find COVID-19 testing sites via Nevada Health Response.

• Face masks: ISSA Show North America will follow the state of Nevada’s mask policies at the time of the event. The state currently requires masks at all indoor events.

• Cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention: ISSA Show North America is being held at one of the first facilities in the world to receive GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a Division of ISSA. The convention center has fulfilled GBAC STAR’s 20 elements for cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention. Additionally, the cleaning contractor for ISSA Show North America, United Services Companies, is a GBAC STAR Accredited Service Provider.

“If any industry can host a safe trade show, it’s ours,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “ISSA Show North America will have the most effective protocols and procedures in place to protect the health and safety of exhibitors, attendees, vendors and others.”

For more information or to register, visit or contact Lindsay Roberts at

Nominations Are Open For ABMA Innovation Award

The American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA) is accepting nominations for its “ABMA William A. Cordes Innovation Excellence Award,” which recognizes outstanding innovation of manufactured products, components or services in the broom, brush, mop and roller industry. The award is named for William A. Cordes, who was the association’s first president, serving in that position from 1917-1928.

“This award serves as a reminder that all new and exciting endeavors have beginnings that connect with real people. The award is to be an annual competition whereby any interested parties may submit nominations to ABMA during any calendar year for consideration. All nominations must be readily available in the marketplace during the year in which they are to be considered,” according to ABMA.

Greg Miller, ABMA president, encourages companies to enter the competition.

“The ABMA Innovation Award competition is a great opportunity for companies to showcase innovative products, components and services to the industry, and to the larger audience served by customers, users and consumers. It gives the greater industry a wonderful opportunity to see just how innovative, creative and vibrant we are as brushmakers,” Miller said.

Nominated products will be exhibited at the 2022 ABMA Annual Convention March 2-5 in the Hyatt Coconut Point Resort, Bonita Springs, FL.

The 2021 award winner was The Wooster Brush Company's Shortcut Hook & Hold Angle Sash Paintbrush.

Entries for the award will be accepted until November 30.

For more information, rules and nomination forms, visit

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