The challenge of hiring

Visibility, having the right offering for applicants can be key
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine—Many companies, of all sizes in the industry, face the difficulty of finding the most qualified and best fitting candidates to join their team. Security Systems News talked with a few of these companies to hear what the applicant pool looks like, what they look for in new hires and how they bring in the best talent.

“[Hiring] is a huge challenge—a completely different challenge than it was even five years ago,” Mary Bauer, VP of human resources at Doyle Security Systems told SSN. One more recent problem is that job applicants have more avenues to freely post their résumés, according to Bauer, which makes it difficult to determine which applicants are serious about the position.

Doyle Security Systems, a full-service security company headquartered in Rochester, N.Y, hires between 12 and 15 employees per year, Bauer estimated. The company currently has about 115 employees.

“In order to attract the right people, you really have to have the right offering,” Morgan Hertel, Rapid Response Monitoring’s VP of innovation and technology, said. “People today, especially millennials, are looking to be paid for what they do, they care about benefits [though] that’s almost to a lesser extent – but more importantly, they’re looking for a place that they can grow.”

Rapid Response has about 600 employees currently and hires around 100 employees per year between its Syracuse, N.Y., headquarters and Corona, Calif., office.  “For every hundred candidates that come into our system of hiring, we hire three,” Hertel said.

“Bringing next generation people into the fold,” is a challenge across the industry, according to Dave Simon, director of business development for H&S Protection, a commercially focused integrator based in Pewaukee, Wis. The company has about 25 employees currently.

Visibility is an issue with smaller companies in the industry, according to Simon. “It makes the associations—like ESA and SIA and CSAA—that much more important for building visibility for the companies within our industry,” he said. “I think it also makes it important to be in your state or local association.”

H&S has been recruiting online and through professional recruiting service, as well as through social media. “It seems like whenever we really find somebody good, the lead comes from word of mouth—somebody finds out about it and they know somebody who’s looking,” Mike Horgan, owner and president for H&S Protection Systems said. He added that the company offers employees a “significant bonus” if they bring in a new employee.

Doyle Security also utilizes an employee referral program. “We launched it for one month last year and we got three hires as a result. … A year later, all three of the new hires are still with us.” She added that this program is for hard-to-fill positions, such as experienced technicians or sales reps.

There is no perfect spot to find the best applicants, according to Rapid’s Hertel. “It’s really just a matter of trying to blanket every possible place that you could think of to try to find good people.”

Doyle’s Bauer said that the company sometimes finds certain types of employees in particular avenues. “I would say, for our emergency response center, that the job fairs have really paid off for us. From the technicians: the employee referral [program],” she said, adding that it has been difficult to find qualified and interested sales people that fit the company’s culture.

Horgan said that potential applicants might not understand the full scope of the industry now, specifically with intelligent fire alarms and access control. “I think there’s definitely more room to grow in terms of the overall awareness of what we do now, that might lead to more excitement and perhaps attract some of these people that we’re looking for,” he said.

Attracting employees can start long before they apply, Hertel said. “If you’re talking to a person today, they may not become interested in you as an employer for years. But you have to start somewhere; you have to start to build that visibility, that brand, that reputation.”

Rapid Response considers the future of the company when hiring, as opposed to focusing on filling a particular opening. “We do that so as we grow, the people that we’re hiring today are able to handle those jobs, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, five years from now—they have the mentality to do it, they have the intelligence to do it, and they have the training to do it. That’s really important when you’re trying to grow and scale an organization.”