When I worked for the rich and famous I was asked to get more than one quote when a subcontractor was needed.
What an education! No matter the profession, from doctors to ditch diggers the approach may vary greatly. And not just the approach, the price, the time frame, too. I would pick vendors from the local ads or Google and read about them. Then I called the top 3 and made contact usually via phone. Currently my first contact may be via email. Next step is to take notes and present to the boss. Sometimes we did not pick the least expensive.
Cheapest not always best
The one who gets my attention is the one who provides the clearest picture, who is the most informative. He or she has good references, samples of their work. They have a license and liability insurance, if needed. Their contract is clear. They can do the work in a timely manner.
First impressions are important
A former boss gave me a pile of 30+ resumes to cull. She only wanted to see my top pics. Some folks had untidy, handwritten notes, others had beautiful paper with lovely fonts, but not much substance.
If you are reading this and trying to get a job, be clear and concise as well as honest. And 2 pages max on your resume. Add a cover letter that personalizes your ability to suit the job for which you are applying.
One ad I answered wanted someone who could convert currency. I made a point to say in my cover letter I had traveled and had a good understanding of currency rate of exchange. If you can catch their eye with your cover letter, you move up the pile. So the first impression is not always the face to face, it may be the phone call or the paperwork you provide.
Check references and test them
I have seen more than one employer be sorry about the new guy. They took his/her word on their ability and experience, only to learn they either exaggerated or lied. If the boss needs someone with a certain skill, then ask some questions on how they will handle specific things. Give them test questions.
A doctor told me I needed surgery. I asked about a certain risk. He said, “Ummm, that’s a good question.” As Judge Judy would say, “Ummm, is not an answer.” I decided to seek a second opinion and happy I did.
On the reference topic: think outside the resume.
I applied for a job and had a good interview. After being hired I was informed they contacted a reference I had not provided. It was a personal friend of theirs. So glad I left that other place on a happy note. (If that reference happens to read this: Many thanks to you!) To the subs I say: avoid burning bridges.
Make sure there is a probationary time frame
If a person tells you they can get the job done in a specific time frame and it changes, there should be a good reason for the delay. If a realtor cannot sell my property in so many months when the market is good, then we need to talk. Make sure your contract provides a way out if you are not satisfied.
Interviewing is still a learning process
I had to get some guns appraised. I knew little about appraisals and less about guns. So when I called the Gun Appraiser names from the Yellow Pages (it was a long time ago) I asked a lot of questions and I learned. The guy who got the job was the one who educated me the best.
I am still getting an eye-opening education
Right now I am interviewing building contractors for a new build. The first one was substantially higher (over 2/3rds more!) than the one I am now considering. The first guy only provided a hand written list of his sub quotes, which I had to add up myself. His numbers were so high I thought I did the math wrong, and he left out an important item. Our conversation went something like:
ME: “You did not include Well & Septic.”
HIM: “You already knew that one.”
ME: “I see a very high number for painting the interior.”
HIM: “That’s what he gave me.”
ME: “So if I add Well & Septic then I get _______ total is that correct?”
HIM: “Uh huh.”
ME: “Wow!” (It went down hill from there)
Not building a mansion, so that was a shocker even for me, the seasoned interviewer. There was no explanation of the very padded numbers, no offer of compromise, no clear contract proposal, so I moved on.
If you are reading this and had an interesting interview experience I would love to hear from you.