Up For Hire — Choosing The Right Employee Part I

EmployeeIn a small workplace setting, such as in the funeral business, one employee can often have a large impact on everyone. Not only can you and the rest of your workforce be affected by the actions of a single person, your clients can directly and indirectly feel those very effects. Therefore, it can be very important to ensure that any impacts that trickle down to your clients are positive ones.

How can you can make good hiring choices? There are some people who incorporate many techniques, such as observing an applicant’s grooming habits and appearance, criminal record checks, or even by gut-feeling. All of these are great to help with basics. But there can be other useful ways to closely screen potential employees, ways you may not have considered. Let us look at a few issues to help you better understand some facets involved in making good choices that you may not have considered.


How your employees interact with clients can make the difference between their experience being meaningful and comforting to their grief, or whether they wished they had gone somewhere else. It can be crucial to your business to have the right representation, to remember that your employees are a reflection of you and how your client’s perceive you. Just because a potential employee has excellent skills behind the scenes, does not mean she or he will do well with the public. In your business, you often have to wear many hats, as you may well know. Can prospective employees do the same?

What are some good personality qualities to look for? To help answer that question, you could begin by placing yourself in your own clients’ shoes. What would you consider to be some helpful traits of funeral personnel?

  • Compassion. Can people in a deep state of grief ever receive enough compassion? If your applicant is only looking for a paycheck, you may want to send them on their way to find it elsewhere. Grief is often at the forefront of your business, requiring that it be tended to with understanding and tack.
  • Sincerity. Even most children know when someone is being dishonest with them. Imagine how it must feel to someone who is experiencing loss to have that pain compounded with lip service. Do you feel a sense of genuine care from your prospective employee?
  • Professionalism. When people feel that their life is suddenly out of control from the death of a loved-one, they may find security in knowing that certain affairs are in good hands. There can often be great comfort in having confidence in someone to tend to matters in a professional manner. Does your applicant present themselves with that confidence?
  • Punctuality. For many people, trust can be defined by punctuality. They may reason that, if someone cannot be trusted to be on time for the little things, such as a coffee date, how can they possibly be trusted with anything of importance? Did your applicant arrive late for the interview? Were they a few minutes early and ready to begin, or did they walk through the door just in time?
  • Responsiveness. During the interview, did you have to constantly prompt the applicant for discussion of their answers, to elaborate with more than a simple yes or no? Were their responses short and clipped? Did they present a poker face throughout the entire interview? Did you feel like you were talking to a cardboard cut-out instead of a living person? If so, don’t you think that your clients will feel the same way too?

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