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Old 10-25-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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First, I will probably have to change my user name sometime. My aluminum smelter finally shut it's doors. They just couldn't reach a power agreement with the POCO, and the price of aluminum is in the proverbial toilet. So, I have moved from West Virginia (32 years) to Northern Indiana as an electrical manager for a large steel mill. Anyway...

I am attempting to hire a couple of electricians for the mill. The major prerequisite for hiring is to pass a standardized test (I hate the policy, but it is what it is, and that debate may be visited in a future thread). I have a resume here of a 55 year old man who passed the test. He took a night course and is good with books. So I interviewed him. But...

This guy has been an insurance salesman for almost 40 years (family business). He has never seen an electrical tool, fitting, or wire. He has never stepped foot on an industrial site. He knows zero of the electrical trade. He simply wants to make a "life" change.

This is a red hot steel rolling mill. There are literally hundreds of ways to die here. And there are even more ways to get permanently maimed. Even the little things like not looking up can get you killed by a crane load. Just knowing when and where you can walk or be when a cherry red load is running through the mill stands takes some time to figure out (and some babysitting)

I am concerned, aside from the fact that he knows nothing but theory, that he could get hurt or worse. I really don't have the resources to put a babysitter with him all day. If I did then I wouldn't be hiring. I need someone who at least has a sense of heavy industry in a very hostile environment. But I don't have a giant stack of resumes on my desk either.

Opinions?

BTW, he has hands that are softer than my wife, and a handshake to match!
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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This is exactly what I hate about tests and job interviews in general. The guy that looks great on paper and at the interview is worthless when it comes to the job. Yet someone who has been doing this job successfully for years may not do so great on the test or at the interview.

This guy doesn't sound like too good of a candidate. I'm surprised you don't have more applications from experienced electrician. Is the wage low for the position?
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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Sounds like to much of a liability than it's worth, IMO. Find someone else, you might have to offer a bit higher wage, but it will save you much more in the long run (if he gets hurt, better productivity, more forward thinking/ knowledge, ability to make improvement s where you might not see,. etc etc etc)
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:50 PM   #4
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Are you looking for an experienced electrician or are you looking for someone to train to the position?
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:56 PM   #5
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I would have round filed that application right away. Residential is the place for a guy like that to start, not a mill.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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maybe contact some local electrical contractor an electric motor shops and not so local.see if they know any electricians looking for work. maybe offer a few bucks for good referrals. I workef for Kaiser aluminum years ago
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:20 PM   #7
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What's the compensation package?
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:32 PM   #8
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I'm looking for experienced craftsmen. But there is a point where, if a guy or gal can show/prove a fair amount of aptitude, I will at least entertain the idea.

Be aware that the these huge companies, for some reason, think that test scores show qualifications. Nothing in my (long) experience could be further from the truth. Even I am not a great test taker. And on paper, when a company is against the wall, body count looks good. HR people are not on the front lines.

I have only a few months with this company, and they are giving me a fairly long rein, but again, in their estimation, the test tells all. I don't think I will be forced to hire this guy. But it has been, and will continue to be a point of arguement unless we find some better candidates.

This is, of course, a union environment. Wages in the steel world are pretty much standard throughout the area, though they are a tad lower than an IBEW guy. The BP refinery just up the road has had a huge project going for around three or so years, with lots of overtime, so IBEW members have little reason to jump ship. I cannot speak for the non-union plants in the area, but those guys must be doing OK as well. Folks aren't tearing the fence down to get in here.

My decision was made during the mill tour with this guy. He scared the chitski out of me just walking around. The deer-in-the-headlights look kind of told the story. I am just curious as to what outsiders with no stake in it thought.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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You NOT hiring this fellow could potentially save his life.

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Old 10-25-2013, 03:13 PM   #10
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The not having the electrical skills you can work around. But no industrial experience can be an issue. The soft hands are a teller also he may not do any DIY work that can offer other skills. I have seen many people cross trades not knowing anything about the trade but they had skills to start with. try looking for a mechanic that wants to learn a new trade, there other skills will help. As for standardized test they suck just for what you said about HR.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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He might be awesome, but it sounds like he'll be terrible:

- No experience in the trades
- No experience in steel production
- No experience in electrical work
- No experience in industrial environments

I don't necessarily have a problem with written tests, but what on earth is this test even about that a guy like that could "ace" it? You would need to constantly hold his hand, and if you're already trying to build the department your plate is going to be more than full enough without babysitting. Quite the opposite: All the more reason you need guys who you have very good reason to believe you can rely on.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #12
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You might be better off hiring apprentices off the factory floor and training them. They would already be aware of safety and manufacturing processes
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:41 PM   #13
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Sounds to me like you have already made up your mind but my 2 cents, I would not hire. Seems he could be a production killer.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #14
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Save his and perhaps your own life and don't hire him.

( you might want to contact the local IBEW hall and hire out of there. you can certainly interview/test as a condition of hiring )
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:56 AM   #15
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The way I look at standardized test is just as a way to weed out the complete idiots from a big pile of applicants. The purpose is to help protect the company from discrimination lawsuits, even if just for a few. "it had nothing to do with their race/creed/gender/orientation, etc etc etc, they just failed the screening test."

Sure, it occasionally catches the qualified person who chokes on a test, but ideally (from the employer's standpoint) only when there are numerous qualified applicants to sift through. If you only get a handful and you see one from an experienced person that looks like they maybe choked, you should be able to still interview them and maybe give them a second shot at the test, if it's a requirement for HR.

On the other hand, I don't think JUST passing the test means you MUST hire them anyway. HR likely still leaves it up to you, and by the way, will likely hold you partly responsible if they turn out to be a total loser that puts others at risk!
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:02 PM   #16
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sounds like you need more than one test if there is even an issue here.
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_smelter View Post
I am attempting to hire a couple of electricians for the mill. The major prerequisite for hiring is to pass a standardized test (I hate the policy, but it is what it is, and that debate may be visited in a future thread). I have a resume here of a 55 year old man who passed the test. He took a night course and is good with books. So I interviewed him. But...

This guy has been an insurance salesman for almost 40 years (family business). He has never seen an electrical tool, fitting, or wire. He has never stepped foot on an industrial site. He knows zero of the electrical trade. He simply wants to make a "life" change.

This is a red hot steel rolling mill. There are literally hundreds of ways to die here. And there are even more ways to get permanently maimed. Even the little things like not looking up can get you killed by a crane load. Just knowing when and where you can walk or be when a cherry red load is running through the mill stands takes some time to figure out (and some babysitting)

I am concerned, aside from the fact that he knows nothing but theory, that he could get hurt or worse. I really don't have the resources to put a babysitter with him all day. If I did then I wouldn't be hiring. I need someone who at least has a sense of heavy industry in a very hostile environment. But I don't have a giant stack of resumes on my desk either.

Opinions?

BTW, he has hands that are softer than my wife, and a handshake to match!
The company policy is likely to:
A) Get this man killed
B) Have this man is a position to kill someone else
C) Cost the company a considerable amount of downtime when he cannot troubleshot anything
D) Any combination of the above which will cost the company considerable money



Quote:
Originally Posted by al_smelter View Post
This is, of course, a union environment. Wages in the steel world are pretty much standard throughout the area, though they are a tad lower than an IBEW guy. The BP refinery just up the road has had a huge project going for around three or so years, with lots of overtime, so IBEW members have little reason to jump ship. I cannot speak for the non-union plants in the area, but those guys must be doing OK as well. Folks aren't tearing the fence down to get in here.
Does your plant have a NMA in place with the IBEW ?
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