Back when Fixer was just an idea over beers, we knew we’d have to be serious about customer safety. This was an area where having employees (versus independent gig economy workers) would be a distinct advantage. We’d be able to create standards and training as a team. We could monitor that standard of quality in all of our work.
A few years in, those ideas have come to life.
We recruit and train our prospective Fixer team members with the understanding that people skills are just as important as trade skills. We want respectful, hardworking, thoughtful people who finish the jobs they start. But just as importantly, they need to be reliable, honest, and instill the confidence that they will represent – and even improve – our high standard of customer care. That means being all of these things, as well as paying great attention to safety.
So what does this process look like?
Our mission is the guide
Of course, we run detailed background checks on every prospective Fixer, and do a thorough check of personal references. But it doesn’t stop there. In our initial conversations, we put our candidates through skills testing to be sure they are qualified to do the work, but we also look for responsiveness and punctuality. We talk about our values, mission, and commitment to diversity and equality – as that mission is literally in our business charter as a public benefit corporation.
In the interview itself, the key trait we’re trying to discern is respect. Does a candidate respond equally to male and female interviewers, with eye contact? Do they actively listen? Do they interrupt? Many prospects with great handy skills cannot pass this test.
And the vetting continues even after hiring: our newly-hired Fixers spend their first month both receiving our values/customer service training while also shadowing our senior Fixers in the field – learning from their soon-to-be peers. We listen to their interactions with customers: Are they actively listening to customers and communicating well, or are they irascible and condescending? How is their body language? Do they take cues about a customer’s comfort level, taking efforts to put them at ease? It’s why our values of being honest, always listening, and being respectful are on par with our values of being skilled and finishing our work.
But it’s not easy.
Our standards are high, but necessary
The reality is that there is a severe shortage of tradespeople overall and holding to this standard makes it even harder for us to hire. It is tempting to look the other way on a few possible “yellow flag” traits to get an experienced candidate in the door, to take someone who is a little rough around the edges, but can do great work. But we refuse to do that. So, it is *hard* to get a job here. Extremely hard. Harvard and MIT have higher acceptance rates than our Fixer interview process.
So, that means growing our business a little more slowly than we might otherwise in favor of our long-term investment in delivering what we believe to be a superior experience – everything from our training center, our technology, and most of all our people – in order to deliver that trustworthy, safe experience.
But, in the end? It’s worth it. We respect our customers and their loyalty to us too much and truly believe we are building a competitive advantage along the way.