References and Background Checks on Your Staff
Selecting a trustworthy, dedicated staff is the cornerstone of a successful event-planning company. When looking to fill positions, you can accept applications (type “standard employment application” into a Web search engine to get forms you can download) or resumes for employment. However a prospective hire applies, always spend time interviewing applicants and call employment references. Occasionally you may also run background checks before completing the interview process.
Before scheduling an interview with a potential employee, have a list of interview questions prepared. Look for punctuality from the interviewee. Also be prepared to talk about the position, salary, and the company. During an employee interview, do not limit the conversation to previous work experience. Ask the interviewee about his hometown, his family, and even about his interest in the event-planning industry. Candidates who come from large families and who played organized sports tend to be team players in a work environment.
Always check references. Before you decide on a candidate as a likely employee, check the references she provided on her application. You will need the permission of the applicant before you make your inquiries. Ask the candidate about any gaps in her employment history as well.
When checking an applicant's references, ask her previous employer questions specific to her job performance. Following is a list of appropriate reference questions:
Was the employee reliable?
Was the employee punctual?
Did the employee work well with others?
Did the employee complete tasks at hand?
Did the employee take direction well?
Would you hire this employee again?
Avoid engaging the employer in details surrounding the employee's personal life. Exchanging certain information can be considered defamation of character.
In this industry, your staff may be filled with full- and part-time employees. On-call employees are also prevalent in this business. For this reason background checks on employees are infrequent. Background checks can be costly for an industry with high turnover, though many high-end event companies will spend the money to check the backgrounds of potential employees. Background checks protect these event-planning companies against hiring felons.
Driving is essential to most members of the event-planning industry. Hiring a staff member who can drive can be necessary to operate an efficient business. Check the driving records of any potential hires. In lieu of paying for a background check, you can request the potential employee supply a copy of his driving record from the motor vehicle department. You are looking to hire an employee without any DUIs (driving under the influence) or moving violations.
As an event planner, you hope for the best but you are also realistic. Accidents will happen, storms will hit, and trusted vendors will have bad days. It's important to focus on finding solutions to any problem. The mark of a great event planner is how she deals with problems in the face of adversity.