"I've got 10 years of cleaning experience" said the applicant.
"Wow, 10 years - just what I'd hoped for. Now I don't have to spend so much time training!" thought the supervisor.
Have you ever thought this way when hiring cleaning staff? In theory it sounds great -- lots of experience means they know the ropes, right? All you need to do is show them around, show them how to run the vacuum cleaner and let them run off and do their thing.
If you've been in the cleaning industry for any length of time however, you've probably had a slightly different experience with "experienced" cleaners. Here are some drawbacks:
1. We assume that since they've got experience, they actually know what they're doing. But what most employers find is that they either exaggerate their experience or their training has been so poor that they're not doing things correctly or safely. I can't tell you how many people have told us they have experience stripping and waxing floors, but ended up taking so many short cuts that the job had to be re-done, costing us precious profit.
2. If they've worked for the same cleaning company for most of those years, they're probably pretty set in their ways. Some people feel that since they've been cleaning for so long they don't need anyone telling them how to clean - even if their new employer has different procedures that will save time and money.
3. If they've worked at several different cleaning companies for many years, it's a red flag for you that they'll eventually leave your company as well. When people work for many cleaning companies they've either been fired for poor performance or quit because they're not happy wherever they go.
I'm not saying you should NEVER hire experienced workers because you can often times find a gem among the rocks. Just interview them very closely, ask lots of probing questions and check references.
The advantage of hiring inexperienced cleaners is that they are much more open and willing to learn new skills and are generally very trainable. You want to be able to train your employees to do things YOUR way and using YOUR systems.
Do you hire experienced cleaners? Why or why not? Post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.