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Drafter, hire for experience or potential?1/31
We have been a 3 man op for about 10 years. We recently moved towards automation to accommodate growing demand. As a result of the increased production I am glued to the office chair for long hours trying to keep up with sales, customer service, drawings, etc. and I'm ready to get some help in the office. For those who have hired for drafting positions and had some luck filling the position I ask the following... I've basically got 3 people in mind. Option #1. Recent grad in graphic design but with no experience in the industry or with our software (CabinetWorks). Has a good knowledge of computers but is willing to start at an entry level salary. Option #2. My own brother who also has no experience in the industry or with the software or with computers for that matter. Reason I think he might be a good fit?? Mostly because hes quite a bit like me and I think that with experience there is the possibility of cloning myself (to some degree) so that he could perform alot of the same tasks that I do allowing me to work more "on" my business rather than "in" my business. Option #3. Someone who has experience in the industry, especially commercial (which is attractive to me), has had some exposure to Cabnetware but still not really experienced with it. What experience he does have will cost about 35% more however. Opinions? Words of wisdom appreciated!
Your post brings an interesting question. Your comment about working "on" your business instead of "in" it strikes a chord with me. It's obvious you've though a bit about your business and what you want it to be. (And tells me you've cared enough about your career/business to study and read).
So, between 1, 2, and 3...You need to clarify your intentions to me a bit more. I was a professional drafter in AutoCAD/Microvellum for 10+ years before moving up to management. My question to you, is what do you want out of this position? If you have the system to exactly what you want, and are confident it works AS IS, than I'd be tempted to hire Option #1, or possibly Option #2.
If this position doesn't suit your talents, and you really need someone to step into this role and make a system that supports the rest of the business, Option #3 may be your best bet (with careful guidance on your part of course).
That being said, Cabinetware doesn't strike me as the kind of program that is incredibly difficult to learn and will take years to master. If most of your designs are relatively simple, any of the above choices may suit your needs.
I strongly recommend creating a system for that person to work in that you can prove out on your own to ensure it best suits the needs of the company.
A word on hiring family. Many people can do it well. Make sure you'll be able to have the necessary boss/subordinate talks if ever needed, and make sure you talk about what could go wrong and how you'll handle it.
Good luck in your decision.
In the beginning, a trainee with no experience is going to add to your workload, not decrease it. Not only is there all the hand-holding to learn the software, you will have to meticulously double-check his work to avoid costly mistakes. If you were a bigger operation, maybe you could absorb this cost and it would be a good investment.
I would lean toward option #1, I hired a middle-aged guy who has years of experience with computer design but no cabinet experience. He has been able to learn very quickly and has even taught me a few new tricks.
I would go with option 4, don't hire another employee. Find an independent person, maybe who works at home in the evenings. Nose around community college, or 4 year college. Pay per job. Like the way it works? Hire a full time person. I would suggest option 2 is a disaster waiting to happen. Missed deadlines and inaccuracies will abound.
By far the best Drafter/Engineer/Detailer whatever title you wish to use, the best people for the job is someone from the shop/production floor. It is much easier to teach someone that already knows the cabinet business how to use a computer, and software, then to try and teach a computer person the cabinet business. I have see more than once, hire someone that graduated from someplace like ITT Tech with a degree in AutoCAD Drafting, try and draw a set of submittal drawings. They tend to just try and copy the Architects drawings, and not draw and submit what you as shop owner are going to build.
I learned drafting skill way back in high school, (using pencil and paper) long before computers. Worked a lot of years on the shop floor, then decided to learn how to use a computer. Didnít take that long, never looked back.
No for sure's here but #2 is last choice because of what happens down the road. I went with #1. A brand new, just out of community college that had the highest grade point of the class. Ultimately the choice was about smarts and ability to learn, not what he knew. He is the youngest in the office and has now been here several years. Bit by bit I've had him moving from pure CAD work to managing jobs, schedule, and a few months ago put him in charge of the entire (16 man) shop. The move was discussed with each person that had been doing any of the management, sales, shop foreman etc. No one raised any objections and has worked well with him. I took him to IWF2014 and he has sown a real knack for learning management skills. He has implemented some new policies and managed to explain them and their logic well enough that there has been no resentment. It may have been pure luck but limiting the choice to the best and brightest has paid off. Yes, I paid more up front. But the returns have been well worth it.