Operations

How To Weed Out Potential Chauffeurs And Employees

Lexi Tucker
Posted on November 8, 2019

Steve Qua, owner of Company Car & Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio

Steve Qua, owner of Company Car & Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio

It’s common knowledge many operators are having trouble retaining chauffeurs and other staff. Before you can focus on keeping them, you must select candidates with the potential to do the kind of work that will make your company stand out.

The initial interview is your first chance to weed out the time-wasters from the money makers, so don’t confuse the process by asking questions or having them perform tasks that won’t really tell you much about who they are. Here’s how a few successful operators have built teams that last:

Save Time By Getting To The Point

Steve Qua, owner of Company Car & Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio, says he uses the PAX training and hiring method, which helps him categorize people he wants to speak to a second time. Analyzing the questions you are asking will also help prevent you from wasting time on topics that don’t matter.

“We don’t think the traditional hiring questions are of all that much value. ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ doesn’t really tell us anything about a person,” he explains.

Over the years, chauffeuring has become less technical, he says. He used to want to know how well candidates could read a map, but with the advent of GPS, that has become less important.

“On the other hand, if we are talking to potential dispatchers or reservationists, technical ability is extremely important because you have to work software. If you don’t know how to, then you can’t use it to its full capacity. Many programs will stop you from making a mistake and will do things like alert you to an address that doesn’t make sense or make you specify a hotel location, but it’s important to know the ins and outs of whatever program you’re using.”

When evaluating potential chauffeur candidates, there should be one major standard you’re trying to detect: Are they are a jerk? “Are you pleasant to be with? All the other traits that make a great chauffeur are things you can train people to do.” Another important factor is timeliness. This is easy to determine based on whether they show up to their interview on time. You’ll get another chance to see if it’s a fluke if you call them back for a second interview, Qua says.

He also has chauffeur candidates tell him what they did the last three weekends. “During at least one of those weekends, they had to have done something they really wanted to do. This helps me get a grip on their personality and how they spend their free time.” You want to find out if you want your customers to spend time with this person. If a client wants to have a discussion and they are going to be in the car for an hour and a half, is the potential chauffeur a pleasant conversationalist? “I ask myself ‘Would I have dinner with this person, or would I want to leave before I had dessert?’”

Questions for potential office staff shouldn’t be static but driven by the person you are interviewing. If they spend a fair amount of time looking at their phone, it becomes telling, Qua says. “It prompts me to ask questions like ‘what are some of the things you do on your phone other than making calls and texting?’ If they play a lot of games, they might not have a lot of drive, but they certainly know how to operate technology. Asking questions like that helps determine what role might be the best fit.”

Some of the traditional questions he’s thrown out are:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What is the most important factor to you?
  • Tell me about the most difficult supervisor you’ve had.
  • Tell me about the best boss you’ve had.

He believes these inquiries get in the way and don’t add value to the discovery process.

“I think you learn 10% about someone during the interview process, and 1% a day every day after they are brought on. At the end of 90 days, you have a good idea of who that person is. My goal is to find out all of the 10% during the initial interview.”

Reading Applicants

Tammy Carlisle, VP of sales and marketing of Action Worldwide Chauffeured Services in Atlanta, Ga.

Tammy Carlisle, VP of sales and marketing of Action Worldwide Chauffeured Services in Atlanta, Ga.

Tammy Carlisle, VP of sales and marketing of Action Worldwide Chauffeured Services in Atlanta, Ga., begins her hiring process by determining whether the candidate has the experience and maturity for the type of position they are applying to.

If a person is interviewing to become a chauffeur, Carlisle asks them to give her a ride in their personal car. “We know if they take pride in their own vehicle, it will hopefully reflect onto ours. It’s a surprise to them when they are asked. Because we don’t have great public transportation, we don’t consider candidates who don’t have the ability to get to and from the office. We’ve had possible chauffeurs Uber to the office, and I don’t know how that will work out.” Another telling sign is if they come in dressed for the gym instead of for an office job. “I understand they need to be comfortable, but they must also look professional.”

People who try out for CSR positions are given a spelling test. This ensures they will be able to spell essential words like chauffeur, limousine, and major cities around the company’s service area. Flexibility is another trait Carlisle looks for. “In our organization, there’s only so much room for the traditional nine to five position because we have to staff 24 hours. Everyone can’t have off every weekend, and all of my people rotate,” she says. They have four total shifts they cover on a 24-hour basis.

She uses the LimoLive24 call service three nights a week because she ran a report and determined she only had four calls on Monday through Wednesday night after 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m. “I had to look at the fact I was spending $336 a week for someone to watch videos overnight. Look at where you really need the help because it can save a great deal of money.”

Determining availability before hiring is essential. “If they mention they have children, ask how they manage childcare because this is a position where if you’re needed, you’re needed. I ask how far ahead they feel is appropriate to call to let us know if they will be late or not come in. Emergencies aside, if you have expected runs how soon do you call us if there’s a conflict?”

Giving a probationary period of 90 days will save you a lot of headaches. “If they aren’t going to make it, they normally don’t make it early on. But also make sure you have room to reward them after that 90-day period.”

Walking The Talk

Brandi Maag, general manager of Four Seasons Concierge Transportation in Park City, Utah

Brandi Maag, general manager of Four Seasons Concierge Transportation in Park City, Utah

Brandi Maag, general manager of Four Seasons Concierge Transportation in Park City, Utah, says most of their new hires come from a referral of a current chauffeur or through a known source.

“I will ask everyone to fill out a short questionnaire before I or one of our senior chauffeurs meet with them.” When she receives the questionnaire back, she looks for neatness, a prompt return, and through the email avenue requested. This reveals if they can follow simple instructions.

After they pass that hurdle, she plans to meet them at a hotel or storage lot where the company’s vehicles are stored to see if they can get to the location correctly and on time. She will also do a ride-along and see how they are with technology. This is because their workflow process requires an understanding of multiple pieces of tech including rides dispatched through the Driver Anywhere app, Flight Aware, Limo Logs, and the Zellowork walkie-talkie system.

“I may even have them ride along on the crew or shuttle van to test personality traits that may not come out while they are with me.”

Finally, seeing what attire they deem appropriate for an interview can tell you a lot about what a potential chauffeur may show up for a shift wearing. Four Seasons has a hands-on and mobile interview process because Maag likes to see how people handle the road and various situations.

Some of the non-generic questions she asks applicants to get a feel for if they are a good fit for the position include:

  • If asked to make an unscheduled stop at a grocery store by a customer, how would you handle the situation?

This question will reveal the extra steps a person may be willing to go to provide the client with what they need (within reason), and if they would think about checking in with dispatch for anything out of the norm.

  • Tell me about a time you messed up and how you handled the situation.

How someone handles something like this will tell you how they will handle customer service and their level of professionalism.

Asking about their long-term career goals will give you an understanding of the candidate. Are they interested in staying, or is this job a short placeholder? With some candidates, this can show the level of commitment to the job or lack thereof.

One of the questions they’ve stopped asking is “are you an Uber or Lyft driver?” Most everyone has been or knows someone who drives for a TNC and it isn’t necessarily the best key indicator for becoming a great chauffeur.

Checking an applicant’s social media profiles can shock you and give you insight as to if they post innocuously or if they are instigators of heated conversations that you don't want to represent or reflect on your company.

Related Topics: business growth, business management, employee recruitment, employee retention, hiring, hiring chauffeurs, How To, human resources, recruiting chauffeurs

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 3 days ago

    This is an example of quality pay = repeat customers = company growth Here in los angeles we have the 20.00 flat rate for these party bus drivers.. a real shame when the drivers have a huge resppnsibility Even the large company from h.b. their drivers take.home about 525.00 per week.. It should be about 3200 to 3800 take home.. this is a happy employee and he will be with your company for a long time Its a shame to see one operator with a horrific history of customer service motivate the other companies to play the wage game

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