How to Hire Young Hotshots

Cailley Hammel Headshot

In the October 2013 issue of AQUA, I interviewed Jake Boyles about the succession process in the pool and spa industry. Boyles is taking over Crystal River Spas, in Carbondale, Co., from his mother, Joan.

In the interview, we asked him about his own succession plan.

"My strategy, if you can call it that, has been to try and recruit key players who are young and aggressive and will operate the day-to-day side of the business with the same passion and integrity that Joan would want. Crystal River Spas, too," he said.

But how does one find those "key players?" Here, Boyles shares his philosophy: 

You ever find yourself at a restaurant, and you have a waiter who just has the ability? He's got timing, he's smooth, he remembers your order, checks in at the right time, your water glass is never empty and he makes it seem really easy?

Every once in awhile, somebody has the forethought to say, "Hey, you're really good at this job, I think you should come work for us," whatever industry that might be. He could be a gas station attendant, someone working at the bowling alley or the high school quarterback. We all know those instances where we meet those people and think, "That kid is going to be great at whatever he does."

Well, you've got to hire that person. And you have to try to make your business enticing to that type of person.

My current hopeful person was a diesel bus mechanic, and he came to me from Craigslist. Because he worked the graveyard shift, in his opinion, he had all day that he could be making more money. He worked the graveyard shift because it was the highest-paying shift he could have. So he was already being as aggressive in that company as he could have been, but that wasn't enough for him. In his mind, he had 12 hours where he could be making more money instead of sleeping like the rest of us.

So he came to work as my shop manager, and I quickly came to find out he was capable of a lot more than organizing the tools in the warehouse. So he became my right hand for deliveries and really whatever we were doing that day. And it finally came to a point where he was jus too valuable for me to not at least make an offer. I didn't think I could compete on a salary level with the bus company; they're government funded. But it was finally time to try.

So we put together an offer for him, and I never expected him to take it, but I wanted to extend that gesture to him to acknowledge that, "Hey, I think you have a lot of potential, lets see what you think of it." To my surprise, he took it. So he's been full time with us. And he's been great because he can come in here and say, "I work here for the quality of life, for the future." I think he sees himself as potentially succeeding me. And he then spurs that on in a lot of people. He's been here with us full time for three years now, and anything could change, but currently, he's a great asset, not just for the skills he brings to the table but also for his attitude and perspective.

What do you think of Boyles' philosophy? Comment with your thoughts.

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