HATTIE: When you have a job available, what do you do?
AL: When we have a job available, we'll put an ad in the paper, we'll take it--we'll take applications, probably over a 10-day period of time. And from that, we then accumulate a pool of names and then we, by elimination--we know what we're looking for. If it's a production person, so we're looking for somebody with experience in production. Someone who has been able to have a stable job over--of a good period of time and hasn't jumped from town to--you know, from job to job.
And so those are important. And we interview them and I'll have a supervisor interview the person, then I'll interview the person. So we usually get two interviews in there, and then once we decide to hire them, we have an orientation list. So we'll go down that list and make--it has to go in their file. I mean, before it was haphazard, I mean, you'd be real busy--OK, we need three people. Boom, you run out and you hire the first three people that walk in the door and a week later, you're back doing the same thing because it didn't work out. So we have an orientation list that the supervisor has to go down--everything from where to park, you know, where the bathrooms are, to what's expected of you and what your job duties are on a daily basis and who you answer to. All that has to be real clear in the up front and we find that that has been a great help in maintaining and keeping motivated people.
HATTIE: Have you ever had to fire somebody?
AL: Sure. I always feel like people fire themselves. I don't know that I've ever really fired them. But certainly, you know, we've been through that.
HATTIE: Well, it's hard to let someone go. But what we think we've learned--what I've learned myself and what I know from other people is we tend to keep people too long.
AL: Right. Which is--which in the big scope of things and when you sit where we sit--or where I sit, is that you have to realize that if you keep somebody like that on, you know, you're really planting a seed to the rest of the people that that's OK and that's acceptable and so it's really not fair to the whole company when you let someone like that continue to hang on. So as hard as it is to be confrontational, and to let people go, it's really beneficial to everyone and I always find it interesting that when you do those kind of things, employee morale tends to go up, not down.
HATTIE: In terms of your social work, in your training and psychology do you think that you've leaned on that as...
AL: Absolutely. It's funny. People all the time say to me, `Well, it must be nice, you're in the candy business.' And, yeah, it is a nice business, but I'm like everybody else, I'm in the people business. People make the candy and people sell the candy and it's really--my job isn't so much to make candy, it's to make the people--you know, to give the people who are making the candy what they need to do their job.