Article > Opinion

Finding the Best Candidate

By Jon S. Owens

Choosing the Counterperson of the Year is no easy task. The candidates are simply amazing, talented and caring people. They are the best at their profession.

Spread out in front of me is a pile of papers - nominations for this year's Counterman magazine Counterperson of the Year. I'm reviewing the first round of candidates and once again I am amazed by what I read. The candidates, as always, are simply amazing, talented and caring people. They are the best of their profession.

Our search process is both straightforward and thorough. In the late Spring, we put out a call for candidates. Anyone - an employer, manager, co-worker, customer, friend - can submit a candidate. Various qualifications must be met, most strictly ASE certification and at least 10 years of experience. We employ a panel of industry experts to begin the process of elimination (which is what I'm doing now). After we get down to five finalists, we seek additional input from the candidates themselves and ask them to submit various letters from customers, along with quite a bit of other information. The judges then reconvene to review the new materials, and a vote is taken.

There's no hocus pocus to it; we're merely trying to identify a single parts professional who will ably represent the thousands of his or her colleagues throughout the industry. It's a thorough and professional process, with purpose and careful guidelines.

It's truly an amazing process and very fulfilling to those of us involved. It is quite a humbling exercise to read through these submissions each year, so this year I'd like to share some of the characteristics these individuals possess. By doing so, it reminds me how important it is to recognize your own parts professionals. I commend each and every one of you for doing what you do. We are proud to be your magazine!

Here now is a sampling of all that's good about parts distribution:

"(Candidate A) is an excellent closing manager. He is a member of the safety committee, attends outside training and attends trade shows as a representative of the company. He does whatever is needed to get the job done, and is a team player who completes any job that he is asked to do."

"In a recent customer service training session, (Candidate B) received the highest grade possible for a mystery shopper phone call to our store. In addition, (our corporate service training advisor) commented that our store and shop is one of the cleanest and best-kept operations he has ever been in. This can all be linked back to (Candidate B's) desire to provide the best shopping experience for his customers."

"In a world where fewer and fewer people consider the job of a 'counterman' a viable career choice, it has been a blessing that we found the best 'man' for the job, and her name is (Candidate 'C'). Customers (mostly burley and argumentative) who once challenged her ability to stand toe-to-toe with them, will now gladly listen to elevator music an extra minute or two while they wait for her to help them!"

"(Candidate 'D's) three full-time employees have worked for him for 10, 25 and 30 years, respectfully. He has been able to keep his staff for years because he trains them; and when you are trained by the best you acquire respect. The same goes for his customers."

"I consider it an honor to have worked with (Candidate 'E') over the past 20 years and can not begin to count the number of people who are better off today because he is their friend."

It is an honor to be a steward of the highest honor within the parts profession and to be able to serve our loyal readers each month. May the best candidate win!

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