business of home | Apr 30, 2017 |
Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

Dimensional Background

Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

One of my best hires was Keith Arnold, who I hired 11 years ago and who is now the vice president of our office. What first attracted me to Keith was his dimensional background. He has an architecture degree from Auburn, has worked as a stylist for Neiman Marcus, was the director of visual merchandising at Ainsworth-Noah and he was a designer for Martyn Lawrence Bullard. The best thing about Keith is his positive attitude. If you have that, along with passion, the work ethic will follow.” —Suzanne Kasler, Suzanne Kasler Interiors

Perfect Pairing

Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

“I invited a potential employee to present a mini project to me over drinks. Having a glass of wine made her more relaxed and allowed us to get to know one another in a less formal setting. We ended up talking for a couple of hours and I hired her the next day. My take on hiring is the same advice I give prospective clients: Hire the designer you can imagine having a glass of wine with. Obviously they have to be hard-working and talented, but you spend a lot of time together and you want to hire someone you also just really like!”

Bella Mancini, Bella Mancini Design

Social Disgraces

Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

“My worst hire was a candidate who presented herself beautifully during the interview process but lacked social graces once she was hired. It made me realize that before we hire, we need to take a strong potential candidate out to lunch to screen for manners, social skills and general interpersonal skills before extending an offer.” —Kriste Michelini, Kriste Michelini Interiors

All Talk

Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

“My worst hire was someone who charmed her way in the door with accolades and experience but didn’t measure up in terms of project requirements, endurance, production or creativity. She was a phenomenal saleswoman but, unfortunately, egocentric, focused on money, position, praise and attention from the client. My best hire had a mix of style with the ability to listen. I’m always looking for someone to recap what has been said, because it makes me know I’ve been heard and that our clients have been heard as well.”

Drew McGukin, Drew McGukin Interiors


Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

“My best hire was an intern. This intern said yes to every job asked of him with a positive attitude. He came in early, left late, made sure he was always there for anything that needed to be done by me or my staff. He was a quick learner, hungry to learn and grow. Every time I turned around and needed something, he was there to help. He made himself indispensable. He was always ahead of the curve in his thoughts and actions, and in just a few short years he became my design director.” —Robin Baron, Robin Baron Design

Background Check

Trade Tales: Who was your best (or worst) hire?

“I personally interviewed a woman for a bookkeeping position. She was a little unpolished, but I could tell she was very bright, efficient and capable. I offered her the job on the spot, pending reference checks. After she left, we Googled her name, and lo and behold, she was a convicted felon for identity theft and check writing for a prior decorating office. We could even see her court documents. I certainly got the ‘capable’ part right, but had totally underestimated what she was actually capable of!”

Mara Miller, Carrier and Company

This article originally appeared in Spring 2017 issue of Business of Home. Subscribe or become a BOH Insider for more.

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