The Best Employee You’ll Never Hire


I went to get my oil changed the other day. My husband had been taking my car in for this lately, so I hadn’t bothered to do it myself in quite a while. I looked for the little tag in the driver’s side corner of the windshield so I could make sure I was going to the correct place. It looked like my husband had switched up oil change facilities since the last time I had to do this. I searched through our kitchen coupon box (actually the front of the refrigerator, underneath a magnet that says “I love dogs”) for a discount flyer, and hit the road.

As I pulled in, I couldn’t help but notice how neatly the landscape had been maintained. And was that a lawn swing I saw outside the place? Wow, this was definitely different than our old place. One of the attendants saw me coming and ran outside to flag me in. As soon as I had my vehicle safely in place, the manager, Dave, came over to my door and welcomed me warmly. He looked up my service record and told me what type of oil I’d be getting and reminded me that they would check my tire pressure and top off all of my fluids. I couldn’t remember ever being treated so nicely at any oil change facility before. I was impressed.

Dave then opened my car door for me and walked me to the waiting room. He also explained that I was more than welcome to wait outside on the swing, but since it was so hot he thought I’d like the air-conditioned lounge instead. He gave me an approximate waiting time and told me he’d be back to get me and to make myself comfortable. I was even more impressed than I had been. This felt like the treatment you get at a spa – not an oil change place.

I spent the next 20 minutes or so on my phone and poking around the lounge. It was clean, had up-to-date magazines (even some that appealed to both genders; not just male oriented) and provided a clear view of the service bay so I could watch my car. Right on time, Dave came back in and took me to the register to pay for my services. As he wrote up a recommendation to keep an eye on my wiper blades, I noticed his arms were tattooed in places. That didn’t bother me, but it did occur to me that many of us in the multifamily industry may not hire him because of them. Or at least we would make him keep his arms covered at all times. I was enjoying talking with him and we were soon joined by one of the techs who actually performs most of the oil changes, He, too, had several tattoos, as well as several visible piercings. The conversation covered everything from donuts to the policeman who sits across the street to catch speeding cars. Clearly, they could have been doing other work but they seemed to enjoy chatting with me.

As I pulled away, I kept thinking about how incredibly customer service oriented they both were and how they would be a great addition to any multifamily team. An article in an issue of Forbes magazine, agrees:

“Your customers – including the important millennial generation of customers — project their own styles through tattoos, piercings, and interesting hairstyles, and for the most part, they’re happy to see your employees doing the same. . . The prospective employees with potential to be great at customer service simply do not all look alike.”.

Maybe it’s time our industry rethought some of our dress codes. We may be missing out on some great team members for our companies.