Carol Ann Schneider

The Interview

Carol Ann Schneider

Carol Ann Schneider
Owner and founder
SEEK Careers/Staffing Inc.
1160 Opportunity Drive, Grafton
Employees: 110

Carol Ann Schneider

Carol Ann Schneider founded Grafton-based SEEK Careers/Staffing Inc. 46 years ago and remains the leader of the business. She was recently honored with the
BizTimes Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual BizExpo conference. Schneider participated in a Q&A with BizTimes Media publisher Dan Meyer, and shared her wisdom with an audience of entrepreneurs and innovators at the Bravo! Entrepreneur and I.Q. (Innovation Quotient) Awards luncheon.  Following are portions of that interview.

How important is goal-setting to you and your business?

“I’ve always been a goal-setter. In addition to setting your goals, you need to write them down, because if you don’t you’ll forget them. We set goals on a regular basis at every meeting that we have, every daily huddle. And I get very annoyed when people come to the next meeting and they can’t remember what their goal was. Why did you bother setting it if you can’t remember it?”

What are your company values and how have they evolved over the years?

“I would ask (employees), ‘What are our values?’ And they would give me a blank stare. I’d say, here are our values: passion, integrity and extraordinary customer service. And they would still look at me like, ‘I don’t remember this.’ Until one day I said, ‘They spell PIE.’ Now everybody remembers. Passion.  Gosh, if you don’t have passion for what you are doing, why are you doing it? Integrity, absolutely a must. I would rather err on the side of losing money than compromise my ethics. Extraordinary customer service sort of evolved because customers started saying things like that to us. One day I said, ‘Well, if the customers think we are giving them extraordinary customer service, maybe we should tell them that we are.’ And so we do.”

What does extraordinary customer service mean in your business?

“It means we have a person, a real-live person, answering the phone 24/7. You can always get to us. A lot of the sales reps and team leaders will provide their home phone numbers. So, if you want to get ahold of us, you can get ahold of us any old time. Two o’clock in the morning, you have a problem? Call, and we’ll answer. Another thing we teach (the staff is), when a client calls or a candidate calls, tell them when you are going to call back.”

Do you feel entrepreneurs worry too much? Don’t they have things to worry about?

“I’ve bet the family farm I can’t tell you how many times. I’m a farmer’s daughter, so I can say that. But why are you worrying? What can you do about it? You can’t do anything until you can do something about it. So if you wake up in the middle of the night—believe me I did wake up last night, started to worry, and said, ‘Well, this is crazy. I can’t do anything about this in the middle of the night.’ So I have a pad of paper and a pen next to my bed. So I start writing the things I’m thinking about and throw these papers on the floor. When I wake up in the morning I might have a floor littered with papers. You can’t fix something in the middle of the night. You can only fix it in the morning.”

Do you aim for perfection?

“Always. I think everybody should aim for perfection. I always do. Am I perfect every time, heck no. But if you don’t try, you don’t get there.”

What is your philosophy of having family members work in your business?

“My feeling about family is they are no better or no worse than anybody else in the company. When they walk through the doors, they better have a smile on their face and love in their hearts and they better sing from the company hymnbook.”

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