How to Find and Hire the Right Job Candidate

Save time and energy with these hiring best practices

Few decisions are more important for your painting business than hiring the right employee. A good hire can maximize your business’ productivity, boost team morale, and lead to long-term growth. The high-potential newcomer you hire today could become a future leader for your company—or they could become a headache that quits on you a few months later.

It’s hard to know when you hire someone whether they’re the right pick, but experts point to three key best practices that can guide you. Follow these practices for finding and hiring job candidates, and odds are good your next hire will be the right choice.

Go Where the Candidates Are

Fishermen don’t fish where there are no fish to catch. To find a good candidate, you need to post your job listing in a place where good candidates are looking for jobs.

“If you ask a contractor, ‘What’s the number one challenge you’re facing in your business,’ they typically say, ‘I can’t find enough help,’” says Gabby Torres, Marketing Director, Pro Contractor Programs, for Sherwin-Williams. “They have a lot of projects lined up, but it’s hard for them to find the right employees.”

Whether you’re growing your business or seeking a career, get connected on the industry’s first free, paint-focused site, Sherwin-Williams Careers in Painting. In less than 15 minutes, you can set up an account, post your job listing, and get connected to a network of qualified painting professionals. Follow our guide to get started.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Think about what the ideal candidate would be like in your mind, and then write a job listing that would draw in that person. Your listing should clearly explain the job, identify requirements, and set expectations for success at your company. Don’t assume basic information will be obvious to the applicant. When unsure, err on the side of giving more information than necessary.

Consider what potential applicants will be curious about. Does your company offer benefits or insurance? Do applicants need to have any past experience (and if so, how many years)? Are any certifications or degrees needed? What’s your company culture like? Will there be opportunities for growth and promotion?

Being upfront about what you’re looking for will save you time and effort. Prequalifying candidates can yield a more qualified applicant pool and quicken the hiring process. In addition, candidates who feel like they’re a great fit will be more motivated to apply.

Hire for Character

For many veteran painting contractors, character often outweighs experience. Consider hiring candidates who demonstrate a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn, but perhaps don’t have the level of experience you’re looking for.

“I was just not finding these experienced painters,” says Nick Slavik, owner of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. in New Prague, Minnesota. “I would always put the same ad out that everyone else had: ‘Experienced painter, lift 50 pounds, driver’s license, you must be reliable, you must know how to paint.’ And it just never worked. So I made an intentional effort to specifically say, ‘No experience needed. You just have to be a decent human being.’ … I would rather devote my time to imparting the craft into people than teaching them the culture of my business. You can’t teach someone to be a decent human being; you can teach anyone how to paint.”

Noah Kanter, owner of Nth Degree Painting in Burlington, Vermont, says this strategy has been incredibly successful for his business: “I live in a college town, and there is not a shortage of college labor around here. So I hit the schools first and did very well with that approach.”

If you do adopt this philosophy, take advantage of onboarding and spray training resources online. They can help streamline that learning period for your new hires.

Conclusion

Hiring a good candidate is not an exact science, but posting clear listings in the right places and hiring for character can be great ways to set yourself up for success. Put in the time and effort to hire the right candidate the first time, and your business will prosper as a result.