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Mission: Vacation - Towards a Higher Hiring Purpose

1 September, 2020

A focus on your hiring process can bring that vacation time even closer

On any given day, at any given hour, it’s a likely bet that one of the Nolan Consulting Group coaches is having a conversation regarding hiring with a client. Whether we’re discussing recruiting strategies, interview questions, position visions or organizational charts, or talking processes and onboarding checklists, NCG is always talking about building the team. Remember, it’s the team that helps get you, the business owner, out of the “hourglass!” The business shouldn’t depend on everything running through you (that’s where you are stuck IN the hourglass!), but instead through a high-performing team and through systems and roles that help you sustain and grow!

Recruit Like You Market - With a Process!

Marketing for new business is always a main priority for any company — you want to bring in the revenue through creative avenues! At Nolan, we believe that same concept can and should be applied to recruiting for your team. It’s no surprise, then, that the recruiting and hiring discussion became a large focus as part of our Mission Vacation conversation with Eric Craine, owner of All-Ways Painting.

A focus on the team and hiring has become one of Eric’s Big Rocks. In our previous article, we highlighted what the Big Rocks mean — the critical success areas we will choose to take action on and implement. These Big Rocks get served priority timing with action planning, time management and strategy; then the small day-to-day stuff will find a way to fit within.

Eric has been working closely with NCG coach and HR specialist Kathryn Freeman on understanding his recruiting and hiring processes, including the accountability, delegation needs and struggles. Eric was trying to hold both the recruiting and hiring responsibilities tight to the vest; he feared relinquishing control in attempts to protect the current culture of his team. It’s a behavior that we often see — business owners want to take part in deciding who joins the team; after all, a bad hire can rock the boat! (More to come on that shortly.)

However, Eric didn’t ever delegate this function. He was trying to own the responsibilities and trying to make time for it all — time that didn’t exist because he was balancing so many other roles. We’ve been encouraging him to rethink what that role can and should look like. Is it restructuring responsibilities to a current team member — assigning, delegating and holding accountability? Is it hiring a part-time recruiter for perhaps 10 hours a week, to focus strictly on the tasks needed to recruit, interview, hire and onboard?

There are multiple ways to go about it, and Eric is in the process of working through that decision. We’re excited to continue to watch him develop and delegate! Regardless of the route chosen, we’ll be coaching Eric on the need to focus, and create processes and standards to ensure his recruiter is hiring the right people with the right intentions. We know that the wrong people with poor intentions can be disastrous.

The war stories

The responsibility for building the team and hiring should not be taken lightly. You are helping build the culture and growth of the business. Because of this, it’s critical to have a system behind the hiring process not only to ensure all functions are being completed, but also to potentially protect your company from bringing on the wrong people. A bad hire can be devastating. At Nolan Consulting Group, and in my many years of coaching clients, I’ve seen too many stories on hiring gone wrong.

I recall one issue my brother, Kevin Nolan, CEO of Nolan Painting, experienced several years ago. It brought him a workers’ comp nightmare that went on for far, far too long:  A new candidate came through the door; it seemed like the right fit and the Nolan team needed feet on the street! Because the hiring manager was out of town at the time and couldn’t complete the background and reference checks right away, Kevin decided to start the employee without completing those tasks, with the intention of doing it the following week. This now ex-employee “fell off a ladder” on his first day and landed in dramatic fashion, claiming injury.

Unfortunately, Kevin didn’t realize he had hired a “serial fraud,” someone who took advantage of situations, faked injuries and lived off workers’ comp claims from one company to the next. He had a history of this behavior. You can now imagine that background checks, reference calls and safety training are done immediately upon hire. Kevin and his team will not allow that to happen again.

Then there’s a nightmare financial story of another large client I work with: We learned that the CFO had been padding his payroll for months. He was a trusted employee and responsible for millions of dollars in revenue and was the last to oversee payroll runs. It wasn’t until one employee began noticing some strange issues with the payroll deductions and benefits that the business owner was put on alert. A QuickBooks audit trail quickly told the story … the CFO was stealing money from the company “right under its nose,” and no one had  a clue. It rocked the boat at the organization. When you hold someone to a high level of trust that is disrespected, it can feel like a gut punch.

Lessons Learned

Fortunately, out of bad situations come new lessons and notes for future behavior. We have to see these experiences as growth opportunities … “you’ll never make that mistake again!”

We encourage you to have a complete checklist that is followed during the interview and hiring process to ensure every employee goes through the same experience  and that NO steps are skipped. Use the tools and resources available to help guide your decisions, complete the tasks, and ensure there are checks and balances. Of course, things will happen and there will always be problems, but as a business owner and as a manager your job is to solve the problems. Using systems, checklists and direct lines of communication will help you eliminate problems where possible.

Here are some lessons learned and takeaways from the disastrous experiences mentioned above:

  • Ask prospects to complete behavioral profiles to ensure they will be able to complete the tasks listed.
  • Don’t ask hypothetical questions during an interview: instead ask experiential questions to understand how the potential hire actually handled the situation of issue. Example: “Tell me about a time when ... ”
  • ALWAYS complete background checks and reference calls. For highermanagement positions, make sure those reference calls are made to  reputable, professional sources.
  • Utilize the “Window Interview,” a little trick taken from the team at Nolan Painting!

In their world, the in-person interview begins before the interviewee walks through the door. When the potential hire arrives in the parking lot, the hiring team at Nolan will often watch them get out of the car and walk through the parking lot. The same will be done when the interview is complete and the prospective candidate leaves the building. It’s in this situation  when they think no one is watching, where people will show their true colors and natural behaviors from disrespecting property to lack of having energy to their step. The things they have seen happening in the parking lot post interview has saved them from many hiring mistakes!

When you do complete a hire, especially for positions of management and financial responsibility, make sure you continue to utilize the tools that allow you to live in a “trust but verify” mentality. For example, we undoubtedly support the hiring of bookkeepers and financial managers, but putting in some checks to verify will protect your delegation. As an owner, you should five QuickBooks reports that will enable you to ensure there is no misuse of funds. If you fear there is something of concern, utilize the QuickBooks audit trail tool to see what changes have been made.

You must use the tools available to you intelligently in order to see the story. When the business owner becomes so removed from the financials that they give too much is when the problems can arise. Hire smartly, trust, and verify tasks and responsibilities are being handled appropriately.

Now, about that vacation...

When we bring it full circle, we see firsthand how we can use these lessons and best-practice concepts —  such as and guiding pillars as we continue to work with Eric Craine.  On Eric’s journey through one of his chosen Big Rocks — Hiring & Recruiting — we can create accountability and actionable goals on the steps to build the high-performing team his company vision is set on, all with the right mindset, focused intent and critical steps needed to get there.

We encourage you to continue to follow along on Eric’s journey by listening to the Mission Vacation podcast series! In it, we learn from Eric how his experience is evolving and how he’s facing his Big Rocks head on, the challenges he faced in the process, and his contagious enthusiasm about the future.

Graco is giving away an Ultra Max II™ 490 PC Pro Stand Electric Airless Sprayer. You have 19 chances to enter! This article’s code is “Productivity”. Go to visit the to enter. 

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If cost and liability were not an issue, what's your one must-have at the company picnic?

Paintball Feld
Axe Throwing
10-Foot Nacho Trough
Potato Salad

Dang it's hot! Does your work vehicle have an orange water cooler?

It's not orange

Did you work for a painting contractor prior to owning your company?


Why haven't you hired a business coach?

Not worth the money
Too difficult to find a good one
I don't need one
I did hire one!

Has OSHA ever inspected your jobsite?


Who Buys the Paint Brushes?

We do...the company
Our painters buy their own

What's the most paint you've ever spilled?

5 Gallons
An Ungodly Amount

Did you take a week-long (or longer) vacation this summer?

Not yet, but I'm gonna

If you had to rename your company one of the following, which would it be?

Flapjack Painting
Porkchop Painting
Half Slab Painting
Whole Hog Painting

You meet someone new, and they ask what you do. What do you say?

I'm a painter
I'm a contractor
I'm a painting contractor
I own a painting business

On the job site, my painters mostly listen to...

Classic Rock
Hip Hop
Who knows. They got headphones

Which social media platform is most effective for marketing your business?

I don't use one

What do you drive for work?

Pickup Truck

How long ago did you redesign your company hat?


Do you have a spray booth?


If you've bought a used sprayer, was it a good decision?


Will your crews be working the week between Christmas and New Years?


Do you accept credit card payments from customers?


Will you be giving end-of-year bonuses (not gifts) this year?


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