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Hiring in the Age of COVID

13 July, 2020

While some hiring practices have changed, some have stayed remarkably the same, and with good reason.

Wyoming’s small and spread out population has kept COVID from being as much of a threat as in some other areas of the country, but that doesn’t mean contractors there aren’t taking precautions. Rob Yarbro, owner of Wyoming View Painting in Laramie, uses the remote hiring process to test out his prospects’ tech savvy.

“We switched to using services like Zoom to conduct interviews online but still have the face to face connection,” he said. “Since we’re trying to incorporate technology to be more efficient, a lot of the positions we have, even in the field, require a basic knowledge of working with computers. Therefore, being able to see if an applicant can problem-solve and navigate through many of the issues that arise with interviewing via technology helps us gauge this level of skill required within our company.”

He’s also finding quality people to pick from. “Our applicants seem to have that desire to learn, be a part of a team, and understand that this will all pass.”

Staying Patient

Jeremy Bramlett, owner of Premier Painting and Services in Muncie, Indiana, is in a personnel dilemma – after some time being closed down, his phone is ringing off the hook, but like a lot of business owners, he’s seeing potential crew members waiting out the increased unemployment and he expects them to be available once that runs out. But who can blame them for taking advantage of the opportunity, he realistically asks? Along with that, people are still afraid to get out into the work force and work in other people’s houses for their own sake or their family’s sake, especially now as corona is stronger on the prowl.

He’s expecting his crew to return soon, so he’s not looking to hire others in their place, even though it’s giving him extra hours both painting and planning. He wants to stay with people he trusts. Sticking with the familiar is putting him at ease even if he’s in a tough spot now. It might be good in another way, too. “You come back fresh with some time off,” he says.

Babysitting Not Included

Rob Grant, owner of Rob’s Painting and More in Moncton, New Brunswick, is specifically not changing his hiring practice even though business is booming. He’s had to turn some work down and require deposits to hold jobs scheduled into December.

Even if you’ve got more work than you can seemingly handle, he advises not to rush into hiring new crew as it can lead to problems down the line if people aren’t vetted properly. Better no job than a bad job; it’s your name that goes on the work. “I don't like to hire because then you kind of have to babysit,” he said. “If we’re doing any hiring, I’m doing it in slow season. That way I can gage, I can watch, I can observe what's going on with the new hire, and if I get a good feel for him after three or four days, then he’s got his wings.”

Takeaway tips:

  • You can use remote hiring to test out tech savvy.
  • Don’t hire in haste – hire with the same care and diligence even if business increases.


Sponsored by Benjamin Moore

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