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Firing Up Your Hiring Technology

12 May, 2021

Digital Solutions to Bring the Best on Board

Yeah, Joe’s a thief, but will ya look at those baseboards?” is not an endearing way to handle a customer service issue — it probably means you missed something in the hiring process. Many contractors report that hiring has become increasingly difficult, but judicious use of available technology can make it easier and provide you with more and better prospects. Imagine if you could choose from the best instead of taking the least of five evils!

Kathryn Freeman, business coach at Nolan Consulting Group of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, shared some insight into how technology helps the hiring process in both recruiting and onboarding, which, she reminds us, are two separate but related parts of hiring. Just like using the best coatings and applicators makes your project sparkle that much brighter, using the best in hiring tech can net you the best personnel with sparkling smiles and sparkling skills to match. “This is a tool to use,” says Freeman. “When we miss an opportunity to use a tool, we miss an opportunity to make our business better. That’s just about being a better business owner.” 

For starts, move out of 2005. “I think most painting contractors are still pretty passive about getting prospective employees,” she says. “They might only go to Craigslist or Indeed.” In 2021, it’s relatively easy to catapult your job posting into the great beyond. “To that end,” says Freeman, “there are platforms like ZipRecruiter, where for a fee you can put your ad up and it will choose multiple sites to post it to.” 

ZipRecruiter and sites like it let you put an ad up in one place and then spread it around like gossip — it may go to 100 sites, but you only enter the information once. Imagine the time savings — and the opportunity to choose employees from a larger pool.

Freeman shared a few programs and concepts she recommends looking into. Even if a specific program isn’t for you, something similar might serve your needs.

Recruting

Along with ZipRecruiter, Freeman tells us that Applicant Pro is a great help for hiring all kinds of personnel. The price makes it a better fit for larger companies, but that said, it’s a great timesaver. It posts to thousands of job boards and helps you screen, communicate with and hire top talent.

Tracking

“An applicant-tracking system provides you with a documented history of people who are applying for a position,” Freeman explains. You may have turned someone down a year ago, but now maybe they’re trying to sneak back through. Are they a better fit this time, or have they just tweaked their resume? Did they change some information by turning armed robbery into jaywalking? Perhaps you have a new person doing the hiring who doesn’t know what went down before. Whatever the case, these programs are useful to help you keep track of applicants.

Interviewing

A video interviewing program such as Spark Hire, says Freeman, is affordable even for small companies. With this type of program, your applicant answers your predetermined questions on video so you can watch it at your leisure instead of yet another evening of “The
Golden Girls” reruns. If they’re funnier than Betty White, they’re hired! Just make sure your questions aren’t personal or illegal — marriage, family, religion and other sensitive topics are best avoided.

Background Checking

Well, this is important — search the back issues of APC and you’ll see Nolan Painting tell a story about skipping the background check and hiring someone who was a serial fraudster. He would come on board, “have an accident” and launch a lawsuit. Freeman recommends using a local service because they can get more down and dirty. “There are a lot of national services out there, but if you use a service in your state or county, there are going to be things that they know of on that level that you’d want to take a look at it.”

Also, be reasonable. Your candidate may have done something 10 years ago, but have they been clear ever since? "We'd like to think that people can grow out of some of their youthful indiscretions," says Freeman.

Testing

You might need someone for back office, front office, or perhaps you’re looking for someone with knowledge of computer programs or
customer relations. Do they know what they say they know? A site such as TestGorilla.com can score your candidates on topics such as verbal reasoning, cybersecurity, accounts payable, Excel, Azure and much more. “Our tests replace subjective, incomplete and often inflated CVs [curriculum vitae] with objective, reliable, and fair test results that measure aptitude, practical job skills, culture add, and motivation,” says the TestGorilla website.

Onboarding

Once you get employees in-house, you’ve got to get them on board. Some of these programs and websites help you get someone up to speed on paperwork and “general housekeeping,” reminding both employer and employee what needs to happen next

“If you bought an applicant tracking system that’s tied to any kind of internal system or project management tool, you then can translate that into a human resources information system [HRIS],” says Freeman. “That could be key, because if you need to remember that after 90 days somebody needs to get a benefits package, the tracking system can trigger the notification. We’ve got a couple of clients who use Bamboo HR for that and a couple who use Smartsheet. I also have a client who’s using ADP,” she says. “It’s a payroll service, but it has an HRIS tied into that. Our client has its applicant-tracking system in ADP, and when someone is hired, it moves them to the HRIS — and now they’re also tied to payroll.”

Freeman took a pause. "We're so lucky right now to have so much technology for a busy business owner!"

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