Now hiring: millennials

by inPAINT
New strategies for attracting new talent

According to Art Snarzyk of InnerView Advisors Inc., it’s a painters’ market.

“The truth is, talent is scarce,” says Snarzyk. “Talented paint pros are a limited commodity and smart employers are holding on to them. If you place your same old ad for a painter these days, you may attract people, but chances are, they’re folks that other companies weren’t looking to retain.”


While the lure of stable employment was often enough to attract talent in the past, Snarzyk notes that millennials are a different breed.

“In just a couple of years, millennials will make up more than 50% of the workforce,” says Snarzyk. “You need to be looking for ways to connect with them that go beyond money. They want to know that you value what they value, that you care about them, and that they’re going to have a good quality of life. They want to feel not just employed, but connected.”


Making that connection may require some adjustments to business as usual.

“It’s essential to change the way you advertise for talent,” says Snarzyk. “Forget hours and skills. You’ve got to talk about what’s great about the industry and your company.”

ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING founder Josh Abramson couldn’t agree more.

“We now hold group interviews, talking to 10–15 candidates at a time,” says Abramson. “We don’t do a lot of prescreening; we just bring them in and tell them our story—who we are, what we stand for, our values, what we’re looking for, and all the things we offer.”

In the 20-minute presentation, Abramson also talks about real career paths in the company.

He adds, “I want them to really understand that our company exists to be the best place they ever worked. And I’ll ask field supervisors to tell them about their own career path in the company so they understand we’re for real.”


At the end of the presentation, Abramson turns the tables and ask the candidates a few key questions.

First, he asks them to share a strength and weakness. Second, he asks them to state if they’ve ever been in a situation where a coworker asked them to cover for them when they were late, and share what they did in that situation.

His final question involves a scenario. He says, “I tell them to pretend you’re the crew leader in charge of time cards on a job. One guy shows up 10 minutes late and says, ‘Don’t tell the boss. I’ll be in trouble.’ Now before you answer, I want you to know that the day before, this same guy worked all day in the hot sun, sanding. He never complained and did the work when others wouldn’t do it. What do you do?”

For Abramson, he’s looking for someone who is sympathetic but still notes the infraction. “In the case of the person who says they’d let it slide, that’s a bit of an integrity flag for me.”


At the end of the session, Abramson makes one last request of candidates. “I ask them all to take out their phones and note my email address. I tell them that before 5 pm that day, I want to have an email stating if you want to come work for us, why, and what you have to offer us. This not only demonstrates interest, it shows me they can follow simple directions.”


Noting that the average job tenure for millennials is 2.8 years, Snarzyk says, “It’s not that they’re job hoppers; it’s that they simply have more opportunities than any of us did. If you want to keep young recruits, plan on providing lots of feedback—and not just when things are bad or at review time. Letting millennials know that you value their contributions and that they’re a valued part of the team will go a long way toward keeping them happy and on your team.”

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