Hiring Painters conversation

October 16, 2012

Hiring Video: Anna, Andy, and Scott

Anna: My name is Anna Giles.
John: What do you do?
Anna: I’m the assistant to the owner of Shearer Painting.
John: Can you do a couple of interviews?
Anna: Yeah.
John: Introduce Andy and Scott. Introduce Scott as the manager of 12 years. Ask them some questions – go ahead.
Anna: This is Scott McMurray. He was a manager here at Shearer Painting for 12 years. Scott, can I ask you some questions?
Scott: Sure.
Anna: Come on down!
John: And Andy, too.
Anna: And Andy, too.
John: We’re about to do some hiring. I’d like you to interview both Scott & Andy and ask them what they’re looking for in a good finish painter.
Anna: Scott McMurray, what are you looking for in a good finish painter?
Scott: Well, I think that one of the first things that I’m looking for when I’m interviewing a finish painter is, I like to say, “Can you please bring me a grip and your kit in for me?” and I like to look and see how many paintbrushes they have, and if they have two paint brushes, they’re not a finish painter. If they have 18 paintbrushes, we have a good starting point.
Anna: That’s a good answer. Andy?
Andy: Yeah, I’m usually looking at past performance, more along the lines of how many jobs they’ve had in one period of time. So if you’ve got somebody, you know, that’s been pinballing, working the summer season, and that’s it, or three jobs a year for the last 6 years, there’s probably some issues there. If you have people who’ve been sticking there for a year or two when they go, and there’s legitimate reasons for why they left, there’s that. And, overall, how positive are they? You know, how do they handle challenges, how do they handle conflict, how do they handle all of the stuff that we have to handle at that level, which, a lot of it is dealing with negative things.
John: Let’s go to some real-life stories here. So, Scott, let’s go back in time to Jaisen Buccelato. You probably still remember the interview, because I think that Diego chewed us out a little bit at the job site.
Scott: I do.
John: Anna, you need to stand by and almost hug Scott for the microphone. So, tell what Jaisen – obviously, Jaisen was involved in lots of jobs…dependable, good friends of ours…
Scott: Yeah.
John: Everything. Did interior, exterior. What was like when you interviewed him, what was his equipment like, what was your take on him, and talk about those first couple of years working with him.
Scott: You know, I think that we – I remember hiring Jaisen, and what bit on for Jaisen was his energy level. He had great, positive, enthusiastic energy level. I think that immediately, in talking with Jaisen, he’s a modest individual, so when I’d ask him a question, like, “Tell me about a big painting project that you’ve finished, he’d say, “Well, I don’t know that I’ve done a big project, I’ve just done some little projects,” but you can tell right away that he’s a modest individual for what his talent and capacity was.
So, that was a fun interview. I think, back then, I hadn’t been through as many interviews as I have now, so it was really short – he came in, positive energy, we hired him, we brought him out, and I think that for the first few weeks, he just continually surprised us in what he knew how to do and how willing he was to fit into our systems, and sometimes, that can be a big problem that we run into is that you bring somebody in, and they have their system, and they don’t wanna conform to your system. And usually, the approach that we’re looking for is, come in, do it our way, and when you’ve shown us that you can do it our way, then we’ll come back to the table, and you can show us some things that maybe we can do better.
John: Andy, so talk about – so, Jaisen Buccelato is 2004 all the way up to last year. Let’s talk about Brendan McKenzie.
Andy: Oh, Brendan McKenzie, so…John actually interviewed Brendan McKenzie, I was actually out in the field when he came on. This was in ’98? Something like that. Brendan McKenzie is the single hardest-working individual I’ve ever seen on a paint site without a doubt, combined with some of, if not the best painting skills I’ve ever seen. Brendan was straight-up a hard-working man in the best sense of the term. He never complained, tough as nails, would dig into anything that we put in front of him and what I saw out of him, which was pretty cool, and you very, very rarely see is that, most employees, when you hire them, the first two weeks is the best you see, and then there’s some sort of rollercoaster from there, or sometimes it’s even a slight downgrade in performance and enthusiasm. Brendan was rock-steady and on a steady climb from there. He gave us everything he had when he started, and he continued to basically push himself. He was a very self-motivated guy and had a very high standard for what he was willing and able to do combined with being able to adjust for, you know, if you got a job that’s a 7 out of 10, he could nail a 7 out of a 10 and understand that that’s a successful job, too.
John: I’m going to talk about how each of these individuals came to Shearer Painting. Anna responded to an ad in early 2010 just for office help. And in that time, she’s helped all of us with different projects. She’s an actress, who, from the very beginning, has projected what she wanted to do in the long-term. And she’s about to leave Shearer to go to Los Angeles. And, I’ll say this about Anna: she started off answering phones – she now looks at jobs. Way too many last year, in 2011 – probably 400. This year, probably 200. She’s accountable for booking and looking at a quarter of the work that we do. She takes great pictures, she writes articles, she’s got great energy level, and we’re really going to miss you.
Anna: Thank you.
John: Scott McMurray was the kung fu instructor at the school I was in in Tukwila in 1999, and I just asked him for some help, because he has a background in carpentry, and he’s obviously a leader. You know, he’s a leader now. That school, you know, he was an instructor and, thirteen years later, he’s now running a very successful school in Renton – here’s the URL – and you know, Scott was with us, he was here for many, many years is overwhelmingly responsible for a lot of the flavor and the reputation we have for hard-working, hard-working individuals, great quality work, and I really don’t have a lot to say that I haven’t already said to Scott. But he, right now, has a new, wonderful career based on his relationships buying paint. I think he was very hard on – we have very high standards for our work. Scott has very high standards for the quality of work that he does and the workmen he works with. And now, he’s an outside sales representative in the biggest market in this area, the whole Seattle region, and Scott’s here at the shop today helping us solve a problem. We trust him, and he’s a part of our team.
Andy came as a very young man from Montana. I don’t even remember the interview. I think it was on Capitol Hill.
Andy: Yeah, I responded to an ad in The Stranger.
John: But what I thought was really cool was that I used to have to step on step ladders to cut corners on a 7 ft. ceiling, and Andy could just do it, so I said, “You’re cuttin’ in. I’m rolling.”
Andy: My neck was in extreme pain after that week. I was staring at ceilings all week while you were running around with a roller.
John: But what we’re doing – we’re having lots of – well, like with any business, especially with the economy being very tough within the last couple of years, it’s been harder, but we’ve grown, and it’s all because of our people. So, we’re looking to have people join our team in November and December. We’re looking for all skill levels – all levels of what a company needs, from helpers all the way to project managers, so…would you guys like to add anything?
Andy: I think that’s it.


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