Owning your own construction company and outperforming your competition requires that you recruit and hire talented people. They must have technical skills for their roles and provide quality work, but are also tasked with fulfilling on your company’s mission and values. In the construction industry, your workers are the face of your company.

They are the people who will be interacting with your clients on a daily basis, so it's important to find those with both the technical skills, communication skills, and personalities which contribute to your company’s performance. Here are some suggestions to ensure sure you're hiring the right construction personnel for your company.   

Spend Time Determining Exactly What You Need

First and foremost you must ask yourself, "What do I want the person in this role or position to do on a daily basis? What are the tasks and responsibilities of this role? What are the measures of success?". One of the biggest challenges you'll face when recruiting will be evaluating candidates against an undefined set of qualifications. Take the time to understand what role this person will fill, what you will hold them accountable for performing, and how you will evaluate their performance. Decide what skill sets you will look for in qualifying candidates. For example, if your project managers are also required to pursue and win new projects, then you will want to look for candidates who have experience in estimating and writing proposals. Make a list of those desired skills and be as specific as possible.  If you are a trade contractor primarily hiring installers, make sure you list the desired technical skills you need on your team, and look for workers who have experience in that type of work. This also applies if you are searching for personnel in construction management, such as project managers, superintendents, foreman, and the like. Make this a fun exercise, and potentially include your team in the process to help develop the list of ‘desired qualifications’. The time you invest up front will save you double the time, money and problems if you hire the wrong person.

Related Article: How to Grow My Construction Company


Write The Right Job Posting

AdobeStock_178038879Once you know the tasks and responsibilities of the role or position, you’re ready to write the job posting. The job description is designed to see how many resumes you can collect, it’s the tool that you will use to search for interested and qualified candidates and filter them for the desired experience and talent.

As a metaphor, let's use fishing. A vague or basic job description is like a worm on a hook that will attract all kinds of fish. You want your job descriptions to be specific, like a lure designed to catch a specific type of fish, your ideal candidates. The job description should be specific to your company, highlight the results and impact of the role, and define what success will look like. When advertising a job vacancy, you should be also be clear on what qualified candidates will expect from a prospective employer. Determine what kind of compensation and benefits they'll expect and include those in the posting. Remember, using vague job descriptions will often return an abundance of applicants, create additional challenges when screening and qualifying candidates, and make it more difficult to find the right person for the job.

Make Your Offer Competitive & Pay Top Dollar

Your competitors, be they local or national, are also looking for high levels of talent and are working just as hard to make their job offers attractive and competitive. Do some research into their job postings, compensation levels, and benefits to help you fine-tune your recruiting strategy.

For example, if your competitors are offering higher salaries and better employee benefits, work towards matching their offers or providing similar overall value. Develop a competitive job offer, with consideration given to your budget, so you can attract talented and skilled employees. This should be looked at as an investment; talented employees will be contributing to the company’s performance, and reinforcing your reputation which can lead to more business and project opportunities.



Ask For References & Check Their Work

Ask candidates to supply you with contact information for previous employers, clients and projects. These references will give you an idea of the type and quality of work this employee has performed in the past.  This can also alert you to potential attitude or communication issues previous employers or clients have experienced from the candidate. Additionally, it should give you background on the types of construction work and project timelines this employee has experienced.


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Always Be In Recruiting Mode

To deal with the all-to-common problem of being suddenly short-staffed and needing to hire in a rush when awarded a new project, you should be recruiting for talent all the time. Ensure that you have enough workers to perform the tasks and projects your company promises to fulfill. Continually recruiting for personnel gives you time to consider each applicant carefully. Get yourself out of the desperate position of reacting to sudden staffing shortages by looking for skilled workers in advance, giving you ample time to screen candidates before a new project starts. If there are no positions available when you find a great candidate, look for ways to add them anyway. If you just can't afford to bring them on without more work, let them know of your interest level and put them on a waiting/standby list, potentially having them on call when you actually need them.


Improve Your Interviewing Skills

Interviewing candidates is an important part of finding talented workers – it's where you get to interact with them in person. Keep an open mind and try not to ask biased questions or guide the candidate to the correct answer. Use objective questions that help you understand how the candidate thinks and may react in specific situations on the job. Provide scenarios and ask the candidates how they would handle things in that situation. Stay on topic and don’t waste time by asking questions that aren’t related to the position, unless they are designed to assess personality traits and temperament. Ask about previous work experiences, things that went well, things that didn’t go as planned, how they reacted, what they enjoy about their work, what tasks they like and dislike, etc. The inability to objectively vet a candidate will often result in an untalented or unproductive workforce that ultimately costs the company money.


The Bottom Line

Remember that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Having untalented workers in your workforce will slow the whole team down, limiting productivity and discouraging high performers. Assembling a talented workforce is a challenging task, but it’s an important step towards increase your company’s revenue and margins. To strengthen this skill, you need to improve your recruiting and interviewing skills. Always be on the lookout for talented employees everywhere and recruit continually for your team with attractive job descriptions and competitive compensation.

Related Article: Hiring A Business Development Professional



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Adam Cooper

Ascent's founder and president, Adam Cooper has over three decades of experience in construction business ownership, sales & marketing, project management, construction technology, company operations and leadership.

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