Spring is coming—and with it, anticipation of the increasingly uphill battle of hiring in construction. Experts advise getting a jump start on preparations. Here are tips to help clarify job descriptions, position your company’s edge, get your network going and more.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Across the country, builders are turning down work—a lot of it—because they do not have the labor needed: “The United States Chamber of Commerce report in 2021 revealed that “45% of contractors turn down projects because of skilled labor shortages” and “62% of contractors struggle to hire skilled workers.” Pros point out that one of the biggest mistakes contractors make is waiting “until they are desperate to hire someone,” which often leads “to rushed and poor hiring decisions” and observe: “When a company is desperate to hire, it may be more likely to overlook red flags or fail to vet candidates properly. This can lead to hiring someone unsuitable for the company or the position, ultimately costing the company time and money.”
Before work ratchets up for the high season, take the time to clearly think about the positions you need to fill. Properly preparing to hire does require an investment of time,, but you are increasing your chances of profitability when you make hires who are the right fit, understand the work and feel that your hiring process was well organized and fair. Now’s the time to ask yourself what exactly are you hiring workers to do? What benefits and perks are you able to offer? What questions will you ask candidates? How can you fairly apply the same process to everyone you interview? Though these employer basics may seem obvious, many contractors skip over things like having written job descriptions, preparing interview questions to use with every candidate, providing a summary of current benefits, and so on. As Pros sum up: “Construction companies must take the time to clearly define what they need out of a new employee before beginning the hiring process. This will help to ensure that only those candidates who are a good fit for the company are considered.”
Clear, detailed and well thought out job descriptions are the beginning of smart hiring. Follow this advice:
Job descriptions explain the job, including the essential functions of the position, required skills and education, as well as the physical and environmental demands. Maintain a clear and detailed description for every job in the company….It is important to keep focus on the position itself during the recruiting and selection process. The goal is to select the right candidate for the job based on the job description. Conduct job analyses and update job descriptions on a regular basis to ensure positions…are up-to-date and aligned with company objectives…. Review the applicants’ resumes and applications for similarities in skills and experience necessary to perform the essential functions of the position. Refer to the job description as necessary.
Written properly, listings for job openings should capture the highlights of the job description and offer enough detail to attract solid candidates. Experts emphasize:
When writing job ads, the construction company hiring workers makes the mistake of being too vague. They either don’t include enough information or have information irrelevant to the position they are hiring for. As a result, potential candidates may not clearly understand what the company is looking for and what the job entails. This can lead to frustration and, ultimately, a bad hire. To avoid this mistake, be sure to include the necessary details in your ad, such as:
- The specific title or position you are hiring for
- A brief description of the role and its responsibilities
- The required qualifications for the role
- The desired skills and attributes
- The location of the job
- The salary range or rate
What’s Your Edge?
Given the labor shortage, builders are increasingly going the extra mile to find—and retain—the best workers. To compete, you may have to go beyond what’s been typical until now. Investing in new recruitment efforts, raising salaries, and offering more professional development are high on the to-do list for builders across the country. Construction Dive reports that some companies are really going the extra mile with efforts to ensure workers can return home, provide child care and offer family visits to jobsites. Flexibility, health insurance, time with family, a steady salary….These are attractive to employees. Look at what you are willing to do to build your workforce and incorporate that into your hiring materials. If you’ve been investing in better utilization of technology, don’t forget to toot that horn too: “Advanced technology solutions help to elongate the careers of construction workers and retain this crucial segment of aging talent.”
Remember the work of hiring is not done when you secure your candidate. Every relationship counts—especially given the tight labor market. What if your number one choice has a better offer? What if you end up needing to hire a second worker after winning a new job next month? It’s best to stay on good terms with everyone: “Make all job offers verbally and in writing, and when a candidate accepts a job offer, move forward with new employee onboarding. As a matter of courtesy and best practice, contact all of the applicants, thank them for the interview, and inform them that another candidate was selected for the position.”
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