Like most industries, the construction field is feeling the pinch of labor shortages — and it’s going to get worse. The latest statistics show 79% of construction firms want to hire new staff. However, the industry will only grow the workforce by .5% annually for the next decade.
In this tight labor market, hiring managers must understand best practices for construction recruitment. This provides some of the best construction recruiting solutions to help you find better hires.
The challenges of Construction recruitment
It’s a challenge to hire talent in the construction industry. It’s not an industry that typically requires an advanced degree, but there’s a potential health and safety risk if you hire people that don’t know what they’re doing.
When construction firms struggle to find workers, everyone suffers. GlobeSt.com reports that construction costs increased by 6.2% last year. Much of that increase came from higher labor costs associated with finding top talent. The article suggests that the industry must make a shift in construction recruitment by offering more college internships or trade apprenticeships to attract a younger population to the field. It also suggests hands-on mentorships that pair younger workers with seasoned veterans of the trade. Speaking of veterans, construction firms should do more to attract this population to the industry. Finally, increased compensation and benefits are now an industry standard if you want to attract the best workers to your firm.
While these systematic changes are important to the industry on the whole, what are some of the best construction recruitment solutions that hiring teams can apply now to their day-in-day-out candidate sourcing?
Construction recruiting solutions that you can apply now
Construction recruiting best practices in today’s challenging job markets require some critical thinking about techniques that you may simply take for granted. For example, when was the last time you gave thought to the job board ads you place regularly?
Instead of writing the job post like a laundry list of skills you’re seeking, consider your audience and what would attract them to the role. Some of the most important elements of your job ad include:
- The specifics of the duties the candidate will perform.
- Your desired skills and qualifications.
- Why the candidate would want to work there. Will you offer them additional training, mentorship, or the ability to advance in the position? What is the company culture? Do you offer special perks in addition to health insurance or other benefits? Since the work is often physically taxing, is the health insurance particularly robust for your construction teams?
Where you post your ad is just as important as its content. The days of simply posting an ad on the careers page of your website and waiting for candidates are over. Increase the reach of your ad by posting across free and paid job boards as well as on social media.
While this may seem like a laborious process, it doesn’t have to be. Today’s applicant tracking systems (ATS) do more than serve as a repository for candidate resumes. Instead, they use sophisticated digital algorithms to automate ad posting.
Once the job ad is out there, it’s time to do a gut-check on your interview process to ensure that every hire is a good one. Apply these best practices to your construction recruiting process to ensure a good fit:
- Always hold in-person interviews. While the educational background of the candidate may not be important for the job, it’s their character that will make them a good employee.
- Look at soft skills during the interview. Watch for problem solving, common sense decision-making, organizational skills, and collaboration. An in-person interview can weed out those job seekers that may have the right skills on paper but have a poor or disruptive attitude on the job.
- Ask for references and check them. If your company doesn’t do background, reference, and social media checks, it’s a good idea to start. This type of due diligence is sometimes neglected in the stress of the construction recruitment process. But it’s an important step that will impact the quality of the work for your clients. Knowing that people will vouch for your potential new hire’s character or skillset can be a relief.
After the interview process, you can directly impact employee retention by ensuring there’s plenty of work to go around. Make sure you can offer a 40-hour workweek to a new hire. Otherwise, you might lose them to a competitor that offers full-time work.
While these best practices can be implemented quickly, your hiring manager should consider how to attract talent to your organization in new and creative ways. We have some important best practices that will help add new candidates to your construction recruitment candidate funnel.
Tips for finding Construction talent
It’s important to note that construction is one of the best industries out there to lessen the debt that millennials are struggling with. Americans owe more than $1.53 trillion in student loan debt. This financial burden is felt not only by young people, but also by older borrowers seeking additional credentials to ramp up their job skills. Construction companies, and particularly those that offer to teach the trade as part of their employment packages, can capitalize on these trends. Targeting high school students with apprenticeships that can place them in a job paying $20 an hour or more without the debt is a smart way for construction firms to alleviate some of their labor shortages.
Another best practice for attracting candidates is to consider implementing an employee referral bonus program. These initiatives pay cash to existing employees when they make a referral to your company. The best practice caveat, of course, is that the candidate must be hired and work 90 days before the referral bonus is paid. However, these campaigns are good ways to warm up a cold candidate pool and use your employees to find talent.