Despite the setbacks the construction industry has experienced over the years (e.g., the 2008 great recession and the 2020 pandemic), the demand for new construction is rising. As a result, the shortage of skilled labor remains one of the most pressing ongoing challenges.
Currently, the sector employs almost eight million workers in the United States, but they’re hardly enough to meet the demand. Besides, with the baby boomers exiting the workforce, companies need to hone their hiring strategies to gain an edge over competitors and attract good hires.
This is crucial as the millennials, and Gen Z constitutes the highest portion of the workforce. According to reports, most don’t want construction jobs, which is a significant reason for the labor shortage. Since they’re also the most mobile group in the workforce, recruiters and companies need to optimize targeting the right talent and offer attractive benefits to retain them.
Given these challenges, here are tips to help you hire the best construction workers to keep your projects running.
Statistics show that the number of new construction workers hired monthly exceeds the turnover rate by a slight margin. This means that despite hiring new workers, a company loses almost an equal number through resignations.
Thinking long-term when hiring new workers is essential, as it can help reduce turnover. At the same time, getting loyal and stable employees minimizes hiring and training costs significantly.
One way of identifying stable candidates is by examining their work history. If they have had many jobs in the past five years, ensure you seek an explanation, as job-hopping can signify an unstable candidate.
Another sign of a potentially loyal employee is their passion. Are they passionate about working for your company? Do they identify with your values? Asking those questions can give you the answers you need to determine whether they’re a good fit.
Conduct Continuous Recruitment
With the perennial labor shortage in the market, continuous recruitment is an effective way of ensuring projects stay active when key workers leave. Moreover, based on the turnover trends, especially on hard-to-fill posts, you can foresee future turnover and keep a pool of competent applicants you can call in whenever vacancies arise.
Planning can help avoid conducting emergency recruitment, which, in most cases, increases the risk of bad hiring decisions.
Another effective way of hiring great talent is by offering apprenticeships. Your best employees can be someone other than the highly experienced and skilled job seekers you get through AI targeting or headhunting. Instead, you could partner with schools and colleges and offer apprenticeships to the best talent.
Through training, you can nurture talented apprentices into skilled and competent workers who are highly likely to be loyal and establish long-term career paths with the company.
Optimize Your Referral Network
When hiring, you should inform your network and request them to send referrals. For instance, asking your employees to refer people they think might like to fill the vacant positions can land you some excellent applicants. Also, you can start a referral program and offer the employees some form of incentive for successful hires.
Know What You’re Looking for
General construction workers are more flexible and can do various jobs. However, finding the best workers may require digging deeper and finding the specific areas a candidate is skilled at or interested in pursuing a career path. By doing so, you can match candidates with the jobs they’re best suited for, making it easier for them to get engaged in their roles and thrive.
For instance, a candidate with six-month experience in roofing and plans to pursue a long-term career as a roofer may be more suited for the position than another one who has two-year experience in the same field but desires to become a plumber.
Once you determine the positions you need to fill, it’s easier to source the ideal candidates in advance and avoid potential hiring errors.
Write a Clear Job Description
You must write a clear and concise job description to attract and hire the best construction workers. It should be easy to read (simple and scannable) while providing the applicants with a clear understanding of the position.
First, you should give an overview of the position and the company. Ensure you briefly highlight the company values to attract candidates who identify most with what you stand for. Next, you should clearly describe the job responsibilities and the qualifications and skills needed.
Finally, it’s essential to mention the benefits of the position to attract more millennials and Gen Z to apply. Applicants also like transparency, especially regarding potential salaries and benefits.
Examples of benefits you could highlight include;
- Competitive salaries
- Health benefits
- Career development opportunities
- Safe work environment, etc.
Note that young workers prefer jobs that offer them career advancement. Mentioning career advancement opportunities will attract talented workers who will likely stick with the company for the long haul.
Similarly, paying competitive salaries not only attracts highly skilled workers, but you can also have better retention as you don’t have to fear losing them to competitors.
Post Your Ad
Once you create a well-written job description, the next step is to post it. You could post it on general or specialized job boards, depending on the skills the position requires.
Platforms where you can post the job include Talroo Ad Platform (TAP), ZipRecruiter, ConstructionJobs.com, Indeed, Craigslist, etc. In addition, you can widen your reach by posting the job on your company career site and social media pages – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Talroo Ad Platform (TAP) offers a highly targeted job posting solution, allowing you to reach the right talent at the right time. Its features include smart job titles, qualifying questions, shareable links, real-time data, one-click access, etc. For instance, once you publish the ad on the platform, you can get links to share on your pages.
Optimize Your Career Page
An optimized career page can be a great source of quality hires. People visiting your site will likely have a deeper interest in your company. An optimized career page can guide them to the available careers while drawing other potential applicants through organic traffic.
Below are some ways of optimizing your career page.
- Insert relevant keywords that applicants use to search for jobs
- Embed internal links to boost page SEO
- Showcase your culture and values
- Include social proof (testimonials, reviews, ratings, etc.)
Review Applications and Conduct Interviews
Continuous recruitment allows you to reach a vast pool of applicants and shortlist the most suited. Then, whenever there are open positions, all you need to do is pick the most qualified candidates and interview them.
Besides testing their skills, you should also ask hypothetical questions to assess their problem-solving and technical competence. For example, you could have a standard question template to evaluate their safety and emergency preparedness skills.
At the same time, you should assess how likely they’re to stick with the company by finding out why they want the job, why they left the previous employer, etc.
Run Background Checks on the Candidates
Impeccable work history may be impressive, but contacting their references can provide a better understanding of the candidate’s competencies. Mainly, you should be keen on getting their view on the candidate’s understanding of compliance with safety protocols.
Safety is crucial in the construction industry, and every employee should be committed to their safety and that of others. If they have provided their past supervisors as their referees, prioritize calling them as they’re highly likely to give an honest testimonial.
Hire and Onboard
Once you land the right candidate, call them and make an offer. If they’re excited about it and you agree on when they should start working, you can send them a formal offer for signing. Remember, you should include the full job details on the offer – job title, responsibilities, salary and benefits, start date, etc.
As much as the new hires have the skills required to perform the job, you should take them through a detailed onboarding and training process. Training ensures all the construction workers hired are oriented with safety protocols, besides guaranteeing that work will be performed to your standards.
With the constant labor shortage in the construction industry, companies need to hone their hiring strategies to attract ideal talent and avoid halting projects due to unexpected resignations. Moreover, hiring ideal talent can boost retention and cut down recruitment costs.
Start implementing the above tips to source and hire the best construction workers, give yourself an edge over the competition and overcome the perennial shortage of skilled workers.