Hiring really is an art form.
On the one hand, you need someone to fill a role in your construction company so you can finish your projects on time. On the other hand, if you’re too quick to hire that person, he or she may not work out, and you could end up with either sub-par production or having to hire another person altogether.
Combine that challenge with the overall shift of younger workers moving away from the construction industry, and you’re left with a big challenge in recruiting the narrow pool of qualified workers. So how do you go about finding the best people to staff your jobs? Here are ten tips for recruiting in the construction industry.
Though strolling the halls of your local $35,000-a-year liberal arts college probably won’t yield you the artisan welders you’re looking for, recent college graduates at large state schools and community colleges often don’t have a ton of options after they graduate. And once you point out to a guy with a degree in philosophy that you can make a lot more money working in construction than philosophizing, you may have an interested recruit. Student loans are no joke, and you can leverage that to your hiring advantage.
Then, of course, there are the people who didn’t finish college. And unless those people dropped out to start their own software empire, chances are they’re looking for a way to make money. Often times you can contact college registrars and see who is in danger of leaving the school, or who has recently left. Contacting those people with opportunities can sometimes make you look like a blessing.
When veterans get out of the military, the job skills they learned don’t necessarily transfer over to civilian life. The hiring market for mine sweepers just isn’t what it used to be. But the larger-picture skills one learns in the military make veterans some of the best hires possible. Things like punctuality and individual accountability, discipline and the understanding that a job has to get done whether you want to do it or not. And since many are looking for work post-discharge, and may not have skills to be in tech or other professional fields, construction is a logical choice. Reach out to Hiring for Heroes and other organizations for help here.
If you’re the one teaching people how to be electricians, chances are they’ll see you as an industry leader in the area. So look for local vocational schools and offer to run a training program for their students. It serves the dual purpose of getting your company’s name known in the community, and allowing you to network with lots of potential hires.
That’s not to say you should forego criminal background checks and hire anyone that might be able to operate a track hoe. But younger people who have a non-violent offense still may struggle to find work. Look at places like juvenile rehabilitation centers or work camps and see if you can work with the corrections department to help some of them. It’s a risk, but you’d be surprised how many people are grateful for the opportunity and make the most of it.
Who knows your company—and what it takes to work there—better than your current employees? Nobody. So when your employees recommend someone they think would be a good fit for a job, it’s probably a solid referral. Motivate your employees to think of people who’d make great additions to your team with generous referral bonuses. And remember, those bonuses don’t always have to be monetary.
The average age of a construction worker in 2010 was 40 years old. So to succeed long term, you’ll need to attract a younger workforce. Younger workers aren’t always motivated by money, and many want benefits like more-flexible scheduling, more time off, or paid trips home if your company does work in other cities. Some of this won’t always be possible in construction, since you work on a much different schedule than, say, a tech startup. But when you can, offer those benefits, as they’re the kinds of things millennials look for.
Nothing demotivates a workforce like seeing the people they work next to getting passed over for promotion. Promoting from within is not only a key tool in employee retention, but also in recruiting. If potential workers see that they have room for advancement in a company, it makes that company more attractive. We’re not saying to promote less-qualified people out of loyalty. But always give the internal people a chance.
Maybe the job market in your city is booming, and younger people are looking at less physically-demanding jobs because so many exist. That doesn’t mean it’s the case everywhere. Look at parts of the country that don’t have growing economies, maybe areas that lost manufacturing jobs in recent years. These people might be willing to relocate for a better opportunity. Advertising on radio and TV in these areas can pay off, as can making recruiting visits yourself.
Because running a small business can be a 30-hour-a-day job, you just flat out might not have time to do the leg work involved in finding good workers. Hence the creation of construction staffing firms, who do the work for you. The worker ends up costing you a little more, but if you’ve got more money than time it’s an easy enough solution.
Hiring the right people is crucial to your company’s success, and sometimes doing that requires an investment in the recruiting process. If you have an idea of how you want to recruit, but just don’t have the cash on hand, look to BFS Capital for short term financing for your construction company. We know sometimes you have to put money into good people to reap the rewards, and are always happy to help.