Preparing for the Hiring Season


By John Lack,

When it comes to construction, there is no set hiring season. It can fluctuate depending on where you are located, how deep the frost is, and how wet the spring is. But when it is time to dig, pour concrete, or start framing after a long quiet winter, you are going to want to have your team in place.

Below are five tips you may want to consider when the hiring season begins.

Assess your workload and goals going into the work season. Trying to find the balance of hiring enough people to fill the work needed to staff your projects and goals, but not so many that you may have to let some employees go, can be stressful. Evaluating the timing of project startups can also be a guessing game with its share of frustration. Staffing enough labor to be efficient for the present workload then adding staffing as your workload increases should be the goal.

Identify the skill set needed. Do you know the skill set needed for the work at hand? Does the carpenter need to be experienced in acoustical ceilings, steel studs, laying out, or concrete forming? Does the electrician need to have experience in residential, commercial, control work, or large distribution panel installation? With today's construction environment, what computer skills and safety certifications are you going to require? These are important questions you will want to nail down.

Network. People in construction know others in construction, so get the word out that you are hiring. Some of my best employees were those who had been in business for themselves at one time or another. They know what it takes to run an operation and are familiar with the behind-the-scenes work that no one sees. When an employee has walked in the owner's shoes, there can be a connection. Also, don’t forget there are always temp agencies, but I would use them in construction only when necessary.

Compensation. What is the going rate for the position? What is the person worth to the company? Are there other skills this person possesses that can benefit the company? For some candidates, compensation is the determining factor in accepting the job.

Review your company’s image. Why would someone want to work for your company? Do employees have opportunities for education and skill development? What benefits are offered? Does your company promote a culture of safety and team building? A company’s image is important, and those who take pride in the company they work for can make great employees.

The lack of skilled tradesmen in the industry today makes the hiring process even more critical. During my years in the industry, I would choose a young, energetic person out of high school each year to mold into a well-developed construction employee—an investment that proved worthwhile for my company.


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