A Step-By-Step Guide to Construction Recruitment

What are the steps to attracting people to your construction company?

Finding the right people
Finding the right people. Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

How can you attract great people to work in your construction company? Or perhaps, given the current climate, how can you attract any people? The construction industry’s challenge is that at the same time as developing into an exciting and varied sector, it has an image problem. Popular perception of construction can often be summed up as laborers in dirty overalls digging holes with spades. Any successful recruitment drive therefore needs to take into account two things: what you need in terms of candidates; and what you can do to make construction look good to candidates with any background that meets your staffing needs.

1. Plan for the profiles you need

As your construction company grows, your recruitment may be driven by requirements for:

  • Manually-oriented skills. Masons, plumbers, electricians and glaziers, for example.
  • Customer-facing skills. Sales staff and account managers are in this category, preferably with the skills to use construction customer management applications too.
  • Construction management skills. Bigger projects will require managers with good organizational, project management and people skills.
  • New technology skills. Employees at ease with software, computer models and hi-tech of different kinds will be needed here. They may or may not have worked in construction before.

2. Make your job descriptions

With your recruitment needs overview from the step above, the next step is to make accurate job descriptions for the specific posts to be filled. A clear construction job description will help you to stay on track in your search and interview process.

It will typically state:

  • The exact skills for the position
  • Whether the position is temporary or permanent
  • Likely backgrounds for candidates having the requisite knowledge or experience
  • Any qualifications required, whether educational or professional

3. Make your recruitment search

Online ads for construction recruitment now play a big part in getting your requirements in front of suitable candidates.

Possibilities include:

  • Free online classified pages
  • Employment websites, especially those specialized in construction
  • Social media, especially for recruiting more technologically able employees
  • Careers offices in local schools and universities

Some companies are broadening their recruitment efforts to be sure to include men and women, as well as different ethnic groups. They realize that given the workforce shortages they will need to attract suitable talent wherever it exists.

4. Hold interviews

Depending on the type and level of position to be filled, candidates may need to attend one or more interviews with your company. Make the interview process clear at the beginning. Interviewers have different styles, but generally speaking:

  • Aim for a frank and open exchange about what you want and what the candidate can do.
  • Allow a few minutes to put candidates at their ease. You will both get more out of the interview.
  • Ask open questions (starting with ‘What’ or ‘How’, for instance) to get a conversation going.
  • Conclude by thanking them for their time and by stating the next step in the process, whether this will be a yes (job offer) or no (no job offer) decision on your part, or a further interview.

    5. Present attractive work conditions

    In an employees’ market, candidates also may be sizing you up just as much as you are assessing them. You may need to tune up your company benefits to entice them to come on board, with for example:

    • Equal opportunity career paths and opportunities
    • Insurance coverage and health benefits, possibly extending beyond the construction season
    • Enhanced on-site working conditions, including breaks
    • Pay according to the value the candidate brings to the company

    Remember that potential employees may be looking for continuing education and training to help them progress in their work and their careers.