6 Tips for Hiring Great Construction Workers

9 min

Naturally, you want to hire the best possible workers for your construction business.

However, the path to achieving this goal is riddled with challenges like skilled labor shortage, rising employment costs, and the construction industry’s bad reputation.

All of this can cause decision makers to resort to hiring less skilled and experienced, and sometimes unprofessional and incompetent construction workers.

Although finding great workers in such circumstances can be challenging, these tips will help you get talented, motivated, and professional construction workers.

Plan Ahead

Ideally, hiring should never be rushed because it can lead to wrong decisions, lowered standards, and failure to employ the right people.

Conversely, accurate forecasting of future labor needs, planning ahead, and initiating the hiring process in good time can help you find workers best suited for the job.

Labor forecasting is an essential part of construction management that uses various and often combined approaches, techniques, and strategies to predict a company’s demand for new workers.

Here’s a quick guide to construction labor forecasting, courtesy of Bridgit:

Source: GoCodes

For example, you should be aware of the age structure of your employees, their work satisfaction and motivation levels, and any issues relevant to their job performance, as these factors can affect someone’s decision to stay or leave.

As for age, if your construction worker is nearing retirement, you should look to hire their replacement (or promote them internally) with the retiring worker’s support and advice, which may include their involvement in hiring and/or onboarding procedures.

In addition, you can hire a new employee before the future retiree leaves and set up a transitional mentorship program.

This allows your retiring worker to transfer knowledge and share first-hand expertise with the new employee, thus reducing their adjustment time and ensuring a smooth handover of duties.

Source: ©Cineberg via Canva.com

Naturally, when forecasting, planning, and hiring new employees, you should rely on the input of your experienced construction managers and workers.

Overall, if you analyze your current workforce and future needs, you’ll be able to plan ahead and start the hiring process on time, which means you won’t need to rush and can avoid making hasty decisions, lowering your standards, and ultimately failing to hire great construction workers.

Be Clear on Job Requirements

First, most people love familiarity and would prefer knowing what the job would be like in advance.

Although that’s often impossible, job descriptions for your vacancies provide an opportunity to be clear on job requirements and attract the right candidates.

In other words, preparing and updating job descriptions to clearly and accurately convey the job role requirements, such as objectives of that job role, required and preferred skills and qualifications, and daily duties and responsibilities, will help candidates determine whether they’d be a good fit or not.

Likewise, this will award you with a pool of higher-quality candidates.

For example, LinkedIn’s construction manager job template opens with a job description that includes the job role expectations like the ability to oversee multiple projects, ensure compliance, or drive innovation. It continues by listing the key job role objectives:

Source: LinkedIn

These objectives are followed by a list of daily and monthly responsibilities that provide a clear picture of what day-to-day activities this job will include, such as collaborating with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists and responding to work emergencies, delays, and other issues.

Next are skills and qualifications like a bachelor’s degree in engineering and the required years of experience.

The template closes with preferred qualifications like being fluent in Spanish or familiar with green building practices.

All of this gives candidates a pretty good idea of what this complex and demanding job would be like and leads to unqualified candidates self-disqualifying themselves.

Moreover, if you specify that candidates will, as part of the hiring process, take online construction aptitude tests or undergo background and reference checks, your hiring pool will get even better, but also smaller.

So, make sure you don’t overdo it because you might end up with too few candidates.

Overall, use job descriptions to be clear on job requirements and familiarize candidates with the job while also using them as a pre-selection tool for attracting great construction workers.

Highlight the Employee Benefits

To attract, hire and retain great workers, construction companies should rethink their employee benefits in view of which ones matter most to their workers, and highlight those in their job ads, thus showing they care about their employees while using benefits to appeal to a broader pool of quality candidates.

Pressured by long-standing skilled labor shortages, lack of diversity, and the industry’s poor reputation, construction companies are quickly changing their employee care practices.

They are increasingly offering competitive wages, health and pension benefits, career development opportunities, and other benefits.

Here’s a 2021 statistical summary of construction employee benefits, courtesy of Mployer Advisor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Source: GoCodes

In light of these numbers, it’s clear that construction companies can, other than offering more competitive salaries and bonuses, do a lot in terms of improving their pension plans, widening their health coverage, and offering short- and long-term disability plans.

They can also ensure career development, training, and education opportunities for their employees that can be additionally supported by, for instance, offering benefits like student loan repayment assistance or tuition reimbursement.

In their hunt for top talent, some construction companies are already looking beyond the typical employee benefits and providing other advantages like positive work-life balance, mental wellness, and a casual business environment.

For instance, Gilbane Building Company is one of those companies. Here’s what they offer to their employees:

Source: Gilbane

Offering one of the best construction benefits packages, they also highlight that fact in their job ads and website, which helps them attract a larger pool of high-quality employees.

Thus, you should rethink your employee benefits, consider expanding some or adding others most valued by your employees, and then highlight them in your job ads, thus showing commitment to your workers’ well-being and appealing to more top-tier construction workers.

Post the Job Ad on Multiple Platforms

To widen the talent pipeline and reach more people, you should post job ads on various job boards, not just one, and even on social media and other platforms where your ad might attract more and better candidates.

So, if you planned ahead, prepared a job ad with clear requirements, and highlighted the employee benefits, now is the time to post it.

Naturally, the question is where you should post your ad. Only on your company website? Or on one or more specialized construction job posting sites that charge for job postings?  

Perhaps on some or all available free job posting sites? Maybe on LinkedIn or Facebook, or specialized forums or local online communities?

Before we answer, take a look at the top construction worker job boards (paid and free), courtesy of Betterteam:

Source: Betterteam

This list gives a good insight into your posting options and their cost.

The top three places on this list are held by pay-per-post sites that offer discounts on multiple posts and various other employer services.

The list also includes three pay-per-month options (ConstructionJobForce, CareerBuilder, and Snagajob), two sites with free and paid options (Indeed and Craigslist), and one free Google service (Google for Jobs).

In fact, this Google feature helps job seekers find relevant postings in their Google search results.

To get Google for Jobs to index job ads on your website, you’ll need to adjust your HTML to integrate with Google (instructions) or use already integrated third-party sites.

Source: Google

Other than using this free service, you should research specific construction trade niches, features, and services offered by paid sites to learn more about where your job posting could attract more well-suited candidates.

Of course, you should also take advantage of various free job boards, look into posting on LinkedIn and Facebook, or even on specialized forums and local online communities, all with the purpose of expanding your hiring pool and attracting more quality construction workers.

Give Opportunities to Women

Construction companies that embrace, promote, and highlight diversity and inclusion in their workplaces and give women opportunities not only expand their recruitment pool but attract some great talent.

There’s been a lot of talk about supporting diversity and inclusion and attracting and retaining women in the construction industry, and many construction companies are investing efforts to make their workplaces safer and more inclusive for women.

However, as it stands, women make up only 10.9% of the construction workforce. Moreover, only 3.9% of them work in the field as construction workers, carpenters, electricians, etc.

Likewise, they are seriously underrepresented in construction management positions (16%) while dominating administrative and office functions (85%).

So, let’s look at one of the construction companies that actively give opportunities to women, like DPR Construction.

They foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that welcomes women and even have a Celebrating Women Who Build blog series dedicated to their female employees.

Source: DPR

This is a great example of how construction companies can attract more women by promoting positive female role models while changing perceptions, exposing biases, and supporting diversity and inclusion.

Naturally, all of this translates into attracting more female candidates, some of which can be great talents and, with the right support, develop into great workers and leaders.

And this is another argument for giving opportunities to women in trade occupations and particularly in management positions.

For starters, McKinsey found that, put simply, more diverse companies are more profitable.

In fact, they found that construction companies with more women in management functions outperform their less diverse counterparts.

Thus, construction companies should embrace diversity and inclusion, promote female role models, provide positive career paths, and highlight opportunities for women not only to attract some potentially great construction workers but also to improve their overall performance.

Improve Your Company Image

Whether managed or not, company branding is inevitable in today’s world.

Some construction companies are lagging in using narrative and reputation management to improve their image and attract more clients and potential employees.

First of all, if your company offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits, fosters a safe, diverse, and inclusive environment, genuinely cares about its employees, and is still not getting enough job applications, the issue might be complacency or outdated hiring practices.

However, this problem is often easily fixed with some good company branding.

To get a better idea of what branding means for talent recruitment, just replace the words “customers” and “clients” with “construction workers” in this snippet:

Source: Google

Conversely, if your business falls short in some of the above elements, that will reflect on your company image quicker and wider than ever before.

Thus, you should closely look at how people are actually treated in your organization and on construction sites.

This can point out potential strengths (which can be highlighted) and weaknesses (which can be reduced or at least downplayed) of your company image.

All of these will inform your branding, marketing, and recruitment strategies.

One way of improving your company image is by ensuring and promoting a safe working environment, which can be achieved by, among others, utilizing different technologies, such as drones, wearables, or equipment tracking software, all of which can help prevent injuries.

For a simple and affordable solution to track maintenance, usage, and location of your machinery, tools, and equipment and keep your jobsites safe, try GoCodes.

Source: GoCodes

Making sure your jobsites are known for their safety and implementing and promoting a safety-first culture can improve your company image and draw in more workers (rightfully) concerned about their safety on construction sites.

Overall, your company image will reflect how good your pay and benefits are, how safe and inclusive your workplaces are, and how accepted and valued your employees feel.

This will be especially visible in how they express that on social media.

However, good company branding, i.e., narrative and reputation management (like social media brand building), can do a lot to help you polish that image and attract more high-quality candidates.

Conclusion

So, although the circumstances in the construction labor market are challenging, you can use these tips and plan to hire in advance, provide clear job descriptions with highlighted employee benefits and opportunities for women.

Post them on multiple platforms and you’re bound to improve your company image, and ultimately attract, hire, and retain great construction workers.

About GoCodes

GoCodes is the industry leader in tool tracking. We provide customers with the ultimate single vendor solution that includes cloud-based software, top-rated smartphone scanner apps and rugged QR code tags.

We pride ourselves on delivering a personalized service, cutting-edge technology and software that is easily used by your entire team.

GoCodes ensures our customers achieve success in their tool management projects every time.

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