Data by LaborIQ by ThinkWhy indicates the potential for a 3.9% increase in job gains in construction and extraction occupations.
However, this growth may be hindered by a labor shortage. The Construction Labor Report Market shows that the construction industry needs over 2.2 million more workers to meet demands.
Now, more than ever, having effective practices for sourcing workers is vital for construction companies. We’ve interviewed three construction companies to find out their best methods for hiring construction workers.
“The Power of Platforms Like Facebook Cannot Be Underestimated”
Kyle Richards, the co-founder of Best Overland Park Painters, shared that some of their best hiring experiences occurred through social media job postings. The sourcing of potential workers from social media platforms has risen in popularity over the years. One study from SHRM shows that over 84% of organizations use social media for recruiting purposes.
“The power of platforms like Facebook cannot be underestimated. When you go to groups like Overland Park Jobs and Kansas City Job Seekers, you won't fail to find great resumes being posted every day,” Richards shares.
With a large pool of applicants, narrowing down the best fit for your company can seem overwhelming. Still, Richards has developed an effective process for selecting potential workers on social media.
“You'd be surprised at how many people actually respond,” Richards says. “Because there are a lot of applicants, my way to find the best fit is to chat with them one by one first. From there, I can usually narrow the selection down to two or three people that I would then meet personally.”
“Always Stay Open to the Option of Rehiring”
The construction industry was not spared by The Great Resignation in 2021, which has only added fuel to the fire when it comes to sourcing workers. However, the key to filling labor shortage gaps may be to consider rehires.
“Always stay open to the option of rehiring your previous employee who already had experience in your organization,” advises Richard Fung, a co-founder of Forever Homes.
Limeade’s research about The Great Resignation’s impact on the construction industry shows that 28% of construction workers quit their jobs without a new job lined up and 40% of construction workers simply left their jobs because of burnout.
There is research to back up the potential for considering rehires. One survey reported that 41% of workers are open to being a “boomerang employer” while 29% of respondents reported returning to a previous employer.
“This is the best alternative method of recruiting the rest of the employees for your organization,” shares Fung. “But consider taking the employees who were great at work and had a good attitude.
“We Have Had Great Success on Our Trips to Home Improvement Stores”
Based on hiring experiences shared by Thomas Borcherding, owner of Homestar Design Remodel, there may be some stock in hitting the pavement when it comes to hiring construction workers.
“We have had great success on our trips to home improvement stores,” shares Borcherding. “Many quality installers simply do not look on job boards, but could always use higher pay or simply more work. While we are purchasing materials, we may notice installers also purchasing materials, or who have work trucks, and thus we engage in conversation.”
While this approach may seem less conventional than other hiring practices such as utilizing social media, studies show that 52% of the current construction force was born between 1960-1979. A more traditional approach to talent acquisition may help access some of this demographic that is less inclined to use social media.
“Adequately Scope the Role Before You Start Looking for People”
When speaking with Whitney Hill, co-founder of SnapADU, it quickly became clear that knowing their needs before posting for a position has both reduced the amount of time spent on interviewing and increased the quality of applicants they interview.
Hill suggests doing your homework first so you can specify the scope of work. She explains that if you “set a minimum level of expectation without ever engaging anyone,” you’re more likely to encourage the right applicants.
“If they aren’t willing to fill out a brief ten-question survey, then they’re probably not going to be a match for us,” she continued. “They might be an awesome employee, but it’s just the wrong mentality if they aren’t willing to make that level of investment, or their business isn’t set up for that level of engagement.”
Setting up your scope and minimum criteria can be done through LinkedIn, for example. You can attach the initial screening questions to your post and narrow down your interviews to the applicants who answer the questions to your satisfaction.
“We’re pretty quick to test out a subcontractor on a job,” Hill said after being asked about the next steps. “Once they’ve passed the initial screening criteria, we jump in with a pilot project almost immediately.”
It’s her opinion that you can only get so far with hypotheticals. In the construction industry, it’s more important to see what the contractor can do firsthand.
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