According to a January USA Today article , construction hiring is surging. While the industry has yet to recover all of the 2.2 million jobs it lost between 2006 and 2010, construction gained jobs at more than twice the overall labor market’s rate in 2014. That’s good news for construction workers and employers like you—unless urgent needs for more laborers cause you to take chances with your hiring process, haphazardly selecting employees who may be less than top-notch.
Before you add another carpenter, electrician, insulation installer, heavy equipment operator, plasterer, ironworker or other construction laborer, consider these tips for making sure they’re all the best of the best.
- Consider laborers from other industries. Attitude is often a reliable indicator of potential for success. If you encounter a potential construction employee who has an excellent, positive attitude and willingness to work hard for the opportunity you’re offering, he is worth consideration—even if he has little to no actual experience. You can always train someone in the skills necessary for the position.
- Make good use of prescreening interviews. A 10- to 20-minute telephone interview can reveal a lot about a potential construction job candidate. Use the time to confirm the details your candidate has provided in his application as well as explore his career goals. Even the best welder in the business may not be the right choice for you if he intends to retire, go back to school, or change careers in six months.
- Use pre-employment assessment tests. In many industries—including construction—employers use online tests to assess candidates’ cognitive abilities, personalities and motivation. The results of these tests can help you choose laborers, office staff and sales professionals who are diligent, reliable and will perform well in their chosen job.
- Check references carefully. Take the time to contact your candidate’s former bosses before extending a construction job offer. Don’t limit yourself to the references your applicant has provided. It’s often wise to reach out to the foremen and supervisors who were not included. Especially in cases in which a potential employee is trying to hide something, these parties may give you a more accurate assessment of past performance.
- Create an employee referral program. Studies have shown that referred employees are generally a better cultural fit and stay with their new employer longer than workers sourced through other means. Encourage your best workers to refer their friends by offering a cash bonus or other reward if their recommended worker is hired and performs well for a pre-determined amount of time.