The ultimate guide to recruitment in the construction sector

construction site

During the pandemic, some areas of the construction industry have declined, and others have boomed. This led to a 2% growth in registered construction businesses in 2020 compared to 2019. And, as you might expect with that kind of industry growth, construction recruitment has increased.

If you’re struggling to keep up with demand, don’t worry, crooton is here to help. Let’s look at the best ways to recruit your ideal construction candidates.

Your step-by-step guide to recruitment in the construction sector

1. Improve employer reputation

Recruitment is not just about finding the ideal candidate. For talent, it’s about finding the right company, and the best way to set yourself above the rest is to improve your employer branding

Consider your best attributes as a construction company and show them off. Have you worked on any exciting projects recently? If you helped build a high profile local building or worked with your local council, show it off! Potential employees will want to see what kind of construction contracts your company is winning and the type of job they can expect to be doing.

From there, utilise your online presence. When applying for a job, candidates research you as much as you research them. Use social media and your website to showcase what it’s like to work for you and give potential employees a glimpse of your company culture.

2. Who is your ideal candidate?

It is important to know what you want in a candidate. First, consider what qualities and qualifications your current employees in similar roles have that you value. After this, ask your supervisors and foremen for their opinions too. After all, they’ll be the ones working closely with any new recruits. 

Because construction involves a lot of specialist knowledge, it’s a good idea to identify any special training, certifications, or experience with certain equipment the role requires. Finally, determine what kind of role you’re looking to fill. Is this a temporary position to expand your team on a specific job or a longer-term role with your company? These are all important details to nail down before writing your job listing.

3. How will you shortlist your candidates?

With your criteria in mind, decide what is and isn’t negotiable. Some candidates without all the requested qualifications and experience will apply, but that doesn’t mean they might not be the right fit. Many candidates will have transferable or equivalent skills (like military experience) but may not have worked in construction before. Keep in mind that the requirements will vary from role to role. You’ll probably have less flexibility when hiring an engineer versus a construction worker.

We recommend creating a list of what qualifications and experience you can’t budge on and making those the hard line when shortlisting candidates. That way, you can narrow down the candidate list before interviews. 

But if you’re short on time and resources, you should consider working with a recruitment company, like crooton, who can help you source and screen candidates. All you have to do is worry about holding the interviews, and we can do the rest!

4. Write your job post

Making sure your job advert stands out is essential. You don’t want to just create a laundry list of skills you’re looking for. Instead, craft a story. Tell candidates about any upcoming projects they could expect to work on, what kind of person would be a good fit, and why they should choose to work with you. Remember, good recruitment is a two-way-street; you should be trying to make your company attractive to new construction hires too, not just the other way around.

Being concise is necessary for creating a strong job post and the best way to do that is to follow a set structure. First, begin with a description of the role in detail. For example, will they be working at multiple jobsites? Does the role require any specialist skills and qualifications? Once you’ve detailed the role, then discuss benefits and compensation. You should aim to make your listing clear and easy to understand.

While you’re at it, this is a good time to ensure your application process is simple. Most candidates apply for dozens of jobs at a time and a more efficient application will make you stand out.

5. Communication is key

You should consider how you communicate with candidates during the hiring process as an audition for your company’s overall communication style. A timely response from a potential employer lets candidates know that you value their time. It’s key to stay in contact with potential candidates. Tell applicants when they can expect to hear back and for shortlisted candidates when you’ll be holding interviews. 

This can prove to be an overwhelming task if you’re hiring for multiple roles, so we recommend setting up a specific system to stay in touch with candidates. Choose one format that works best for you, like email, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, or phone. This lets you keep all your correspondence with each candidate in one place. Keep in mind that some of your applicants may be on jobsites during the day and won’t be able to check their messages frequently so be sure to give candidates enough time to respond.

6. Plan the interview

You don’t want to go into interviews without a plan. Decide what information you are missing from candidates about themselves, their experience, and their applicable skills. From there, tailor your questions to gather this information. 

A set interview structure also helps reduce bias during the interview process. Asking candidates the same questions gives everyone an equal opportunity to present themselves and their skills. And consider forming an interview panel to combat any unconscious bias any one interviewer might have. This is a good time to once again ask your site supervisors and foremen for help since they know what kind of candidates will thrive on a jobsite and who will mesh well with the rest of the crew.

7. Follow up

Communication is just as crucial after interviews as it is before. Once you’ve decided a candidate isn’t the right fit for the role, let them know. If they were close to getting the job, you could ask for consent to keep their information on file for any future positions that might open up. 

And for those lucky enough to win the role, be sure to let them know quickly. After all, you don’t want to risk losing your favourite candidate to a competitor. And remember, contracts and compensation still need to be hammered out, so keep those lines of communication open. 

Four quick construction recruitment tips and tricks

Now that you know the steps to follow for construction recruitment, here are a few of crooton’s expert tips and tricks you may not have considered before.

  • Join work experience programmes: Many young people don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. With this in mind, secondary schools often set up work experience weeks to expose students to potential career paths. Joining these types of programmes lets your company showcase all the opportunities you have to offer. If you make a good impression, you’ve already started a relationship with potential future hires.
  • Create an apprenticeship scheme: Along with short-term work experience, a dedicated apprenticeship programme allows your current employees to train apprentices on the job. This is a great way to bring younger people into your company. The average age of construction workers is 43, demonstrating the need to increase routes into construction for young people. Apprenticeships can help bridge that gap.
  • Hire veterans and former military personnel: As we mentioned above, military personnel are a great talent pool with transferable skills perfect for construction. Their time in the military often provides them with experience in building and driving that makes them ideal candidates. Partnering with organisations like Hire a Hero or V.E.T.S. can help put you in contact with great candidates.
  • Ask for referrals: Your current employees represent the type of candidates you want to hire. That makes them well suited to help you with recruitment. They understand the demands of the business and the necessary skills your company needs. Ask around if any of your current employees know someone who would be a good fit for an open role. Referred employees tend to retain their positions longer because their relationship with pre-existing employees gives them greater insight into businesses. This also helps them adapt to the job much faster and can save you time and money on training. Just remember to put referrals through the same hiring process as the rest of your applicants to stave off bias.

To learn more about the challenges in construction recruitment, how to target the best talent, and recruitment mistakes to avoid, be sure to visit the crooton blog.

And if you’re ready to take your construction recruitment to the next level, get in touch with us today!