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By Duane Craig
May 1, 2017
The specialty construction trades accounted for over 62% of construction hiring in February. With all that hiring going on, there is bound to be some pain points.
Here are ideas for taking away the pain:
It’s hard to understand. You find someone who looks as if they’d be a great employee. Their resume and hiring information shows they have the right skillset, but after initial contact they never set up an interview appointment, or, they do an interview, but don’t accept a job offer.
You can’t please everyone, so accept there are people who won’t work for you regardless of the benefits and pay. But for everyone else, there are things you can do to make your company more attractive as an employer. Start with the basics:
Address the places where you find deficiencies, and for those instances that will require more time to address, point out to potential recruits how you are changing things.
There are some skills that have a chronic shortage of candidates. These include construction laborers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders, and equipment operators. These shortages, however, are not solely linked to not enough people available. There are also systemic issues in construction and within the national labor force that contribute to these labor challenges. And, there are training factors like an over emphasis on four-years of college, and a reduction in educational opportunities for people who are interested in the trades.
Use these tactics to immediately increase your pool of available candidates.
Use these strategies as your more long term effort.
By most accounts, the war for talent is going to continue and there are times when you just can’t do anything about it. But for most of those other times, forget about relying on legal contracts like noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements. They are usually not enough on their own, they cost money to enforce, legislation often goes against them, and they stifle performance. There are better ways.
Most people who decide to jump ship do so after a trigger event. Maybe they didn’t get promoted, missed a raise, felt shorted on a bonus, or got a new supervisor who they feel isn’t as qualified as themselves.
When you get wind of it, try talking with the person about the reasons they are unhappy. Let them know you’d like to try to fix it, but avoid jumping to counter offering. If they are unhappy, a counter offer simply means you’d like to extend their unhappiness by making it more palatable. Most people would rather be happier. Instead, try to find a solution that will help the person feel valued while still acknowledging the value the business provides to them.
If someone does leave, make sure you pay attention to those left behind who worked closely with them. Sometimes one poaching leads to multiple poaches as another business looks to build strength in a specific sector of construction. You need to assess your exposure and work with those who are vulnerable.
Unless there is a personal situation that came up between the time they were hired and when they started working, it’s a good possibility you need to improve your selection process.
Use clear, concise job descriptions that aren’t written as if the person must be a jack-of-all-trades. Many companies write job descriptions that no person could humanly handle. In the interview ask leading questions so you get an idea of how they handle stress, what makes them unhappy at work, and how they view their career. Be thorough about reviewing their work history. Is it complete? What is the depth of their job knowledge and experience?
Although it is widely stated, you’d be surprised how many companies fail to use appropriate means in checking out potential employees. It’s very important to use a thorough and expansive process, and not to eliminate or include a person based on singular aspects of their past.
To avoid legal complications and find the best people for the job you are offering, consider involving legal counsel in setting up your candidate vetting process. To further safeguard your hiring practices, consider hiring a company that specializes in background checks.
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