Friday, May 20, 2011

New hiring trends in the construction industry and where they are leading us

Let's talk about the construction industry and were some of the trends are turning toward. The one I'd like to talk about today is the type of employee's in the industry itself.
When I was young my father always hired older men, who had lots of construction experience. Also as the construction industry was very seasonal, labour's were usually students who were looking for a job for the summer.
Oh how things have changed, first of all the residential construction industry has become a 365 day a year business. So the trend of hiring people to work just for the summer is dying a slow death. I can count on one hand the amount of people I have hired in the last 5 years to work the summer or even part time. The industry evolving past a seasonal business has allowed me to hire long term employee's. That means that when interviewing people for any position in my company I have to take into consideration the length of time I see this person being able to work in my company. So I have changed everything about the way I hire people and I started this with the bottom positions of the company. The bottom position in most construction companies is the “Labourer” position.
In the past when a company got really busy they hired anybody with a strong back and some experience was a plus. These days when I hire for the labourer position I start by hiring the person before I actually need them so that I am not under pressure to hire someone quickly. Every person that sends in an application is given an interview even if they are over qualified for the position. It's a amazing the amount of businesses that will hire a person sight unseen over the phone.
I prepare a standard list of questions to ask people so that every applicant gets asked the same questions. This is one of the big deciding factors in picking some one for my company.
What a lot of people don't understand is that if you hire the wrong person, even someone making the minimum amount in your company, it will cost you somewhere above $10,000.00 before you come to the realization that they don't fit in your company. Training, time lost and starting the hiring process again are the factors that contribute to this figure of $10,000.00 and up. That’s a lot of money for any company and if you make that mistake to many times you'll either be out of a job yourself or out of business altogether.
One of the biggest things that is affecting my hiring of people these days is if they are willing to grow beyond there station of labour in the company. This usually means that they have to go to school for an apprenticeship while they work for me. To raise yourself up in my company you need want to become a crew leader. This is a person that usually starts as a labour or carpenter's helper and goes to school and gets there carpenter's ticket. This means that you just don't want to be a professional carpenter but also a team leader that can organize other people, control costs and make quick decisions that effect profits and schedules.
So all of this goes through my head when I interview people for a simple labourer's job!
Where this has lead me too is the hiring of a younger group of people, who are physically fit, intelligent and are also goal and career oriented. This is a tall order to look for in most people that are applying for a construction labour position. Especially trying to find this in today's young people.
What I do now is never turn down a chance to interview a person even if I have no intention of hiring someone. This has worked in my favour more them once, where I was so impressed with a person that within a couple of months I was able to make room for them by either creating a position in the company or freeing one up.
I also never throw a person resume away, especially if it's sent to me by email. It allows me to email them back when I am hiring and ask if there still interested.
So when speaking of trends, putting these rules and practises into effect have brought me to hiring people who should have went to university or college but weren't able to because of funding, personal choice, family issues or lack of schooling.
It has also brought me young people between the age of 20 and 35 that are intelligent and driven. The one trend that I believe is going to continue to grow in this industry is the hiring of women in the trades for all positions. I find that women that apply for my company tend to be very driven, high energy and extremely hard workers. Changing the all male demographic in our company has had such a positive effect on the people and profits that I don't understand what some old school men have against the hiring of women in the construction industry. I think that this trend has been long overdue in coming and I hope that more companies will jump on the bandwagon.
This doesn't mean that I never hire older people, it means that I hire older people for the more experienced positions in my company, people that already have those special set of skills and do not require training in them. This helps train all the younger people properly and help bring new ideas into the company.
So if you are looking for a job in the construction industry, look for that company that will help you grow into a qualified professional.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment