I’m a fourth-generation contractor, and in 2018, I thought I figured out the family business. Everything was great—until I hit a wall with hiring. Just placing a listing on Indeed and Craigslist didn’t work anymore. And I’m not alone.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, there are more than 400,000 open positions, and 80% of contractors cannot find labor, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. A lack of labor causes real issues. My turning point was seeing my cost overruns to the tune of $700,000 because I didn’t realize how important it was to get ahead of this hiring issue.
Through my struggles, successes, and advising, I have found these three areas to be influential in hiring and areas many contractors overlook:
1. You’re Not Using Modern Technology
There are two areas in that tech can change your hiring game. The first is geofencing.
Geofencing allows you to set up footprints around nearby suppliers, vendors, and competitors so that if someone enters the area, they receive your job advertisements. You go buy your materials, but so are your competitors. When they drive into the yard and go on their phone while waiting, they see you’re hiring carpenters. You’re fishing where the fish are.
Treat your candidates like you treat your leads and maintain the speed-to-lead mindset
The second area is having a CRM for candidates and automating everything. Treat your candidates like you treat your leads and maintain the speed-to-lead mindset. If you’re not following up with leads within minutes of receiving an application, not getting them excited, and not ensuring they show up, you lose out massively.
Back in the day, you would have had 10 interviews, and nine showed up. Today, you might have 100 applications, seven interviews, and just two show up. The volume makes it nearly impossible to call and vet every applicant. Truth is, the big companies do this. You have to streamline hiring or you waste time.
2. You’re Not Branding Your Company Correctly
One of the best ways to showcase your company is through a career video.
For a career video, it’s imperative that a contractor unhappy in their current position can click a button, understand who you are, what you do, and get a feeling of the culture all within two and a half minutes while on the toilet. If not, they’re not going to work for you. People inherently emotionally connect to video too.
A majority of companies do not have career videos, which can help you dominate the space if you’re the first in your area.
Use these quick tips for career videos:
- Utilize at least five staff members from different areas so it’s balanced
- Talk about the backstory and lean into it
- Answer: Why work for us?
- Answer: What do you do to make your team happy?
- Showcase your office and projects
- Who should work for you and who shouldn’t (this provides even more clarity)
- Be proud and true to who you are; lean into authenticity
- The shorter, the better
3. You’re Failing to Do Skills Assessments
Contractors don’t have time to vet people properly. A great interviewer is not always a great hire and vice versa. Rehiring a position costs up to six to nine months of the position’s salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, so losing somebody is a true loss. The easiest way to vet is a skills assessment.
If a candidate is not prepared to do a paid skills assessment (yes, paid), you don’t want them. If it’s an office job and you know the skills needed, do an online assessment. Go off of the skills needed, but also, ask about a current problem in the company and request suggestions. Logic never lies.
For the field, have them come in and showcase their skills for half a day. It helps with the pay scale for somebody as well. If they come in with years of experience but compared to your team, they lack, you wouldn’t want to pay them more than staff with better work. It works the other way around: if someone struggles to express their skills and undersells, you can ensure you offer the appropriate pay.
Overall, treat your candidates as you would treat your leads and utilize tech tools to streamline the process, saving you time and money and leading to greater retention.
Matt DiBara is owner of DiBara Masonry and CEO of The Contractor Consultants. The Contractor Consultants is a leading company in the construction industry, dedicated to helping contractors overcome the labor shortage with a hiring course and a hassle-free outsourced hiring service that lets companies focus on vetted interviews, while building out all assets.
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