PRIME: Attracting Top Talent

“How do you attract professional talent to your company?”

March 31, 2014

Our PRIME advisory panel includes some of the remodeling industry’s leading professionals. This month we asked, “How do you attract professional talent to your company?”

Community involvement

We’ve been in the fortunate position over the last several years that talented people have sought us out rather than the other way around. As a case in point, our last two hires were people who came to us looking for a stable company. One we hired right away.  The other we hired about a year later and, in hindsight, probably should have hired her on the spot. So I guess the answer to the question is to be involved in the industry and anything locally that attracts professional people.

Bill Simone, President
Custom Design & Construction, El Segundo, CA

Hire slow, fire fast

Being a leader in our industry, we have attracted to our business some very talented people. We have very little turnover because we offer an attractive benefits package, as well as autonomy with each position. When we are looking for talent, our employees spread the word and, of course, only recommend the best to apply. Our job description is very detailed as well so we know exactly what we are looking for as do the applicants.  Hire slow, fire fast. 

Emily Lindus, Vice President
Lindus Construction, Baldwin, WI

9 tips to attract pros

We attract professional talent in a variety of ways:

  • Applying for the Oregon Business Magazine “100 Best Businesses to Work for In Oregon” and the “100 Best Green Businesses to Work for In Oregon” lists to get our name out into the market. Our reputation, built over many years, has people coming to our website employment postings.
  • Enlisting the help of our current employees to refer good people.
  • Hosting university student interns whom we sometimes hire right after they graduate or we keep in touch and recruit later.
  • Entering design and contracting contests and getting recognition amidst remodelers from all parts of the country.
  • Participation in trade, professional, civic groups, and non-profit volunteer organizations.
  • Providing informational interviews, practice interviews, and portfolio review services for people who might not be ready to apply with us brings people back to us.
  • Provide speakers for high school and college career days, the Oregon Tradeswomen’s Guild career days, and being a resource for the community to provide information about employment opportunities in our industry and at Neil Kelly Co.
  • We know that whenever we are interviewing, candidates are also interviewing us. How we present ourselves and treat applicants lets them know a lot about who we are and what kind of workplace they will find at Neil Kelly Co. Even if they are not selected for a position, we have given them a respectful experience and have treated them with dignity and thoughtfulness.
  • We respond to each applicant to let them know we’ve received their cover letter, resume, etc. We keep them posted if our process slows for any reason. We let each candidate know if they’ve been moved to a second round or not, whether they’ve been selected or not. No one who applies is left to wonder. They are treated respectfully during our process. There is no harder job than applying for work and we know it.

Tom Kelly, President
Neil Kelly Inc., Portland, OR

Joy Kilgore is president of Executive Business Approach LLC, PRIME and PRIME Alliance Summit. For more information, visit

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