Two of the most difficult roles to fill in the construction industry are Project Managers and Estimators. Companies will often start the search and recruitment process for these key roles on their own only to discover a very small talent pool where candidates are fairly resistant to change. Below is a case study that outlines the journey and process that a client went through when working with Raymond Search Group to find and appoint qualified candidates for these hard to fill positions.

Several years ago, Raymond Search Group was contacted by a major mechanical contractor within the Pacific Northwest and presented with this exact challenge. The client needed to find more senior level Project Managers and Estimators that had experience working within mechanical contracting. The client initially decided to take on this search for talent on their own but came up empty-handed. They then decided to work with several local recruiting firms in the Pacific Northwest to expand their options. These attempts all failed for several reasons including:

  • The local recruitment agencies over promised and under delivered
  • The client saw mostly the same candidates presented that came up in their initial search
  •  Some candidates were not even interested in the role or changing careers
  • Most candidates presented by the recruiting agencies were not a good fit
  • Some candidates were not qualified and had the wrong type of mechanical experience

After a series of failed attempts trying to source and hire the right talent for these key roles, the client reached out to Raymond Search Group – having heard that our firm specializes in identifying and appointing talent within the construction industry across the US, including Project Managers and Estimators.

The Challenge:

Since the client had already attempted this search themselves and partnered with several recruiting agencies that yielded no results, our firm had its work cut out for ourselves in an already small and disengaged market. Finding and securing Project Managers and Estimators is a challenge for a number of reasons including:

  • Project Managers and Estimators bring a great deal of value to the company, business development and build process and are always in high demand
  • The talent pool is incredibly small, and adding additional criteria (such as mechanical experience) reduces this pool even further
  • Everyone knows each other within the Pacific Northwest region
  • Project Managers and Estimators are often hard to convince when making a career change.

Raymond Search Group formulated a new strategic direction and identified new methods for researching and engaging this talent. In general, Project Managers and Estimators are very well compensated within the industry, which means that considering a career change is not typically financially motivated. This type of talent is often invested in the projects they work on, teams they are a part of and the company they work for. Since culture and passion are such a large motivator for this type of talent – their approach to a career change is very methodical and it can take years to convince a candidate to consider or make a career transition.

The Results:

As a reputable search firm within the region, part of our process is to establish and build connections and relationships with candidates and talent even without an immediate opportunity available. This authentic advisory relationship forms the foundational trust between Raymond Search Group and our candidates and allows us to facilitate open and honest conversations about their career. When a client or recruiting firm approaches talent directly without this trust, there can be a breakdown in communication and transparency with the candidate, resulting in a poor candidate experience and disengaged talent.

Raymond Search Group already had existing relationships with most of the Project Managers and Estimators within the region already known by the client and were able to leverage these historical relationships. Our firm was also able to present several other qualified, interested, and available candidates that were overlooked in prior attempts. As a search firm, we were able to objectively represent both the client and candidate fairly and objectively within the search and recruitment process.

One of the finalist candidates presented to the client, our firm had pursued for over two years to build a deeply intentional and meaningful relationship with. When Raymond Search Group approached this candidate with the client’s opportunity, they were finally ready to make a career move, and they chose to exclusively work with our firm to make this happen. The opportunity was a great match and fit with the candidate’s experience, skills, key motivators and compensation and they selected to move forward with the client to pursue the opportunity.

From start to finish, Raymond Search Group was able to identify, present, interview and put forward finalist candidates for these Project Manager and Estimator roles in 3 to 8 weeks, depending upon complexity of the role and the search. To date, our firm has completed over 10 searches for the client in the past 3 years, and the client has recommended Raymond Search Group to several of their partners. In the past 6 months, our firm has worked with their partners to successfully find talent for various roles including:

  •  Project Managers
  • Superintendents
  • Estimators
  • Vice President of Project Management
  • Director of Construction

To learn more about how Raymond Search Group can support you in your search and recruitment process for hard to fill positions, please visit or to get in touch with us.

About The Author:

Jeff Raymond ( President and Founder of Raymond Search Group ( is an industry leading recruiter specializing in Construction and Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, HVACR/R, Building Automation Systems, MEPF, and Manufacturing. Jeff is known for delivering the top 5% of industry talent to his clients with an unrivaled efficiency and network. Clients and candidates alike rely on Jeff as a trusted advisor through his recruiting expertise, and industry insight.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is experienced in the construction industry and is Procore certified in multiple areas. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, ASHRAE, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), and The OSHA Education Center Association.