Improve Your Ability to Secure Top Construction Talent in Today’s Market

As a Third-Party Executive Search Firm, we see the following unfortunate scenario play out daily: we present a solid candidate to the client, the client likes him or her and gives positive feedback, however the hiring manager wants to see some more candidates as points of comparison to gauge the quality of the existing candidate against other profiles. While on the surface, this seems like a fine practice that should ideally lead to finding the best possible fit for the role and organization, this also directly leads to a delayed and cumbersome hiring process for all involved.

Today’s job market is very candidate-driven; meaning that your company is competing for the top candidates at every turn, and those candidates have many options available to them. When candidates have several options to choose from, you as a hiring manager need to be agile and move with haste to secure these candidates before the competition does. Two of the most prominent reasons why candidates will choose the competition over you include:

  • Slow Hiring Process – In a candidate’s mind, a slow process reflects the organization as a whole. LinkedIn reports that the best candidates are off the market in 10 days. Slow processes may be interpreted as your company not being very serious about the candidate or about being competitive in general. This leaves a very sour taste in the candidate’s mouth and a lasting negative impression of your company.
  • Inflexible Compensation Packages – Hiring managers need to be aware of where the bar is set in terms of the market value of these candidates. Being inflexible on compensation when it comes to top talent is a death knell for your ability to secure the best candidates. You don’t always need to throw the kitchen sink at a candidate, but being open to different structures or levels of compensation can transform your ability to attract and maintain top talent. In a recent study, 49% of candidates stated that the most important factor in accepting a new job was compensation.

Regarding the slow hiring process: Today’s hiring process should be streamlined and simplified wherever possible. As a hiring manager within your organization, you have likely interviewed people before, and you likely know the culture of your company and what type of person fits in well. You should also be able to tell quickly if someone is qualified and can do the job. Do not stall the process with a high-quality candidate for the sake of getting comparison points. These high-quality candidates are being courted by other companies with interesting opportunities in addition to your role, they are expecting a reasonable hiring process and dreading a long and drawn out one, and they are rapidly losing interest in your company within days of your last contact with them while you sink a ton more time into finding comparison candidates. Additionally, you already have comparison candidates to begin with: your current staff! Chances are there is at least one person in your organization who is doing a fine job in the same role you are adding to the team, so use that person as your gauge to expedite your process.

Regarding compensation: Not all candidates are created equal. There is a tremendous spectrum of talent and skill in the construction market and you need to decide what part of that range you want to attract and what that range requires to land. According to 2022 compensation statistics, construction laborers are at the low end of this spectrum, earning an average of $20.92 an hour, and construction managers are at the top, earning an average of $51.02 an hour, or $106,120 annually. If your goal is to hire the best possible candidate, then you may need to pay what that candidate is worth based on the market and their personal compensation history. If you find that you truly cannot afford the best of the best, then you may need to adjust your expectations across your hiring team and calibrate the search toward candidates who may need a bit more training and ramp-up, but who are in the price range you are offering.

As a third-party firm, we see the above happen daily and it cripples the entire process. We know what the market looks like, we know who is looking and who is not, and we know what it is going to take to land these top-tier candidates. You as the hiring manager can only benefit and thrive by implementing some of the above commentary into your daily talent acquisition strategies.