Speed Up Construction Hiring: 5 Ways To Beat The Labor Shortage

speed up construction hiring

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Hiring and Applicant Tracking

Construction hiring continues to be challenging.

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there were 415,000 open construction jobs in March 2022.

It’s no secret that many construction employers are struggling to find workers.

Construction lost 600,000 jobs during the downturn. Many had been held by boomers who either retired or left the industry. Millennials are not as interested in construction jobs as previous generations.

The demand for construction and extraction employees will grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028.

If the government continues to spend on infrastructure, the crisis will intensify.

If you own a construction company, you don’t need anyone to remind you of the situation. You’re living it.

You may have positions that have been unfilled for months. Your projects may be delayed because you can’t spread your staff any thinner.

Want to Grow in 2022? Focus on Recruiting.

It you want to grow while building is booming, get serious about recruitment.

Hiring Speed is Critical

Since many construction employers are staying staffed, clearly people are applying.

How can you compete?

Do you offer good pay and benefits? Does your company upport work/life balance? Do you invest in your employees with cross-training and advancement opportunities?

Certainly, firms with above-average pay/benefits and an employee-friendly culture are attracting their share.

But there is another critical variable: time-to-hire. If you have a favorable Employment Value Proposition, you need to speed up hiring.

Did you know that the average time-to-fill in construction is 12.7 days?

How long does it take you to find a skilled tradesperson or project manager? 12 days? 15 days? 30 days? If your company takes longer than average, you are missing out on the best construction candidates.

12.7 days. That’s not a lot to work with.

Optimize Your Recruiting Infrastructure

Clearly, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your construction recruiting operation.

5 Ways to Speed up Construction Hiring

Let’s discuss how to speed up specific processes in the hiring workflow:

1. Post construction jobs faster
2. Improve construction job description management
3. Define your hiring criteria and automate first-pass filtering
4. Schedule interviews with ATS calendar integration
5. Faster background and reference checks

Let’s get into the details.

A Quality ATS is Your Answer

Recruiting without specialized software is like pouring a foundation without a cement truck. The foundation for hiring is your applicant tracking system (ATS).

An ATS speeds up everything. Everything.

Job posting. Creating an applicant database. Candidate scoring. Interview scheduling. Sharing hiring team feedback. Background and reference checks. Job offers.

Invest in the Right Hiring Tools

Even small firms can afford a sophisticated ATS. And ‘afford’ isn’t the right word. This is a critical investment. In a cutthroat labor market, you won’t have a chance without the right tools.

For example, in a labor shortage, you’ve got to attract a huge pool of applicants. To do this, you’ve got to post your jobs everywhere. This includes job boards, colleges, trade schools, industry websites, and social media sites.

An ATS helps you cast a wide net quickly because you can post to all those job boards simultaneously.

Keep Construction Job Descriptions Organized

Indeed, managing specialized construction job descriptions is time consuming. Staying organized while posting multiple openings is a juggling act.

Therefore, store your construction job descriptions in your ATS. You’ll never need to start from scratch again.

In addition, consider nontraditional candidates. For example, some firms are having success attracting and training veterans.

‘Offering training to veterans is a great way to fill the talent pipelines as vets often come with a sense of mission and have proven their value to the industry.’ John Wagner, national construction director at Gallagher.

If you want to target this demographic, craft job descriptions specifically targeted to veterans. You can also create training programs for the positions you have the most difficulty filling. To do this, set up apprenticeships and internships specifically for veterans.

Build a Database of Construction Applicants

Your applicant database is your talent pipeline. When the applications start coming in, they pour into your ATS database. Your ATS tracks where the applicant applied. This allows you to see which job boards perform best. With that information, you can concentrate on those job boards going forward.

Make it Easy to Apply

We all run our lives with our smartphone. Construction job seekers are no different as many use their phone to apply. An ATS is the best way to create quick, mobile-friendly applications.

Make sure you have an ATS that lets you create custom questionnaires (applications). Write one for project managers, one for engineers, one for estimators, one for electricians, etc.

The questionnaires have knockout questions that eliminate unqualified candidates. Think about that for a minute. Your ATS saves you tons of time by doing a first-run filtering which isolates a smaller pool of qualified applicants.

Spend a Lot Less Time Reviewing Applications

As mentioned, you don’t start reviewing applications until your ATS has isolated a pool of promising candidates.

Because your time is valuable, don’t waste it on applicants that don’t have the construction skills and experience you need.

How Long Does it Take You to Schedule Interviews?

Let’s talk about a common hiring process bottleneck–interview scheduling. Are you doing it the old fashioned way? Phone calls, emails, and texts?

Candidate self-scheduling is a better way. The latest ATSs integrate with the most popular third-party scheduling calendars, including Google Calendar and Microsoft Office 365.

Certainly, this is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to optimization. Don’t waste any more time with an inefficient scheduling process.

Construction firms with good ATS have whittled the scheduling process down. When you shorten time-to-hire by two or three days, you can make job offers before your competitors and it makes a world of difference.

Faster Background and Reference Checks

Background checks are a necessity in construction. ATSs integrate with background check companies. Your ATS triggers the process and the background check service keeps things moving.

Reference checks are also slick. When candidates apply online, they enter their references. If they advance to the job offer stage (hopefully just a week later), your ATS triggers reference check emails.

You don’t have to ask for their references. You don’t have to call any previous employers. Your ATS takes care of it.

Remove Every Hiring Bottleneck

Remember, you’ve only got a few days once you post a job. The firms that are finding good employees have squeezed out every inefficiency. Their hiring operation is lean, mean, and strategic.

Getting a capable ATS is the first step.

ApplicantStack for Construction

ApplicantStack is designed for both the beginner and veteran construction hiring manager. It accommodates small to large construction firms.

It scales with you. Up or down. It works great for seasonal construction businesses as well.

Professional construction recruiters use our software. Owner-operators use our software.

Get ApplicantStack and Follow Our Hiring Series

First time ATS users learn the basics quickly. With ApplicantStack, that doesn’t take long. Then they can follow our How To Hire Your Next Employee Series. The series focuses on each hiring step.

You don’t have to know recruiter-speak. It’s clear and straightforward.

By focusing on each hiring step individually, you’ll learn how to use the more advanced ApplicantStack tools.

Best Practices For Construction Hiring

Use best practices outlined in How To Hire Your Next Employee series to maximize ApplicantStack.

Our software and our series is your winning combination for overcoming construction hiring challenges.

Updated March 30, 2022

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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