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How to Find and Hire Construction Workers

In 2022, the construction industry added an average of 19,000 jobs per month, up from 16,000 monthly new jobs created in 2021. This growth has led to increased competition, making it more difficult for many employers to find construction workers to hire. Knowing some key best practices for hiring construction workers can help your business fill your open positions with more quality candidates.

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Where to find construction workers

Advertising your open positions effectively can help you find construction workers with greater ease. There are ways you can let quality candidates know that you’re hiring construction workers with skills, training and experience similar to theirs. Read on to discover some of the best ways to get the word out about your job openings.

1. Your existing employees

Ask a construction worker for recommendations for a good local carpenter, plumber or roofer, and you’re likely to get a list of names of people who they know and trust. Construction relies heavily on teams, so many people who have worked in the industry for years have acquired a large network of friends and acquaintances in various specialties. Start an employee referral program that gives your existing employees an incentive to refer their contacts for your job openings.

Learn more: How to Create an Effective Employee Referral Program

2. Apprenticeship programs

Registered apprenticeship programs train more than 500,000 people per year. If your construction company sponsors one, you can benefit from extra sets of hands and train eager apprentices who may go on to become permanent employees when their apprenticeships end. To get started, contact your nearest ApprenticeshipUSA office.

3. Government agencies

Government agencies that offer job placement services can be a valuable source for candidates. The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service can connect you with veterans who have skills and training that could be an asset to your construction company. Your state’s Department of Labor may also have programs for helping people from vulnerable communities and those with disabilities find employment.

4. Job fairs

If you have numerous open positions to fill, attending local and regional job fairs can help you connect with construction workers looking for jobs like yours. Come prepared to hold in-person interviews on the day of the event, and you may end up hiring construction workers on the spot.

5. Indeed

Posting your open positions on Indeed enables you to connect with job seekers online. You can typically post a job in 10 minutes and immediately start receiving resumes. Add qualifications or a skills assessment, and candidates who don’t meet your requirements or possess the necessary knowledge can be disqualified automatically, saving you time and allowing you to focus on the highest-quality candidates.

You can also check out these five construction job boards for employers

How to attract quality candidates

It’s not enough to just find construction workers. To meet your labor needs, you need quality candidates to apply for your open positions, and you likely face competition.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has undergone major upheaval. As of April 2020, 86% of small construction businesses reported experiencing serious negative effects due to shutdowns, and more than half had reduced work hours for paid employees. Many unemployed construction workers found work in other industries, such as warehousing and deliveries. Others decided to retire early.

Now that construction projects have resumed, many former construction workers aren’t returning to the industry. This means that construction companies in many areas have a smaller candidate pool. Finding ways to differentiate your company from your competitors can increase your chances of successful hires. Here are some ways to do that.

1. Write robust job descriptions

Your job descriptions should do more than just outline the necessary qualifications, education and training necessary for your open positions. Start with a bulleted list of the top three benefits of working for you. Add a benefits of employment section to the bottom of your job description to further explain why construction workers will love working for you. Ensure you provide specific, clear details about what you’re looking for in candidates. Jobseekers are more likely to apply if they feel confident that they’re a good fit for the position.

Learn more: How to Write a Construction Worker Job Description

2. Offer education and training

Hard skills are important in the construction industry, and the training necessary to obtain these skills can be expensive. By providing training and educational opportunities for employees, you can potentially encourage candidates to apply. You can support employee development through tuition reimbursement programs that help pay for a trade school education or by conducting on-site training through third-party providers.

3. Provide benefits and perks for your team

Benefits and perks increase total compensation and can set your company apart from the competition. A benefits package can include more than health, dental and vision insurance. Supplemental disability and accident insurance can be attractive for construction workers, as can retirement plans that allow them to save for the future. Other perks and benefits that may help you find construction workers to hire include paid time off, sick days, extended maternity and paternity leave and free gym memberships.

Learn more: 18 Perks and Benefits for Your Business to Consider

How to screen and interview for construction jobs

Once you have a pool of candidates, you’re ready to narrow down the field through screening and interviewing. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Conduct a preliminary review: Sort through applications and résumés, eliminating any candidates who lack your minimum education and training requirements or who don’t possess the necessary skills and qualifications.
  2. Compile interview questions: Determine what the most important qualities and skills are for success in your open position. Craft at least one open-ended interview question that relates to each.
  3. Schedule and hold interviews: Contact candidates and set up times for interviews. You may want to consider virtual interviewing to expedite the process.
  4. Check references: Contact references provided by employees. Conduct background checks as needed.

How to retain construction workers

After hiring construction workers who are a good fit for the job, you want to keep them on your team for as long as possible. Here are some ways to improve retention:

  • Prioritize safety: Construction workers need to know you value their safety. Comply with all safety rules and regulations and take any complaints about unsafe conditions seriously.
  • Invest in your employees: Training and education programs don’t just help you find construction workers to hire. They can also foster loyalty and encourage your current employees to stay on your team.
  • Recognize achievements: Everyone enjoys praise and recognition. Find ways to recognize the achievements and contributions of the construction workers on your team. Starting an employee of the month program, catering lunches on the job site and holding employee functions to celebrate the completion of big projects are some good starting points.
  • Provide assistance for seasonal workers: If your construction jobs are seasonal, help employees prepare for the layoff season. Explain how to file for unemployment and allow employees to do so while on the clock. If your team members receive unemployment during the off-season, they’re less likely to look for work elsewhere, so they’ll be ready to return next year.

How to hire construction workers FAQs

What are the different types of construction workers?

A construction worker is a general term for someone involved in the building and renovating of infrastructure and buildings. There are also specialties within the field, including carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers, flooring installers, surveyors, glaziers, brick masons, roofers, ironworkers and crane operators.

The construction industry also includes management and professional jobs, such as construction manager, construction project manager, safety manager, construction superintendent and civil engineer.

Is a construction worker a laborer?

At a construction site, a laborer is someone who performs jobs that require physical effort but typically don’t require advanced training to complete successfully. Examples of tasks laborers may perform include preparing construction sites, digging trenches and loading and unloading materials. Laborers are construction workers. However, the term construction worker also includes craftworkers with specialized training, such as plumbers and electricians.

What qualifies as construction experience?

How you define experience for your construction worker positions should depend on the nature of the jobs. If you’re looking to hire entry-level laborers, someone who has previously completed do-it-yourself home improvements may have enough experience. For craftworker positions that require specialized skills and knowledge, experience may come from the completion of an apprenticeship program or from working as a laborer or in a similar craftworker position for a set number of years. Generally, candidates will need more formal experience to succeed in positions that require more independent work or supervising and training other construction workers.

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