Construction Boom - What to consider when hiring staff...

Construction Boom - What to consider when hiring staff...
Article contributed by Scott Stapleton
Written on 23 November 2015

Over recent months we have seen an absolute peak in demand for key staff in the Auckland construction market.    The consistent message we keep hearing back from companies of all scales across the industry is; that they are struggling to find staff. It doesn't seem to matter what skill set they are looking for, be it; Architecture, Project Management, Quantity Surveying, Estimating, Engineering, or Skilled Trades/Labour the message is the same, where do we find good candidates? The key challenge our clients are facing, is that so many large projects being signed off, everyone is competing from the same pool of talent.   So as a business competing in an environment driven by acute candidate shortages, how do you dare to be different?  

Companies that are doing it well, are asking themselves some of these key questions:

  • What is the availability of candidates vs key requirements for our role?
  • What will attract a loyal candidate to move?
  • How can we structure our recruitment process to attract the best talent, and sell our business?

What is the availability of candidates vs key requirements for our role?  

Companies that are hiring well and are ahead of the eight ball in terms of resourcing are more flexible. Given that in most cases the "hard set" of skills for these roles are pretty similar, and the pool of talent limited, why are some companies doing well, and some companies struggling?   The short of it is they look at the total experience required to perform a particular role, and then ask what skills are transferable. i.e. We need somebody with experience in "Autodesk Revit" as it is critical to the way we document our projects, but this also needs to be within Commercial Projects, and in NZ. In cases where the CAD skill-set was more important than local experience, clients that have looked at overseas talent, have found candidates of very high calibre and largely untapped.

What will attract a loyal candidate to move?  

In a time where flexibility of hours, location, career growth, culture, and scope of projects are more important than pay, we have seen a range of companies adjust their attraction strategies to appeal to top candidates. It can be a simple as moving from a rigid working window to flexi-time, where staff bank hours worked in over time rather than accruing pay. Some companies offer a more fluid approach to resourcing projects, and reallocate junior staff across different industry sectors with a view to "up-skilling" their team and staff engagement. Even involving high performing staff within the firm during the recruitment process can be the difference between a candidate being excited about a career vs indifferent.  

How can we structure our recruitment process to attract the best talent, and sell our business?  

Time kills all deals, and when a candidate is interested in a role they want feedback, fast. Obviously part of this is managing expectations, but if candidates feel a company is taking too long to come back to them after an interview they lose interest. Candidates don't just look at this process at face value, but also surmise, if they can't make this decision in a reasonable time frame, how do they make others? How can you expedite the process? What is critical?Momentum is key. If recruiting within a candidate short market has taught me anything, it is that hours, rather than days, can be the difference between a candidate accepting an offer, over declining one. Make recruitment your priority, and remember the deal isn't done until the candidate has started.  

If you’re interested in discussing strategies around sourcing staff for your business or about what career opportunities we are currently working on give us a call today.

Walker Andersen - It's all about time