Attraction Is Key in a Candidate-Short Market

Top candidates need wooing, especially given today’s labor shortage.

Picture this: Your company is growing! Business is booming, and you find yourself in need of a new estimator. You know how competitive the construction market is, and you want to ensure that you can reel in an exceptional new team member. You’ve identified a promising candidate — but how can you make sure that both parties are excited and confident moving forward? 

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The best candidates need to be attracted 

In this candidate-short market, attraction is a critical component of recruiting new employees and will be for the foreseeable future. It starts with the basics: a solid company, a strong backlog and competitive compensation packages. While career growth and stability are the most common reasons that strong candidates decide to make a move, they also expect a bump in compensation when they start with a new company.  

Of course, putting together an offer is about more than just dollars and cents — you want that person to feel “wooed” and appreciated. They need to feel like the company really values them and wants them to come on board. A new employee should start with a high level of enthusiasm for their new company, and they should be excited to start contributing.  

You know that your company is a great place to work, but it’s important to prove that to your candidate during the recruiting process by putting in the effort to attract them and start off on the right foot. 

Trust is needed on both sides 

While it’s true that a new employee is an unknown quantity in some ways to a company, it’s important to remember that the company is equally unknown to the new employee. You can tell a candidate that the owner takes care of his or her people and that the company is a great place to work, but the candidate doesn't know that first-hand; they have to decide to trust the hiring team. And that trust should be reciprocated. If a candidate and their references both say the candidate is an excellent employee and a good investment, the hiring team should take the same leap of faith they’re asking of the candidate.  

In addition, if you’re working with a recruiter with whom you have a positive relationship and work history, you should extend that same trust to him or her. 

The clock is ticking 

From the moment a candidate takes a call, whether it’s from a recruiter or your company, word begins to travel. Given the enormity of the construction industry’s labor shortage, and no indication of improvement any time soon, competing firms are going to reach out immediately to A-players who are open to career changes.  

Even if your company is the first one on a candidate’s list, you’re still competing against the market. Therefore, you need to clearly communicate your desire to bring that candidate on board, and you need to do it before a competitor comes in with a stronger offer. By the time other firms start calling your top prospect, you want that person to feel so appreciated and valued that they give a resounding “no” to the idea of a competing offer. 

It’s easy to think that because you know how special your company is, prospective employees should know it too. But the reality is that in such a competitive market, you still have to woo the best candidates. By making the effort to attract strong candidates, establishing mutual trust and making your hiring process as time-efficient as possible, you can set your company and your new employee up for a long-term, successful partnership. 

Guy Ross is executive vice president at Kimmel & Associates, specializing in working with general contractors in California, Nevada and Arizona. He was named Group Leader for the General Construction Division in 2015. Ross holds a BS degree in psychology and an MA in Psychological Counseling from Appalachian State University.

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