You can build a better team by hiring the right way, says Brad Humphrey, president and founder, Pinnacle Development Group. Check out his tips here and learn more at his World of Concrete 2015 seminar.
Q. What are some of the pitfalls that you’ve seen concrete professionals fall into when hiring?
- Hiring the worker who can walk, talk, and chew gum at a minimum. Because workers are in such short supply, more contractors are hiring just about anyone who is "alive."
- Not having a clear understanding of what skills, experience, knowledge are really needed/wanted for a specific job.
- Not asking enough questions about the applicant's background and work history.
- Believing that a new worker can be trained to do [the job] and then not spending the time to train, or not having the skills and patience to train. This actually happens a lot.
- Not truly understanding the "competencies" of what they are looking for.
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes people make in hiring?
- Hiring people "just like me."
- Hiring with the idea that "I can teach him what to do."
- Hiring based on a one time and short interview.
- Hiring when they are in the toughest spot...the first person who walks in.
Also, contractors are often guilty of not asking the tough questions when interviewing because they WANT to just fill the open need on a crew.
Q. What makes hiring the right people such a challenge?
Humphrey: Most contractors are "doers"...this is a tactical industry so strategic thinking is not always practiced. However, hiring done correctly is a strategic process, requiring patience to work through the process. Many also lack a plan to hire. When they are going to hire they do not have any sort of "on-boarding," orientation, and first 90-Day plan to integrate the new worker into the company.
Q. How is today's economic environment a factor in hirng?
Humphrey: We're some 1.5 million workers short in total for construction workers. It's very hard to find workers right now because our industry does not have a great reputation, due in-part to the 2008-2012 economic meltdown, rising cost of benefits, etc. Another challenge is that we're seeing a higher exiting of seasoned veterans, therefore we are soon to be hurting for experienced workers who can teach/mentor our younger workers. On a different point...I would recommend that soon to be retiring craftsman are considered to be retained as a consultant who can train the young workers.
Q. What about when hiring is done right?
Humphrey: Here's an example. A concrete contractor once observed an assistant manager at a fast food hamburger store quietly and calmly organize the staff when the drive through broke during a busy lunchtime. After watching this young man (about 20-years-old) demonstrate such great leadership presence, the contactor offered the young man a job because, as he told the young man, "I can teach you concrete. I can't teach you that sort of leadership." The young man is still a "veteran" foreman for the same contractor today.
Q. What’s the important thing managers can do to avoid hiring the wrong person?
Humphrey: Know exactly what sort of skills, personality, and role a new worker will be fulfilling if hired. In other words "define what the right person looks like." Most contractors really don't identify this and wind up hiring anyone who will apply and doesn't have a clear hiring issue, like an arrest warrant, etc. This entire process needs to reduce the "guesswork" involved with hiring and build more "profiles of good workers" to hire too!