How Your Hiring Speed Impacts Quality of Construction Employees

Keeping construction managers trained up on hiring practices and motivated by company leadership is key to getting the precious few best candidates

You Are Hired Freedigitalphotos

A slow hiring process can be a significant risk to attracting and hiring the best candidates for construction management positions. Kathy Cole, president of DK Cole Co., an executive search firm with a specialty division for construction operations and finance management positions, told attendees at the 2017 Construction Financial Management Association Annual Conference that the human-resources adage “Slow to hire. Quick to fire” has created a false sense that speed impinges on the quality of the hiring process.

“In today’s world, if you want to have the best candidates you have to move quickly,” Cole says. “You’ve got to have a process in place that works, that you can move through quickly.

“How important is speed?

  • “The top 10% of available candidates are gone [hired] in 10 days or less;
  • "One in four candidates apply for jobs at ten or more companies;
  • “Seventy-five percent of active candidates interview with at least three companies.”

A slow hiring process can make top performers think your company moves sluggishly in everything, and that will hurt your reputation as an employer.

“The biggest bottleneck in the hiring process – proven by research and with my own clients – is the hiring manager for the position,” Cole says. “How many of you know somebody who says ‘I’ve been hiring people for years. I’m great at it’? If they hire five to ten people a year, they cannot possibly keep up with the fast-changing dynamics of the marketplace.”

Managers need training on current hiring practices, and they need to be held accountable to make finding the best people a priority despite busy day jobs.

“Company leaders need to set the tone from the very highest levels of the company that hiring is a priority; that there’s nothing more important than having good people in your organization,” Cole says. “It’s really important that hiring managers get trained to not only understand the dynamics of the marketplace, but also to learn good interview techniques.

“You also need to encourage them to use skype video, facetime, other video tools to get face-to-face interviews done when there isn’t time to make it happen in person.

“Measure your time to fill a position and use some type of reporting system,” Cole says, “Especially when you have a significant number of hires to make in a short period of time.”

More on Developing More Effective Hiring Practices

Cole called the weaknesses she routinely sees in her clients’ employment practices “hiring process risks” because they allow the best job candidates to slip away from talent-constrained construction companies. Here are links to her explanations of the five key risks:

  1. Writing the wrong candidate profile
  2. Attracting a small candidate pool
  3. Slow hiring process
  4. Poor candidate interview experience and employer brand
  5. Mismanaged offer process and due diligence