Consider a Wider Pool of Candidates
All employers want to hire “perfect fit” candidates. Many construction companies will not grant interviews to people who lack flawless pedigrees. In today’s tight labor market, it may be a smart move for employers to begin considering a wider pool of candidates. Competition for top candidates is fierce. There are a lot of candidates on the market now who may not be perfect, but they are good, they are being overlooked, and they merit consideration.
Are Your Job Qualification Requirements Too Stringent?
There was a time when it was much more common for employers to interview and hire B players. This changed during the 2008 recession, when there were so many candidates on the market that hiring managers became more selective. Employers set the bar higher by adding additional qualifying criteria. Now that the recession is over, those companies may need to take a fresh look at their job qualification requirements in light of today’s labor market. Does your company really want to turn away a candidate with a stellar work history and 20 years of valuable construction industry experience simply because they lack a specific type of degree from a narrow list of schools? Hiring criteria developed during the last recession may be doing your company a disservice today.
Develop Your Own Star Players
Because we are in such a candidate-hot market, now is the perfect time to give worthy candidates with a few perceived imperfections a second chance—or to give an inexperienced but hard working candidate a new opportunity.
A construction professional I know who is currently seeking to advance his career is a perfect example. I will call him Bob. Bob came to the construction industry later in life, and he has a college degree in a non-industry specific field. Though he lacks A-player credentials (i.e. the “right” degree from a top tier university…etc.), Bob is motivated and capable. He learned fast on the job and has performed very well. He is now running multi-million dollar projects. Even though he has a strong work ethic, great experience, and enormous potential, many employers will not interview him because he does not have the pedigree they want to see. It can be a very smart move to invest in the potential of individuals like Bob who, though he may not be a perfect fit because of his background, has a strong work ethic and is properly motivated.
I am neither suggesting that employers lower their standards, nor that they should pay a recruiter to bring them B-level candidates. My point is that it can be a smart move to keep an open mind and widen the net if necessary. Pedigree is important, but there are other characteristics that are equally important. Look at the attributes of individual candidates for signs of potential. It may take extra effort to discover promising alternative candidates and hard work to help them realize their full potential, but this extra work will be worthwhile if you end up with a budding star player on your team.