Successful Hiring: 3 Ways to Avoid the War for Talent

Dec 28, 2022

It’s no secret that competition for top talent is fierce, with construction leaders working overtime to fill roles at nearly every level, from the field to the C-suite. The more senior the position, the harder it is to identify and recruit exceptional candidates.

There are plenty of ways companies can set themselves apart from their competitors when it comes to their recruiting processes, but wouldn’t it be great if hiring managers could side-step the battlefield altogether? Here are three ways construction companies can avoid the war for talent and build strong teams at the same time:

#1: Retain & Promote Your Existing Talent

As Sun Tzu says, “Every battle is won before it is fought.” The easiest way to avoid entering the war for talent is to retain the talent you already have on your team, and promote your high performers rather than looking to fill high-level positions externally. Improving your retention rates can be as simple and inexpensive as making appreciative phone calls to individual employees to recognize their efforts, sending birthday cards to employees’ family members, or reviewing your onboarding procedures to make sure you’re treating each employee as a valuable member of the team even before their first day on the job.

Promoting from within your company when a leadership position becomes available is less expensive than recruiting and training someone new. It also shows your employees that you’re invested in their future with the company and that you want to help them grow and develop in their careers. All of that adds up to a more engaged, loyal workforce, reducing costly turnover and minimizing your need to compete with other companies for the best talent in your market.

#2: Broaden Your Market Search

When companies do need to bring new employees on board, too many hiring managers limit their searches to their local market. Even if you live in a larger market area, you’re missing out on great candidates by keeping your search area to one location. You’re also increasing the likelihood that you’ll come up against your competitors, who are fishing in the same pond for the same top talent. Instead, consider branching out.

In a post-COVID world, some roles have evolved so that they can be done remotely, especially in areas like estimating and design. For roles that require in-person work, it’s often still worthwhile to consider offering relocation or travel packages to the best-available candidates in any market. This represents a higher up-front cost for exceptional talent, but that investment will pay dividends and save the company time, money, and stress in the long run.

#3: Build a Reputation that Precedes You

When a recruiter or hiring manager reaches out to a prospective candidate on behalf of a company, that candidate is going to do a few things right away to evaluate the quality of the opportunity. First, they’re going to Google the company. How your company is branded matters, and your online presence (including your website, social media accounts, and online reviews) can make or break a candidate’s interest in working with you.

Second, they’re going to ask around. It’s a small world, and word travels fast in a market like this. Your company culture, your relationships with subcontractors, and the impressions you make on current and former employees or those who interview with your company - all of these things create a market reputation that will find its way to candidates. Make sure you know what your company’s reputation is, and give current employees and interviewees a chance to weigh in on what your company is doing well, and where you can improve. Being open to feedback and willing to grow and adapt are qualities that employees value highly in companies.

The war for talent is real, but companies can avoid getting swept up in the competition by investing in the retention and promotion of their current employees, broadening their search to include the best candidates in any market, and making sure they treat people well and have a reputation that proves it. These simple steps can help companies build exceptional teams without having to fight in the trenches with their competitors.

About the Author

Charlie Kimmel

As President and CEO, Charlie has dedicated his 25+ year career to executive search at Kimmel & Associates. Charlie joined Kimmel & Associates in 1990 as a Recruiter. In 1993, he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a BA in History.

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