Hiring For Construction Projects: The Push Pull Between Timing and Talent

Story by Gemma Beasley / June 21, 2023

Recruiting is a transitory process that can feel uncertain – even when the conditions that surround it are perfect. But as staffing specialists within the Construction and Real Estate industry, we often find ourselves hiring for projects that haven’t yet started or are subject to delays. This often adds a layer of confusion, and if not handled appropriately, it can cause frustration too.

Due to the cyclical nature of the work, our clients often find themselves questioning whether they should get fully staffed so they’re ready to go, or wait to try and secure the right skills when the project kicks off. This conundrum has become even more stark following on from the Covid pandemic and several years of sustained economic and market uncertainty.

This blog will delve into the push and pull dynamics of this dilemma, offering insights and strategies to help you strike the right balance and secure the best talent for your construction projects.

The Trouble With Moving Too Fast Or Slow

When a construction project is on the horizon, there’s near instant pressure to secure the right skills. However, rushing the hiring process without due consideration can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as alienating the talent you wish to secure by failing to deliver a tangible offer on their timescale. This is particularly true for “in demand” talent who may miss out on another opportunity because they were waiting for yours. And if yours then doesn’t come through? They won’t be quick to forget.

But if, instead, you wait until the hire is urgently needed, you risk settling for less suitable candidates. Mobility doesn’t count for much if the available talent doesn’t possess the necessary skills, experience, or alignment with your project’s requirements. Hasty decisions can also lead to hiring individuals who may not be a great fit for any manner of reasons – which can impact project efficiency, team dynamics, and cause setbacks down the line.

Taking the Time to Find the Right Fit

Securing the right talent is a strategic move that can positively impact the success of your construction projects – even if you have to take a risk to get them over the line. Most often, it takes time to find individuals who possess the right expertise, experience, and cultural fit to yield benefits not only for your project, but your long-term business outlook.

Giving yourself time to identify and secure candidates who have a track record of successful project management and construction expertise can contribute to client success while also helping your organization achieve its wider goals.

However, it requires a leap of faith to perfect this strategy without compromising your employer brand. For the price of getting your candidate on board before the project formally starts, you’ll secure the type of skilled talent that aligns with your vision, giving your organization a competitive advantage, and minimizing stress during the hiring process.

Strategies For Balancing Risk

Here are two things you’ll definitely want to do in order to effectively strike the right balance between waiting for projects to start and securing the talent you need.

1. Work with a recruiter who will develop your talent pipeline

The right recruiter will build and maintain relationships with candidates who possess the skills and experience you seek out on a regular basis. By networking, engaging with industry associations, and collaborating with educational institutions can help you create a pipeline of pre-qualified individuals ready to join your team when the project starts.

Partnering with recruiters who specialize in the construction industry can provide access to a larger talent pool and help identify candidates who are ready to mobilize without a lot of notice. We have extensive networks and can save you time and effort in the hiring process.

2. Communicate openly and honestly throughout the process

During initial interactions with candidates, clearly outline the project timelines, start dates, and be clear on any uncertainties. Being upfront about the situation allows candidates to make informed decisions about their availability and level of commitment. If there are significant updates or changes, proactively reach out to candidates and let them know. Keeping them informed helps them stay engaged and reassured about the job ahead.

By prioritizing open and transparent communication, you build trust, foster positive candidate experiences, and manage expectations effectively.

This approach ensures that everyone involved with the project is well-informed, engaged, and aligned with your organization’s hiring process, even in the face of any uncertainty.

Need a counterbalancing force?

Just like you, we’re accustomed to navigating project delays and uncertainty. But as specialist recruiters for the Construction and Real Estate market, we have access to a huge network of talent who are just as aware of how the pendulum swings, and ready to mobilize with little notice.

We work with general contractors, Real Estate developers, and owners’ rep firms to hire professionals in Project Management, Superintendent / Site Supervision, Estimating, Pre-construction, Real Estate development, Director, VP and Executive Search. If you need help navigating the market’s many uncertainties to ensure you’ve got a skilled and aligned team when your construction project begins, get in touch to see how we can help.


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