6 Strategies to Avoid Recruitment Nightmares

These tactics from hiring expert Luke McCormack include defining your ideal candidate, quantifying the cost of not hiring and more.

Kaitlin N. Schuler, Editor

April 19, 2024

4 Min Read
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Recruitment often is a low priority for construction companies, but in a tight labor market, it should be a top priority for finding great talent, according to one industry hiring expert. 

“There has been a massive change from 10 years ago to where we are now,” said Luke McCormack, CEO of McCormack Partners. “Back in the day you could easily have four to five people lining up for an open position. Recruitment used to be so easy, and these strategies and tactics are now outdated.” 

In a recent webinar for the National Roofing Contractors Association, McCormack discussed how to bring your recruitment process up to date with the demands of the job market and help ensure that high-quality candidates come your way.  

There are plenty of consequences of not hiring, he added, including project delays and overruns, increased employee turnover and an increase in injuries and accidents.   

Here are six strategies McCormack suggests to improve your recruitment outcomes.  

1 | Treat staffing like quality or health and safety. 

Your priorities should be recruitment, sales, marketing, operations and finance. Recruitment needs the same level of respect and emphasis as the rest of the sectors of your business. 

“I don’t blame business owners for not adapting to the changes in the market,” McCormack said, “but now is the time to really adapt and innovate and use the energy you have to gain market share and translate it into hiring.” 

Previous strategies and tactics don’t work anymore and candidates are not coming to you anymore, he added. You need to go out and get them.  

2 | Quantify the cost of not hiring. 

According to Chris Czarnik, author of “Winning the War for Talent” and the 2023 IRE keynote speaker who joined McCormack’s webinar as a copresenter, the way to quickly quantify this cost is two to two-and-a-half times the cost of that employee’s salary without benefits.  

For example, if you have a position for a project manager with a $90,000 salary, Czarnik said, the cost to the company while the position is open is somewhere between $180,000 and $225,000.  

“If you represent that on your P&L (statement) as the ‘cost of lack of talent,’ you will start treating it with the same urgency and resources you would a quality or safety issue of the same magnitude,” Czarnik said.   

3 | Create the perfect employee persona.  

McCormack says to define exactly what you need based on specific details and cultural fit. By doing that, your recruitment team will be better equipped to find the candidates you want.  

“For example, instead of saying just that you need a project manager, say instead that we’re looking for a project manager who lives within 30 miles of Dallas who has five years’ experience as a commercial roofing project manager working with metal roofing in the new construction market,” said McCormack. “This person also needs five years’ experience working with five direct reports and five indirect reports and managing four to five small projects and one large project at a time.” 

More important, though, is ensuring cultural fit, says McCormack. He suggests making use of tools such as personality assessments for everyone on your team and then for your top interviewees. You can then create the employee breakdown in your business and determine if a candidate is likely to fit into your team.  

4 | Enhance your digital recruitment strategy. 

This can be something simple such as creating LinkedIn banners for your team members’ profiles to indicate you are always hiring for high-quality people who want a long-term career and good pay.

“This shows the market that you are thriving and you are looking for ways to move forward in the market via hiring,” said McCormack. “The candidate will have better connotations with your company than if you have nothing out there.” 

On free job boards, enhance your profile with attractive imagery and up-to-date information. It shows that you have your sights on recruitment and aren’t simply waiting for candidates to come to you. 

5 | Streamline the recruitment process. 

High-quality candidates will often pull themselves out of the recruitment process when it is long and disjointed, according to McCormack. 

“Keep it to a maximum of two weeks, and make sure there is engagement with the candidate every 48 hours,” he said. “Candidates say that anything longer makes the company seem unprepared and too scared to make a decision. It leaves them feeling frustrated and undervalued.” 

Even a simple text or email to let them know you are progressing with their application makes a difference.  

6 | Define your company’s career pathways.  

Candidates want to know what their career could look like in the future, what their options are, how their salary and benefits might change and other details that affect their career trajectory.  

By outlining the career options for candidates and employees, you can better retain them and help them understand their options for growth. 

“Human beings like reassurance and having clear visions for career progress is a big help with that,” McCormack said.  

About the Author(s)

Kaitlin N. Schuler

Editor, Infrastructure & Construction, Informa Markets

Kaitlin Schuler has nearly a decade of experience as an editor and journalist. Prior to joining Informa, Schuler served as special projects editor for Professional Remodeler magazine and, previously, editor for the American Nuclear Society. She earned a master's in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and a bachelor's in English from the University of Michigan. She now resides in southwest Michigan with her husband and two cats.

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