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  • The Great (Jobs) Void & How to Fill It The Great (Jobs) Void & How to Fill It

    We’ve done it again. According to the latest BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the number of unfilled construction jobs edged up to yet another five year high at 124,000. Apparently all you contractors are itching to get started on all these new jobs, but don’t have enough people to do them. Chalk it up to another unpleasant side effect of the housing bubble and subsequent burst, when workers left the construction field in droves.

    Our industry is certainly doing its part to contribute to economic recovery, what with the slow-but-steady increase in construction activity and adding 90,000 jobs to the U.S. economy so far this year. But we need the manpower to keep it up. Do you have some openings you need to fill in your company? Here are some tips to keep in mind when seeking out the right person:

    • When advertising for the job opening, focus more on the results and outcomes you want from that position, rather than duties and responsibilities. Professional headhunter Scott Love suggests asking yourself “What are three things that the person in this position needs to accomplish in order for us to deem them successful?” and then building your employment ad on that.
    • Find out why someone would want to work for your company. Poll your current employees in an anonymous survey that asks why they joined your company, and why they would recommend a friend to work for you. Use that language to help pull in candidates who will be a good fit.
    • Consider the job opening in terms of its career potential to attract younger workers. It’s unfortunate that our industry has a less appealing reputation than its white collar counterparts in terms of career viability in the minds of many young workers (and their parents). Consider the ways that someone can develop professionally and achieve a fulfilling, long-term livelihood in your company. What opportunities can you offer for growth and advancement? In what ways is working for your company rewarding?
    • Think outside of the salary box. Perhaps you feel that you cannot offer the pay that a larger competitor can, but you must remember that, especially for many younger workers, that’s not always the biggest incentive. What else can you offer? Flexible schedules, ample paid time off, continuing education, special perks like memberships or tech gadgets, unlimited access to your corporate jet…okay, perhaps that’s a just a tad far-fetched, but you get the idea!
    • Don’t be afraid to take a change on an imperfect-on-paper person. Go with your gut. If you receive a resume that doesn’t quite meet the specified requirements but for some – even unknown – reason tugs at you, then call the candidate for an interview. You may be pleasantly surprised by finding someone who is just the right fit.
    • Read between the lines on the resume. In an article by Jessica Stillman for Inc.com, Google recruiter Michael B. Junge suggests that employers pay attention to how candidates tout their experience in their resume. “An old mentor used to drill home the distinction between ‘passive’ and ‘active’ language,” Junge recalls. “He claimed there was a significant difference in the productivity of people who described their work in terms of accomplishments and results compared to those who talked about responsibilities and duties. To this day, I’m much more likely to call someone who has designed, built, delivered, initiated, earned than someone who has been ‘tasked with’ or ‘responsible for.’ As an employer, it makes sense to focus on people who want to deliver and perform, not those who feel like they have to.”
    • To that end, look for enthusiasm, attitude, and motivation in your candidates. You want a go-getter and willing learner who is going to contribute to a positive company culture just as much as – if not more than – trade competence.
    • Feel free to use social media…but don’t lean too heavily on it. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are certainly useful ways to connect to and build relationships with potential employees, but they aren’t the most likely place to find someone to fill your job openings.
    • Discover your brand, and build on that. Just as it’s important to know and communicate your “brand” in marketing, it’s just as vital to figure out your unique selling proposition to job seekers. What makes your company special? What differentiates you from all the other companies vying for that candidate’s interests? You want them to feel completely comfortable with you and your culture, knowing that you have their best interests at heart and will take care of them, so be prepared to show how you can do just that. Check out this recent viral video from Canadian airliner West Jet that is about to do wonders for their brand image. While it isn’t about employment branding per se, it’s a heartwarming example of how a company can create a feeling of trust and goodwill (plus, it’s full of feel-good Christmas spirit, in case you’re running short on that right now)
    • Don’t forget to list your job openings on the BIA website for free! Email Melanie Capanelli at melanie@lancasterbuilders.org with your employment ad to have it posted.

    Hopefully at least a couple of these tips gave you some good insight to mull over when you’re looking to fill your job voids, so that you can get to work on filling your customers’ needs sooner!

    Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net, xedos4.