I was seeking a project manager with one to five years of experience, and a senior designer with eight to 10 years. After spending four months posting job openings on Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter, I received one qualified candidate for the PM and none for the designer.
Eventually, I realized that the process was just too time-consuming and difficult to continue.
Through a cost-benefit analysis, I decided to hire a recruiter to handle it all.
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Prepping the Recruiter
I found the recruiter through recommendations from other remodelers, and it was helpful to have someone with experience recruiting for the construction industry. The next phase was communicating what I needed to the recruiter. I sent job descriptions over and we had several kick-off calls for each position. In those calls, we talked through what I was seeking.
When the recruiter sent resumes or LinkedIn profiles, I would look, feel them out, and begin interviews. Afterward, I’d tell the recruiter what I did and did not like about each candidate. This allowed us to hone in on what I was looking for. It was a team approach.
One important thing to me in this process was not poaching from companies I know and respect, such as fellow members of the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI). I provided the recruiter with a list of local NARI members as well as other remodelers that I knew and said they could not go after these companies. If someone on that list approached them, we’d have a conversation about it (but the answer would probably be no).
Home builders and commercial construction companies were fair game, but commercial pays substantially higher than residential, so it would be unlikely a candidate would be interested.
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Finding Our Candidates
The recruiter pre-screened candidates, ran background checks, called references, and passed along the notes to me to determine if I’d like to set up an interview. They would even run the candidates through a personality survey that would generate interview questions to ask. There was a lot of support. From there, we went to the offer stage and worked with the recruiter to develop and present that offer.
We only made two offers, one to each of our eventual hires. Our project manager came to us locally from a roofing company. Our senior designer is moving to Dallas from Louisiana. We had interviewed her once virtually and then flew her in to meet the team.
If you’re a larger company with an office manager or human resources, you could have either of those team members work on finding candidates for you. But in my position, that was not possible.
Hiring a recruiter was definitely worth it, although not every candidate was great. For a while, it felt as though they were sending candidates just to send candidates, but that vetting process helped me define what we needed.
Recruiters are not specialists in construction, so if they see a portfolio and think it’s impressive, I can tell them why it did not impress me. It’s a collaborative effort.