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The demand for qualified workers in the construction industry is at an all-time high. The United States is more than three million homes short of the demand from would-be homebuyers and there’s ample opportunity for government contracting with the passing of the Infrastructure Bill this year.

But there has also been a seismic shift in the workforce in the last couple of years, leaving many companies scrambling to compete for talent. According to HireVue’s 2022 Global Hiring Trends Report, 55% of companies say they experienced higher employee turnover last year than the year before and 40% can’t find qualified candidates to fill open roles. Finding qualified workers quickly has never been more important, yet it is the number one challenge companies are facing in 2022.

To address the labor shortage, companies in the construction industry need to rethink how they hire. And in this competitive hiring landscape, identifying the top candidates with the best skills before someone else does is critical. Below are key tips for finding qualified candidates more quickly.

Look beyond resumes

Employers who prioritize skills over resumes are better positioned for success in an increasingly competitive economy. HireVue’s data found that companies experiencing lower employee turnover have adopted a skills-first approach to talent acquisition (54%) and/or replaced resumes with skills-based assessments (40%). Go beyond what’s written on resumes and look at the overall person. Hiring technology provides science-backed insight into the critical skills and traits needed for success—and pre-hire assessments can also measure industry-specific skills such as a propensity for safety and compliance.

Consider previously overlooked workers

The report found that many employers are sourcing from previously overlooked workers, including mature-aged workers (47%), undergraduate workers (44%) and junior workers (38%). In traditionally male-dominated industries like construction, the recent labor shortage has also given women the opportunity to step in—and, by some accounts, they are smashing the construction industry’s concrete ceiling.

Make the experience mobile-first

Today, 80% of candidates are searching for jobs on their phones. There’s no way around it. Employers need to meet candidates where they are. Offering solutions like flexible video interviewing that can be completed on any device, anywhere, anytime; and text-powered chatbots to prescreen candidates and schedule interviews not only create a positive candidate experience but streamlines the hiring process—allowing companies to start making offers quicker.

Automate scheduling

When speed matters, don’t waste time scheduling and rescheduling interviews. Hiring technology tools can automate manual tasks, so hiring teams can focus on high-touch, high-value tasks. Plus, tech tools that can access a calendar and let candidates schedule and reschedule their own interviews help employers meet with candidates faster.

Be flexible

In 2021, 42% of HireVue interviews were completed outside of regular work and school hours. When looking for construction workers, it’s important to remember that many candidates have full-time jobs already—and sometimes more than one—so interviewing during a typical nine-to-five setting may not be possible. Offering on-demand interviews allows candidates to put their best foot forward at a time that works for them.

Be upfront about expected job responsibilities

Be sure to set workers up for success by offering realistic job previews; look at what the day-to-day activities, responsibilities and working conditions will look like. Use hiring technology that allows employers to incorporate a preview into the interview process, saving time for both parties.

To compete for the best candidates and become an employer of choice in this new world of talent, organizations in the construction sector need to implement tools to help them reduce the number of steps in their hiring and onboarding processes, identify the best candidates earlier, and make it easier for those candidates to build a relationship with them. Companies that don’t continue to evolve risk surrendering the innovation and overall business success that only the best talent can bring.

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