Quality candidates flooding the market

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Building Recruitment managing director Kevin Everett

Building Recruitment managing director Kevin Everett shares 10 interviewing tips for employers to ensure they can efficiently manage the current huge influx of applications.

Following up on my previous article regarding upgrading of staff and why now is the best time, with so much uncertainty in the current market I am finding many pockets of activity, especially in the residential and manufacturing side of the industry.

The number of candidates applying has increased hugely, and the positive from that is the quality of applicant is very high.

From project managers, estimators and quantity surveyors, to senior management and salespeople, I have been very impressed, as have my clients.

Here are some statsistics for the construction industry from Seek NZ:

Hard-hit industries showing change

Many industries which were hit hard by lockdown have seen an upturn in job ad volumes as restrictions ease.

Here are the industries with the most job ads on site, and the percentage increase in job ad numbers compared to pre-Covid-19:

Trades and Services (59%): Roles such as building trades, labourers and automotive trades.

Information and communication technology (54%): Developers/programmers, business/systems analysts, software engineering, help desk and IT support, project management.

Health care and medical (82%): Psychology, counselling, social work and nursing (aged care and general medical), physiotherapy, dental and medical administration.

Manufacturing, transport and logistics (57%): Warehousing, storage and distribution, machine operators and assembly and process work, and road transport.

Construction (57%): Project management, foreperson/supervisors, plant and machinery operators.

We are seeing a huge increase in clients looking for staff. Our job order rates are now higher than they were before lockdown.

This certainly backs up my view that now is the best time to be looking at hiring. For the past four years or more, we have been in a skills shortage market, and it was the candidates controlling the employment process, usually resulting in higher salaries being offered to attract them.

There is a huge shift back to the employer. There are more skilled people now available who are looking for longevity and, therefore, salary expectations have softened as job security has become more important.

We have seen a huge increase in clients hiring which shows it’s not all doom and gloom out there. So if you are not being proactive at this time then you will certainly miss the boat to ensure you are ready for when the market moves, which it will.

If you are looking to start the employment trail and not using our services, that’s OK — I will forgive you.

However, I thought I would share some interviewing ideas for employers to ensure they can manage the huge influx of applications.

Ten tips to ensure a good recruitment process:

Before advertising make sure you have a detailed Job Description. This will help set expectations and writing the job advert. Ensure your advert is legally worded, otherwise it could be embarrassing to you and your brand.

Ensure you have the resources to quickly respond to every applicant, even if it is a rejection, as not doing so can damage your employer brand.

Be prepared for lots of emails/phone calls from either candidates asking questions, applicants still applying from overseas or recruiters wanting to supply candidates.

Know exactly the skills you need. List in a priority 1-5 which are non-negotiable, and which would be good to have but not essential.

Ensure you allow yourself the time to conduct interviews without disruption (45 to 60 minutes).

Study each resume with a fine-tooth comb and list questions you need answered around any gaps you find, such as many short-term contracts or employment.

Then make a skills matrix to track candidates’ performance to ensure you recall vital information, as you may interview a lot more candidates than you think.

List questions you need answered to ensure they meet your needs and prove they can do what they say they can do. Use open-ended questions and ask for examples of how they would do tasks.

Ensure you get the candidate to do 70% of the talking during the interview. Your job is to ask questions, sit and listen to the answers. Ensure your questions are legally allowed to be asked.

Ensure you sell your business, despite it being an employer-focused market. Your competitors are looking to enhance their team too. Why would candidates want to work for you?

Be decisive as delays can be costly.

Do not contact current or past employers for a reference without permission from the candidate. This could get you into trouble. The Privacy Act comes with serious breach penalties.

Remember, Building Recruitment is a huge supporter of Registered Master Builders. We offer special rates to members, and can now offer up to six-monthly instalments, interest free, on all permanent placement fees (conditions apply).

We are also your go-to people for labour hire services, including labourers, hammerhands and carpenters. For more information visit www.buildingrecruitment.co.nz.