Today’s job hunter faces great challenges when seeking employment within the construction industry. The market in A/E/C (construction, architecture and engineering) for hiring has been very slow, and at some points have reached over 20% unemployment, making this industry one of the most difficult markets to work in. However, the good news is, even in the toughest markets, there are still 80% of the people within this industry are employed. There are many ways to obtain a construction job interview, but some are more effective than others. Job interviewing is obtained from a variety of sources, many of which are offline but many are now online. When job hunting in the A/E/C industry. Job candidates need to stay focused on their network of contacts within the industry, and on niche resources advertising construction jobs.
Below are the top 6 ways to obtain a construction job interview. Job seekers should focus on utilizing all methods simultaneously in today’s tough employment environment.
1. Private Or Unadvertised Construction Job Openings
About three out of four construction management hires, including those handled by construction search firms, take place through private or unadvertised construction job openings (openings unknown to the public). These construction jobs are the most confidential and difficult to find, but have the greatest potential for job flexibility and obtaining an exceptional construction salary and compensation.
Private openings are often rarely managed with more than a few candidate interviews before a hire takes place. You need to be one of those.
Even when there are no current construction job opportunities available, an employer can often create a construction job opening when the right candidate comes along, even in the worst of times. Some employers will want to upgrade their weak links during a down turn, while others want to expand and capture market share while their competition is holding back.
You need “to come along” before the construction job opening becomes public. That’s where networking comes in. A recommendation from an influential referral fosters immediate trust and respect from a potential employer, and can provide you treatment as a choice candidate.
2. Private Networking
In your Rolodex or contact manager, research your list of key contacts. Also look through your industry’s association membership directory, and call every one you know who has a job in your field that might be willing to help you with job leads. In many cases, your close friends and business associates will be the best sources for job leads and referrals. They are also most likely to respect your confidentiality and offer their genuine help. In addition, they may even be able to refer you to a construction recruiter or other construction employment resources.
They might also be good references and sources for ideas as to what is going on in your market, who is hiring and what firms are doing well.
3. Direct Solicitation
Another good way to obtain a construction job interview is to directly solicit construction employers of choice. Research the industry and identify six to ten primary targets for your search.
Within these target firms, identify the direct construction hiring authority (immediate construction manager of the construction position you seek) and contact him/her directly. Try to obtain a personal meeting by stating your construction employment interest. You can email them, fax them, send them a letter in the postal mail or call them. Contacting subcontractors or suppliers to see who can give you an introduction is also a good idea.
Another approach is to find out where the supervisor frequents such as a industry trade association, or other facility that would foster a chance meeting. Of course, the least effective and most risky means to contact the supervisor is through the mail. However, if you intend to send something through the mail, use express mail in order to get the proper attention. A direct solicitation risks exposure and may not be the best approach if you are concerned with confidentiality. Even if you ask the employer to respect your privacy, you are still vulnerable, unless you are unemployed and are not concerned with who might intercept your letter.
4. Construction Recruiters
For private or public openings, construction executive recruiters and construction headhunters are experts in penetrating their specialized industry and locating reputable construction companies with attractive opportunities. Construction recruiters can introduce you to well-tailored construction job opportunities with little or no effort on your part. They will keep it confidential. To locate a construction recruiter in your specialty, try to get a referral from a colleague, a local construction trades association, or your competitor’s Human Resources department. A couple of other good sources are Kennedy Publication’s Directory of Executive Recruiters , or the Recruiter’s Online Network at http://www.recruitersonline.com
Be sure to find a construction executive recruiter who highly recommended for his or her professionalism, performance, and ethics. From the start, emphasize to your construction recruiter that your name and credentials must remain anonymous to potential employers unless you authorize release. Ask construction recruiters to contact you only at home, or in your private office, and only with construction opportunities that fit your construction career plan. Good executive recruiters can work within these requirements and may even arrange construction interviews without submitting your construction resume.
Like any brokers, construction recruiters work hardest for candidates who can help them close a sale. Such candidates have a marketable background, are clear on what they want, and are likely to accept a fair offer (usually a 10 to 15% salary increase). Unwillingness to job move immediately, or an unwillingness to accept a fair offer, will discourage recruiters from working with you.
Remember that construction recruiters work for client construction companies, so you may need to wait for the right opportunity. Make sure you get to know two or three pros, and stick with them.
5. Construction Classified or Help Wanted Ads
Advertised construction openings are generally the least effective way to obtain a construction job interview. For employers, using ads is inefficient, expensive and time-consuming usually a last resort. So when you come to an employer’s attention by this route, you are associated with an unpleasant process and with a horde of candidates that the construction company must wade through.
Sending a construction resume is simply not effective. A recent survey from The Department of Labor reported that only 5 out of 100 American jobholders obtained their positions through newspaper want ads. Other surveys indicate that the figure is closer to 2 out of 100. Most resume readers take less than 5 seconds per resume to decide if the construction resume gets looked over or pushed to the rejection pile.
Responding to ads also risks your reputation and confidentiality. Your construction resume may fall into the hands of junior-level administrators, or it gets entered into corporate data banks (perused by anyone who has access to the Human Resources files). This scenario is unlikely to lead to an appropriate offer.
If you do elect to market yourself through advertised openings, check out each construction job opportunity via your network before contacting the company. Try to find out why the construction job opening was not filled privately, how long the search has gone on, and what problems have affected the firm and the incumbent who held the construction position.
In pursuing an advertised opening, you can improve your chances by writing an effective cover letter and by responding to the construction job ad within the first four days. Try to send a construction resume only after speaking to the construction hiring authority and concluding that both parties believe you are the “right” candidate. Interview only with an authority able to offer you a construction job. Bypassing those who have been assigned the rudimentary task of advertising and screening for the construction position (usually the Human Resources Department, office managers, assistants, or secretaries) greatly improves your odds of getting a construction interview. Good sources for advertised construction positions are building trades journals and construction magazines, local construction newspapers, and the online job boards and blogs.
6. Internet Construction Classified Ads
Internet construction ads are generally no more effective than printed ads when it comes to getting a construction interview. However, they usually are more abundant, easier to find, and easier to solicit. In order to increase the odds of success, focus your search by locating construction job databases that specialize in your specific industry such as online blogs, employer directories and job boards like ConstructionExecutive (dotcom) an TradeJobsOnline (dotcom).
Writer Frederick Hornberger of Hornberger Management Company (Wilmington, Delaware). HMC is a construction executive search firm exclusively dedicated to recruiting corporate board members and senior executives for the construction industry. As a construction recruiter, we find Board Directors, Chairman, Presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs and the senior officers who report to them. In addition, we find outside corporate directors and contract executives for consulting or interim assignments. Focusing on construction jobs, a niche within the specialty of construction, allows us to exclusively spend our time cultivating relationships with executives at the summit of the industry. Our focus delivers faster results that more wide-ranging firms simply cannot duplicate.