The construction industry is currently experiencing a surge in the United States. In 2018 alone, new construction in the country was valued at around $1.29 trillion, almost double 2011’s $788 billion. This positive growth trend is projected to continue with a forecasted $1.4 trillion in revenue by the year 2023. Unfortunately, many construction firms are unable to respond to this demand due to the lack of skilled workers.
The construction industry has a persistent labor problem. According to the Associated Contractors of America (AGC), 4 out of 5 construction firms found it difficult to fill both salaried and hourly craft positions in 2019 and around two-thirds of the firms thought that these challenges would continue this year. The labor problem is a huge concern for construction business owners as it has a profound impact on their operations and, ultimately, their bottom line. The lack of personnel means projects take longer than anticipated, which translates to higher prices in their bids and longer completion times.
Construction business owners need to be proactive in addressing labor issues and improving their hiring rates. One way to do so is with the use of automation in the recruitment process. Recruitment automation is the use of software to support and streamline hiring processes, including lead processing, campaign management, and recruitment analytics. Here are some of the ways recruitment automation can help construction companies.
1. Save time from doing repetitive tasks
The recruitment process is filled with many repetitive and lengthy tasks that take a significant chunk of time from a firm’s human resources department. The most time-consuming of all is perhaps the screening process where HR personnel goes through several applications to identify suitable candidates. Doing this process manually can take days for just a single job posting as a recruiter will need to go through every resumé they received.
Automating the recruitment process can free your human resources department of the burden of doing these tasks over and over again and give them more time to do other productive jobs. Dedicated recruitment software can scan resumés and CVs based on the keywords that you include in a job search. This functionality cuts down the manual time spent on each application by screening for phrases that denote experience and skills whether you’re hiring for back office functions like mechanics lien and preliminary notice management and accounting to field operations. In addition, you can also set pre-screening questions during the application phase to automatically include or exclude candidates.
Finally, some types of dedicated recruitment software also allow you to send out automatic responses after resumés are scanned. This lets candidates know the result of their application immediately and makes for a better application experience.
2. Target the right job candidates
One of the best uses of automation in the recruitment process is targeting specific candidates on the internet through the use of programmatic recruitment. Programmatic recruitment helps construction employers reach qualified applicants on a greater scale than traditional job advertising. It uses a dedicated software algorithm based on data aggregated from multiple sources to drive ad-buying decisions aligned with a firm’s recruitment goals. This allows recruiters to automate job placements in real-time to reach specific demographics and target relevant and active job seekers.
Similar to commercial job advertising, programmatic recruitment aims to reach job seekers across multiple channels and devices. The prevalence of the use of mobile devices in job-seeking makes the medium the top priority when reaching job seekers. Desktops and laptops may have lower time usage but they also provide rich opportunities and should be tapped by recruiters to optimize the job search.
As for the channels to use, online job postings and online display ads are the most effective in reaching specific demographics. However, email job alerts, SMS job ads, and even social job posting have all risen in popularity through recruitment automation.
3. Stop unconscious bias from affecting decisions
The construction industry does not have the best reputation when it comes to workforce diversity. For example, women currently only comprise around 9% of the entire construction workforce in the United States, a far smaller percentage than those of other industries. Similarly, minorities do not fare well, with the entire construction workforce composed of 6.4% African Americans and 1.9% Asians. One of the reasons why this happens is unconscious bias during the hiring phase.
The traditional way of reviewing applicants before an interview takes place is to scan résumés. However, because recruiters are humans, their personal biases unconsciously affect their decisions regarding women, minorities, and even older but all qualified workers.
This is where automation comes in. By eliminating the human in the equation, construction recruiters can provide all job applicants a fair opportunity to get hired. Through automation, recruitment tasks can be performed at a rapid pace before bias sets in. Recruitment automation technology can also be revised as needed to further remove bias. Some can even help source diverse candidates by tapping inclusive talent pools and reach out to diverse candidates through the use of key terms that appeal to them within the posted job descriptions.
Construction employers continue to face challenges brought by the labor shortage and many will inevitably struggle to keep up. But by leveraging new technology and automating the recruitment process, construction businesses will be on the path towards solving the issue once and for all.
About the Author:
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.