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Looking to Fill Construction Jobs? Advice From Joe Gibbs

There’s plenty of news about the massive shortage of workers in the trades right now. Whether you’re the owner of a small business looking for 1 or 2 guys for your crew or the hiring manager for a major construction firm, trying to fill construction jobs is tough right now.


I realize beggars can’t be choosers in this market, but sometimes you have your pick of several guys or gals. Other times you need to decide who to promote up the ladder. Business consultants will tell you to have solid policies in place to help you evaluate your choices. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Super Bowl-winning coach and racing team owner, Joe Gibbs and asked him what the number 1 quality he looks for in a player or driver.

We can apply his response to any business, including when we’re looking to fill construction jobs.

What to Look For When Hiring

  • Consider the Whole Person
  • Character
  • Mental/Physical Toughness
  • Intelligence

Fill Construction Jobs with a Winning Focus

It’s Not Just One Characteristic, It’s the Whole Person

Before you look to hire someone, recognize that you’re hiring the whole person. They have a personality, a family, a set of values, and more. While Coach Gibbs gives us some excellent traits to look for, you can’t define someone so complex as a human being by just a few characteristics.

Priority Number 1: Character

Someone that comes to work for you has to have a high level of character. You need to be able to trust that he or she will show up on time, stay out of trouble off the field (or job site), and that you’ll get his or her best effort.

The bonus with an employee of high character is that the mistakes he or she makes (and everyone will) aren’t because of laziness or malicious intent. These are the kind of people that you can coach through the mistakes to make a better employee on the back end.

Priority Number 2: Mental and Physical Toughness

Not everyone you hire is going to have their best day every day. They’re not going to have an average day every day, either. But what happens when they’re having a bad day?

You need to fill construction jobs with employees that can push through those obstacles to still produce work that’s up to your company’s standards. The work rate might be a little slower on those days, but you won’t have to send that type of person home and lose the productivity completely.

The downside is that these employees are often so motivated that you may need to make the call for them when to go home. If they’re fighting off something that creates a potential safety issue, they need to be on light duty or home.


Priority Number 3: Intelligence

When you fill construction jobs with veterans, the quality and rate of the work are usually solid. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a chance on someone that still very green, though. If he or she has a high level of intelligence, you’ll be hiring a fast learner that will become a seamless part of your crew quicker than most.

Intelligence comes in many forms, so be sure to give your new employees the opportunity listen, watch, and try different aspects of the job before you decide if you’re keeping them. Some workers learn best by hearing how to do something, others by watching someone do it, and still others by trying it themselves. All in all, there are 9 types of intelligence, though not all find their best fit on the job site.


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