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Hiring Construction Workers: 5 Tips for Hiring Your First Construction Employee


By Construct-Ed Inc.

Since the day your company started, most likely it was a one man, or woman, show. You wore every “hat” so to speak and now you are ready for hiring construction workers.

First off, congratulations! Hiring your first employee is a huge deal as it means that now you can finally start to level-up your construction business and gain more clients.

However, before you start hiring construction workers and grow your team, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

#1: Figure Out Your Ideal Employee

When it comes to construction hiring your first step is setting your criteria, or qualifications, for what you are looking for in an employee. This is a crucial part of your construction hiring process for many reasons.

    • What position are you hiring for? Foreman? General Laborer? If you don’t know this, you don’t know which applicant will work and which won’t.
    • What does the position require? Physical requirements? Training or skill requirements? Once you have established this information, it’ll be easier to sift out the applicants that qualify.
    • Where do you draw the lines in the sand? By this we mean, where do your ethics lie? What about an applicant’s character would make you want to hire them? Or on the flip side, what aspects of their character would make you pass over their application? You need to know whether you can trust the applicant as a future employee. If they are not very open to discussion or criticism, is that really an aspect of their character that you are willing to deal with? Especially as you are trying to scale your company.
    • Do they have potential? A lot of the construction field is made up of employees that are coming right out of high school. They are young men, and women, that are looking for an entry level job to help themselves level up in their own career. Maybe you have applicants that are right out of high school with no four-year degree. Does this mean they are automatically out of the running for the position? Not necessarily. If after the interview process, they show potential and drive to learn, why not give them a shot?
    • Should they have experience? If you would rather your applicant(s) have some level of experience, make sure to know what experience you want them to have! Do you require your applicants have a basic knowledge of your construction field? Or do you require that they have two years of experience being a foreman for a construction company?

    #2: Figure out “Legalities”

    Keep in mind that before you hire your first employee, there are some required steps that you must take care of first. This is extremely important because taking this step before even interviewing a potential employee will save you headache in the long haul.

    What are the different legalities that you must take care of first? (Please keep in mind that this is a condensed list. We recommend that you talk with your business advisors or attorney to get a complete list of legal documents that you should have for new employees.)

    Payroll Options? How are you going to pay your employee? If an employee is not compensated for their time, they will walk away from the company. So, you need to decide what payroll company you will go with and what the steps are to signing up for that company’s service, documentation they require, and what you can afford to pay the employee you want to bring on.

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    Have I-9 Employment Eligibility Forms ready. An I-9 Employment Eligibility Form makes sure that your applicant is qualified to legally work in the United States.

    Have W-4 & other tax related forms ready. In order to run payroll successfully and compensate your employee correctly, you must have all tax related forms completed by that employee.

    #3: Workers Comp Insurance as Related to States You Do Business In

    This is so important to keep in mind as well, because you may have to pay worker’s comp insurance even if you do just have one employee. Keep in mind that this is not the same across the board. Not all states require the same number of employees before you must pay into worker’s comp insurance.

    This is not something to take lightly either. Depending on the state that your business is in, if you do not purchase worker’s comp insurance, the penalties are extremely severe.

    For instance, if you do not purchase worker’s comp insurance in the state of California, it is a criminal offense to not provide employees with worker’s comp coverage. You could face jail time and/or extremely high fines.

    In Pennsylvania, if you don’t purchase worker’s comp insurance intentionally, it is considered a third-degree felony and you could face jail time for seven years plus extremely high fines.

    #4: Create Your Construction Hiring Interview Process and Compile Your Questions

    Now that you have a grasp on what you are looking for in a potential employee and you understand some of the legalities of hiring construction workers, you can start to focus on creating your hiring process!

    The steps to creating your construction hiring process are…

    1. Understand where the hiring need is. What position are you trying to fill in your company?

    2. Figure out how you will recruit your new employee. Will you set up a company booth at a local college job fair event? Or will you just post your job opening on multiple job board websites?

    3. Write up your job description and job design. These are two incredibly helpful documents that will make construction hiring easy! A job description and job design go hand in hand in the process of hiring. The Job Description is the first document that an applicant will see, and it must be constructed in such a way that it “lures” the applicant in to apply. However, this doesn’t give you license to stretch the truth about what the position entails. You must be honest about all aspects of the job.

    The job design is the next document that an applicant will see once they are hired! It takes the job description but describes more of the intricacies of job (like who they report to if they are joining a larger team or a more broken-down view of what their day-to-day operations looks like).

    4. Advertise the position and then set up interviews with the recruits! Need help thinking of interviewing questions? Look below for inspiration.

    a. What about this industry made you want to apply for this job opening?

    b. What certifications do you have? (OSHA certifications, possibly first aid certifications?)

    c. What experience do you have in the field?

    d. Do you have a valid driver’s license? (This is important, especially if you would like for them to drive a company vehicle.)

    5. Once you have decided on the employee you would like to hire, be sure to check the “legal boxes”. This means…

    a. Run a background check.

    b. Check references.

    6. If everything checks out, you are now ready to onboard your first employee! Congratulations! Make sure that they have filled out all the important documents like tax forms, employment eligibility, and get ready to welcome your new employee to the business!

    Tip #5: 5. Create Your Onboarding Process and (Potentially) a New-Hire Binder

    Now that you have hired your first employee, the next step is the onboarding process! Perhaps make up a new-hire binder and set up a schedule to train them (if they need the training).

    Here is an example of what materials you may put in your new-hire binder…

    • How to Report a Workplace Accident – This is so important, especially in the construction industry where risks may be higher than other jobs. You need to make sure that your employee has the correct steps in place to report a workplace accident.
    • Explanation of Workplace Benefits – Your employee should be aware of their workplace benefits from the first day they are on the job. Workplace benefits could include automatic days off, how many days of paid time off they receive, life insurance, and etc.

    Please note that the Construct-Ed Crew is not your legal advisor! We are just passionate about helping you build your construction business. Whether you are hiring your first ever employee or your 100th, being familiar with the hiring process can help you to be more successful in hiring quality employees!