5 things you don’t know about hiring that is stalling your construction business with Jonathan Porter-Whistman



Tue, 16 Apr 2024 08:00:00 +0000

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5 things you don’t know about hiring that is stalling your construction business with Jonathan Porter-Whistman

Are you short-staffed, and under pressure to just "hire somebody, to get the problem solved" ?

I get it. When hiring is just another item on your never-ending to-do list it can feel heavy.

So heavy, in fact, that most contractors overlook candidate red flags, settle for "good enough," and convince themselves that they’ve finally filled the job.

But it's just an illusion.

Because sooner or later the new hire quits and they’re at ground zero again.

So, in this article, Jonathan Porter-Whistman and I are going to tackle this hiring headache head-on.

Jonathan is the author of "The Sales Boss," a bestselling book focused on building high-performing sales teams.

He is also deeply involved in WhoHire:

An AI-Driven platform that helps contractors overcome human biases and hire the best candidate based on over 6 million data points.

On top of that, Jonathan has personally conducted thousands of job interviews, so when I asked, he readily shared five hiring-related issues hindering your construction business.

#1. Write Job Ads That EXCLUDE Candidates

It might sound a bit counterintuitive, but stick with me here.

You know those Marine ads with all the intense drills recruits have to do?

There is this subset of folks who see them and are like, “No thanks!"

While at the same time, others go, “Sign me up”!

Well, that's exactly who army recruiters are aiming for with their job ads.

The latter group are the ones who thrive on challenges and aren't afraid to push themselves.

Similarly, you should be real about what the job entails so that it either gets people excited to join… or sends them running in the other direction.

A great line I’ve seen in trades’ job descriptions is:

“You must be able to consistently lift 50 pounds overhead. “

By putting that in the ad, you not only set a physical requirement - you’re also signaling what the job involves.

And yeah, it's gonna exclude some people who can't or won't do that kind of work, but that's okay.

Because you're not looking for just anyone - you're looking for the right fit.

Now, why don't more contractors describe the job as it actually is?

Well, they might have reached a point in their career where they don't want to do that kind of work anymore, so they soften the description.

It often comes down to not wanting to scare off potential candidates.

But they might be surprised to find out that others would happily do labor-intensive tasks.

And by the way that's where tools like Who Hire come in handy.

When you've got data to back up your hiring decisions, it helps to overcome your own biases.

You're not just hiring someone because they seem nice in an interview - you're hiring them because they're uniquely qualified to do the job well.

#2. Know When And How To End An Interview

My client once had an interview go on for nearly two hours because he didn't know how to end it!

Picture this - a lady walks into his office, all eager and ready to apply for the designer position.

Now, the client starts chatting with her, trying to get a feel for whether she's the right fit.

They just kept talking, and in the end, it didn't even lead anywhere.

Now, when we had our coaching meeting afterward, my client was like:

"Dom, I don't know how to end a conversation like that. I didn't know how to get out of there!"

So, it got me thinking about how important is the skill to wrap up those interviews gracefully, especially when you know it's not a good fit.

Jonathan talks about this in his book, "The Sales Boss."

He's all about early screening and making sure you're not wasting anyone's time.

I mean, if you know within the first 15 minutes that someone isn't the right fit, why drag it out for another 45 minutes, right?

So, you've got to have a script ready for ending those conversations.

You can say something like:

"Hey, I appreciate you coming in today, but I've realized there's someone else who's a better fit for the role. I don't want to waste any more of your time, so I just wanted to be upfront with you."

Trust me, most candidates will appreciate the honesty, and it saves everyone a whole lot of time and energy.

#3. How To Avoid Getting Flaked On By Interviewees

When it comes to job seekers, we've got to put ourselves in their shoes.

They're out there sending resumes, filling out applications, and what do they get in return? Crickets.

It's frustrating for them, so no wonder they sometimes disappear without an explanation too.

But we can do better.

And it starts with being crystal clear about the hiring process right from the get-go.

In all your ads and interactions, make sure you lay out exactly what the application steps are gonna be and how long it's gonna take.

That way, job seekers know what they're signing up for.

And after the interview, you have to decide fast, too.

Don’t drag things out for weeks on end.

If someone's not the right fit, let them know and move on.

One reason why companies don't get back to people within 24-48 hours is - they don't have a system in place that allows them to move fast enough.

So, you have to equip your team, with tools to move quickly.

So as an example, the WhoHire platform sends a text message as soon as someone applies for a job.

It adds a human touch, which is often all it takes to make people feel appreciated.

#4. Understand The Hidden Traps Of Hiring Bad Fit Candidates

The true cost of a bad hire often flies under the radar.

When someone doesn't work out, we tend to blame them, right?

But we rarely stop to tally up the actual cost to our business.

It's like we're turning a blind eye to OUR part in the hiring process.

Jonathan shared an interesting thought exercise that puts things into perspective.

Imagine you're about to hire someone, and you have to write them a check for half a million bucks.

That's what it should feel like, because that's what a bad hire can end up costing you over time.

It's not just about their salary—it's all those hidden costs, too.

A lot of business owners fall into this trap of just hiring somebody, anybody, to fill a position.

They're so focused on plugging the hole that they don't realize they're just digging themselves into a deeper one.

Red-flag hires don’t stick around, so the owners need to spend more and more resources on recruiting.

Another hidden trap can be your mindset.

If you're walking around with the belief that nobody's gonna care about your business as much as you do, well, guess what?

You're gonna attract exactly that—people who don't care.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So how do you avoid these traps?

Well, first off, you gotta have a plan.

Like, a real blueprint for where you want your business to be in five years.

And part of that blueprint is understanding the structure you'll need to support it.

That means mapping out the different departments you'll eventually have, even if you can't hire for all of them right now.

You then have to think about the roles and responsibilities each department will have, and how they'll all fit together to move the business forward.

And then there's the revenue side of things.

How much do you want your business to bring in?

Let's say you're aiming for a ten-million-dollar operation.

Well, that's gonna require a certain number of people to make it happen - so you need to figure out how many you’ll eventually need to hire.

Because when you have that clarity, it becomes a lot easier to make smart hiring decisions that support your long-term goals.

#5. Run Your Contracting Business Like A Jazz Club To Attract An A-Team

Imagine running your contracting business like a jazz club.

I know, it might sound a bit out there, but hear me out.

Jonathan used to live in Kansas City, and right between his office and home was this legendary jazz club.

Every evening, even on days when he was dead tired from work, he'd walk past this place.

And no matter how drained he was the music just drew him in.

And before he knew it, he'd be inside, leaning against the bar, tapping his foot to the beat.

That's how your business should be—drawing people in with its rhythm, making them want to stick around even when they're not in the mood.

Now, let's break down the jazz club analogy a bit.

Inside a jazz club, there's always a group of house musicians.

But they're not alone.

They also bring in visiting musicians, and these folks can come in and riff over the music, adding their own style and flair.

But here's the cool part—they always find harmony with the house band.

How? Because there's structure to jazz music.

There are rules that everyone follows.

And that's exactly how your business should operate.

You want to bring in talented individuals, let them express themselves, but also ensure they sync up with your “company's beat”.

That's where your culture comes in:

The unspoken rules, the shared values, the heartbeat of your business.

Defining your company's culture is how you create an environment where people feel like they belong.

And when they feel that connection, they bring their best selves to work every day.

And because everyone knows the rules, you don't need to micromanage.

The team members hold each other accountable.

Jonathan shared a great example of this.

He was in a company where a regular employee corrected a new hire for leaving dirty dishes in the sink.

Seems small, but it's a big deal.

It's about creating those "around here" moments—like "around here, we don't leave our trucks in disarray" or "around here, we take pride in our work."

At the end of the day you're not just hiring people who can do the job—you're hiring people who will thrive in your environment.

Because let's face it, if your environment is dysfunctional, you're setting yourself up for failure.

In business, we often get caught up in the day-to-day tasks.

But what we sometimes forget is that at the core of it all, we're in the people business.

It's not just about what we offer —it's about the individuals who make it all happen.

Cultivate a work environment where they can flourish, and watch as your business grows beyond your wildest dreams.

For more insights on hiring check out the full Profit Toolbelt Podcast episode with Jonathan Porter-Whitsman.

Show Notes:

Jonathan Porter-Whistman, CEO of PerceptionPredict.

Meet Jonathan Porter-Whistman, the bestselling author of "The Sales Boss," and CEO of PerceptionPredict, an AI platform for smarter hiring in trades.

He's helped hundreds of companies boost sales and has even been featured by CNN Money.

With tons of job interviews behind him, Jonathan knows the hiring game inside out. He's all about making hiring simpler and more effective for businesses like yours.

Key Points:

Writing Job Ads That Exclude Candidates

  • Crafting job ads that accurately portray the job's demands and challenges.
  • Why being upfront will attract the right candidates.
  • Using tools like WhoHire to make data-driven hiring decisions.

Knowing When And How To End An Interview

  • How to save time by avoiding prolonged interviews that lead nowhere.
  • A script for gracefully ending interviews when a candidate isn't the right fit.

How To Avoid Getting Flaked By Job Candidates

  • Setting clear expectations about the hiring process.
  • How To make quick hiring decisions
  • Leveraging automation tools for better communication AND showing appreciation

Understanding The Hidden Traps Of Hiring Bad Fit Candidates

  • The true cost of a bad hire (beyond just the salary).
  • The “head trash” that causes most hiring failures.
  • How to create a long-term hiring plan aligned with your business goals.

Running Your Contracting Business Like A Jazz Club To Attract An A-Team

  • How to create a work environment that draws people in and fosters belonging.
  • How to create company culture to ensure alignment and accountability.
  • Cultivating a workplace where individuals thrive and contribute to business growth.

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