October 5, 2017 | Sherry Seaton
The shortage of skilled workers has consistently been a major challenge for construction companies.
Construction growth has continued overall across the country with 28,000 net new jobs created in August. Residential and commercial construction companies are hunting for talent in Q4 and looking to poach your shining stars for a strong start in 2018.
Real estate development veteran Joe Evans is no stranger to calls, emails and LinkedIn messages from recruiters looking to offer him greener pastures. And the last call he got (mine) was the one that got him to jump the proverbial fence and leave Pulte Homes for a new position as Forward Planner at Meritage Homes.
While I’d love to claim all the credit for Joe’s move to Meritage, I can’t. Having turned me down for previous positions I’ve contacted him about, I know his decision to leave Pulte was based on more than just my phone call. I recently caught up with Joe and asked him some questions about what motivated him to make the move and if his previous employer could have done anything to change his mind.
Sherry Seaton: You’ve been approached by many recruiters in the past. What made this last call different?
Joe Evans: Yes, I have, including you.
SS: Yes, I’ve called you several times before!
JE: I always appreciated how you didn’t push positions on me. Many recruiters are working so hard to sell a candidate on their job opening, they don’t even listen to what the candidate wants and why. I told you over a year ago when you approached me what kinds of positions I was looking for. You remembered and called me with the right job. That’s what made the difference.
SS: How long did you work for Pulte Homes?
JE: 6 months.
SS: That’s not very long. Why did you decide to leave so soon?
JE: The Forward Planner position with Meritage was too good to pass up. I have nothing but great things to say about Pulte Homes. I had a great experience there, they just ultimately didn’t have the job I wanted.
SS: How did you find your job at Pulte Homes?
JE: A recruiter called me. It’s a great company and the job sounded good, even though it wasn’t the Forward Planner or Land Acquisition position I was looking for. I told the recruiter as much but agreed to meet with the hiring manager. I really liked everyone I interviewed with and they presented me with a nice offer so I took it.
SS: Could Pulte have done anything to keep you there once you got the offer from Meritage?
JE: No. Pulte was not hiring for the position offered to me by Meritage. I had spoken to the Land Acquisition VP at Pulte, who said he didn’t know when a Forward Planner position would become available. If Pulte had been hiring for the position, I would have certainly entertained staying, but under the circumstances, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity with Meritage.
SS: As someone, who is often approached by recruiters, what’s your advice for construction companies looking to retain high-performing individuals?
JE: Don’t rush to fill positions. It’s important to do your due diligence on the front end and make sure you offer jobs to candidates who will be really happy in that position. Just because a candidate might be successful in the role you have available doesn’t mean they’ll be happy in it long-term.
SS: What was attractive about working for Meritage?
JE: The position available was why I agreed to the interview. But beyond that, Meritage is a well-respected company among homebuilders. It’s known for treating its employees well and creating quality products. [My recruiter] prepared me well for the interview process, so I felt very comfortable going into it. I really liked everyone I interviewed with, they offered a very competitive compensation package, and overall, it felt like a fit.
SS: What do you think a recruiter brings to the job-seeking process?
JE: A recruiter that listens to what you want and keeps in touch with relevant openings is an invaluable resource to job seekers. I wouldn’t have gotten [the job with Meritage] without a recruiter. But not all recruiters are created equal. One that scours LinkedIn cold-calling candidates to try and fill an opening as fast as possible isn’t doing job seekers or employers any favors. You have to be selective about who you work with and know they have your long-term best interest in mind.
SS: Thanks for sharing your experience, Joe. Where do you see yourself in five years?
JE: I’ve been looking for a Forward Planner position for over a year, so I don’t plan on making a change anytime soon. I won’t be taking any calls from recruiters for a while, I can tell you that. I’d love to advance within Meritage over the next few years and perhaps manage a team. When it comes time to hire those team members, I’ll give you a call.
Hiring managers and/or recruiters often make the mistake of rushing to fill a position with a candidate that has a great resume without asking the right questions to reveal if the job is truly what the candidate wants. This can lead to attrition and seeing high-performing employees leave companies for better deals. To recruit and keep ‘A players’, make sure you hire candidates that not only have the experience but the desire to fill the position and grow with your company long-term. Turnover is more expensive and disruptive than waiting for the right candidate to fill your position. Be patient and be thorough when sourcing and interviewing prospective employees.