Construction. The people side.

Whether your planning your own career or trying to hire the best candidates, some thinking around the people part of the industry.

METRIK Management inc.

PV Aug 2007 close_edited.jpg
  • Wolf
I’ve written about which candidates gets hired first. Your best hires are same industry experience, longer is better. Best is if they started in the ditch or with a hammer in late teens. Ideally they’ve moved up in responsibility and project size. But most important that they haven’t jumped around. Now not yet 40, in their prime, two or three employers over 20 yrs, that's you guy.

You have to see the career. How the person clawed their way up the construction food chain. Could be moving up a level, but similar roles also count, they can be larger and more complex companies and projects. No matter, there is growth and ambition. "B" candidates sometimes suffer from "I don't see a career track in your resume." How else to say it.

There are no “transferable skills.” Transferable skills assumes same cultures, network, tools, systems across industries. Not true. Construction GC firms move differently than their consulting counterparts. The owner rep the project management firm is a different place to grow up in than the construction side. Suppliers? Steel bridge manufacturing is different than civil bridge GCs. Similar, yes but you’ll hire a learning curve.

The other point is, avoid people who take life breaks. Could be travel, sabbaticals, or opening up a vitamin store with a brother in law. Later returning to construction expecting to pickup where they left off. If construction is not this candidate’s entire world, don’t hire them.

Repeat, my point to candidates about stepping off and taking sabbaticals. Nobody’s looking for a controller with 18 months hiking in Patagonia.

Travel is good, it tends to make us a bit less presumptive, boring and provincial. But at the same time, no client has ever asked me to find him a controller with exploration and discovery experience. It’s okay to be a lifestyle person. It’s not useful to advertise it on your resume. If you’re using words like “Two years extended travel through Europe, including, blah, blah, . . . . “ You’re in the “B” pile. I had a great controller candidate with two separate lengthy stints into places you should only watch on TV. Ushuaia, and some other place without hot water. If they think you might go on a self discovery journey on their watch, - they won’t hire you. You may not know the meaning of life but for the sake of your career, just pretend you’ve made peace with it.

  • Wolf

“Whenever I see a turtle on a fence post, - I know I don’t have the whole story.”

Some candidates reach heights they can’t get to on their own. Maybe like the turtle, they had some help. I’ll have to uncover the rest of the story.

(Old fable, old joke, still true)

Life is unique, different and the surface story is often only part of a candidate's true picture. If the underlying story makes sense, I'm fine with that. Or, maybe it doesn't make sense. Perhaps what's being presented is not true. Either way, it's part of the hiring decision.


  • Wolf

I get a little tired with the relentless focus on salary. The long game is not about the size of your salary, - it’s about your net worth, your equity. Salary stops at some point, but your net worth carries you forever.

The irony is, - your salary does not determine your net worth. Your financial IQ does that.

Everybody who earns $100k doesn’t end up in the same financial position. So how well you live can’t have that much to do with salary?


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