The increasing role technology plays in the construction industry is causing companies to change the way they value technology proficiency in their workforce.
Construction companies are placing greater value on tech savvy employees who can learn new technologies quickly. Innovations in IT have the potential to enhance productivity and drive profitability in a competitive marketplace. BIM, construction management software, project management, and scheduling software, estimating systems, document management, and collaboration tools all have the potential to help good builders become great builders.
Companies that utilize more complex systems are faced with the challenge of identifying and attracting employees who can help them leverage these innovations. Hiring managers need to be able to learn whether a candidate is familiar with the target technology or is an experienced professional who can help increase the group’s proficiency.
Following are some proven strategies to utilize in hiring a tech-savvy workforce.
When interviewing candidates, ask as many questions as it takes to fully understand their level of interaction with technology. Many hiring managers are reluctant to ask questions that could show that they aren’t experts in that technology. If that’s the case, it can be valuable to bring in a company expert to assist. Ask candidates which technologies they have used and the projects on which they used them. Don’t be afraid to dig into the technology aspect of their previous positions. Ask their opinion about how well the technology works and how it integrated with business processes.
Candidates are usually very willing to share their knowledge and experience with a potential employer. The more questions asked, the more information gained. In addition to learning about their technology proficiency, the right questions will help the interviewer understand the candidate’s skill level in other areas. A quality recruiter can help with identifying and qualifying candidates who can help leverage new technology.
Companies develop a reputation for their level of technological savvy. In most markets, it’s common knowledge which construction management programs are used by which companies, and more importantly, how well. When looking for someone with specific experience with a program, look for candidates who have worked for those companies.
However, be aware that sometimes people look for new opportunities because they don’t like the software their company uses or don’t fit in with the tech culture of their current employer.
Take the time to look into the project list candidates share during the application process. They should be able to talk about how technology-assisted (or hindered) projects on which they have worked. A solid candidate will be able to speak specifically about projects and how IT was involved in the building process.
Also, look on their resume for participation in bringing new technologies into the company. Some companies have technology committees or groups that help choose which programs or systems the business will utilize. The employees that serve on these committees are often considered to be technology thought-leaders in the company.
When interviewing emerging professionals (those that are relatively new to the industry), it pays to do some research on the program from which they graduated. Many companies like to hire from certain schools because they have a track record of producing graduates that become successful in the industry. Leverage contacts with schools in the area to find out what technologies their students utilize. How much time do students spend working with programs? Taking the time to become familiar with their educational background can go a long way to predicting their level of proficiency with new technologies.
BUILD ON THE BASICS
It can be tempting for hiring managers to only interview or consider candidates with experience using the same system as they will use in the new company. Keep in mind that if someone has been successful using one technology they are likely to be successful using another. A solid training program can be a huge benefit in attracting the best talent.
Also, remember that the reason builders utilize these technologies is to build better buildings. Proficiency with technology is not a replacement for construction knowledge.
As companies rely more on technology to drive productivity and profitability, identifying talented candidates with the ability to leverage these tools is more important than ever. Making a few additions to the hiring process can create a team to make the most of a company’s technology investments.
By Bill Schepeler