While many tradespeople are more than happy to work alone, there are several reasons you may need an extra pair of hands. Perhaps you’re scaling up your company, or taking on jobs that are too big for you to do by yourself. Whatever it is, adding a new face is serious business, and although the process is still very important for temporary hires, there’s even more at stake when you’re looking for tradespeople to join your team on a permanent basis.
Your employees determine almost everything about your business, from the quality of work and customer satisfaction to team morale and company culture. Choosing the wrong staff could leave you with a lot of extra problems on your plate, so follow our trusty guide to avoid mis-hires, and fill your team with the most talented tradespeople around.
1. Write an eye-catching job description
You don’t want to waste time sifting through applications from people who aren’t what you’re looking for. In order to attract the right candidates, the job description needs to clearly outline the demands of the role, and criteria which applicants need to meet. It should also put a sprinkle of personality across, which will reflect your unique business culture, and hopefully leave jobseekers keen to get in touch.
Make sure you include the following:
- An attention-grabbing headline like ‘Experienced Builder Required’ or ‘High-Paying Construction Firm Looking For Builders’.
- The job title, its position in the team structure, responsibilities, and expected deliverables.
- Pay range and benefits, like a company vehicle or generous holiday allowance.
- Experience, qualifications and skills required.
- Opportunities for career progression, such as a guaranteed permanent job if you’re taking on an apprentice.
- Your business history, values and ambitions. Remember that as well as hinting at the nature of the workplace on offer, you need to sell the company to potential applicants by making it sound as exciting as possible.
2. Look for talented tradespeople
Once your job description has been written up, you need to think about where to post your ad. Leading job websites and recruitment agencies are good places to start, but don’t limit yourself to just these. Using social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn may catch the attention of tradespeople who aren’t proactively looking for a job. You could also ask co-workers, friends and family to share the posts, bringing them to the attention of a wider range of people.
As quick and convenient as these digital channels are, more traditional advertising methods can be brilliant for targeting people in your area. Try posting your ad in the local paper, putting up posters in trade supply stores, or contacting schools and colleges which offer courses relevant to your services.
Another top tip for finding talented tradespeople is to ask employees or friends in the industry whether they know anybody who might fit the bill. Taking on somebody who has been recommended by the people you trust can help reduce the odds of hiring a candidate who turns out to be a terrible fit.
3. Organise interviews
After whittling down all the applicants to a promising shortlist, it’s time to meet the people you’re interested in. A chat over a cuppa will give you a chance to learn more about the candidates and get a sense of how well they’d slot into your company.
These are the kinds of questions you should be asking to help you identify the best of the bunch:
– What do you love about your trade?
This will help you weed out who is truly passionate about their work from those who simply see their work as a means to an end.
– Where do you want to be in five years?
Ambition is always a positive, and if a candidate is interested in further training and progression, it’s more likely they’ll stick with your business for the long haul.
– Why did you leave your previous role?
Candidates with a chequered job history can sometimes be concerning, as it may suggest an unwillingness to commit to an employer. However, their reasons for moving around are far more important. For example, if they left a role that they found unmotivating, or a company that was at odds with their values, your business could be just what they are looking for.
– How would you respond to X, Y & Z?
It’s useful to present candidates with hypothetical situations (like a difficult customer or a mistake on a job) and see how they would react. Tradespeople are often in high pressure situations, so their responses to these questions can help you envision how they would behave day-to-day.
– Why do you want to work for the company?
As well as demonstrating a love for their trade, the best candidates will also be able to explain why they were drawn to your business specifically, and how they can bring value to what you do.
4. Sort out the admin
By this point, the best applicant will have accepted your job offer, having singled them out as the best person for the role. Now you need to get the relevant paperwork in order. Top of your list should be employer’s liability insurance, which is a legal requirement for any business which employs staff. You may have existing cover in place if you already have other tradespeople working for you, so look over the details and see whether you will need to make any changes to the policy following your new hire. For example, perhaps you want to increase your premium.
You will also need to draw up employment contracts, and share the details of important company procedures related to health and safety, and disciplinary and dismissal, with your new recruit. Additionally, if you don’t already have them in place, a workplace pension should be set up if your new hire is over 22 years old and earns more than £10,000 a year for the current tax year, as well as a payroll system.
5. Keep your new hire happy
The journey doesn’t end once you’ve crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s. Now your new hire officially works for your tradesman business, you will have to work continuously to retain them. If not, they may leave after a couple of months, either because you’re not matching their expectations or giving them what they need as an employee.
This means it’s imperative for you to create a positive, fair, and collaborative environment where they feel like you have their best interests at heart, and that their achievements will be recognised and rewarded. Also, demonstrate that you’re investing in their future by providing staff with frequent training opportunities, and high-quality tools and equipment (which you should also make sure to insure as well).
Even when you strive to be the best boss possible, making assumptions about the needs of your team can be risky. Schedule regular check-ins with your employees to see what they’re pleased with and what they feel could be improved. Open, honest communication is the best way to secure a happy team, and a successful tradesman business overall.