The home building industry has gotten so good at firing employees over the past six years that managers may have forgotten how to hire well and not get sued in the process. And there’s probably also a need for a refresher course on how to keep your good employees happy when many now have choices.
A home building executive, an attorney, and a couple of personnel head hunters joined forces at the International Builders’ show to talk about the challenges of finding and keeping talented workers for the 2013 recovery. Here are some takeaways from that session.
- Expect competition for the best employees, Stephanie Pearson, of Terra Search Partners, told the group. To get the best workers, you need to become the “employer of choice,” she says. That means not keeping job interview candidates waiting in halls. Instead, bring the CEO in to meet job candidates to thank them for coming. It makes them feel special and wanted, something everybody desires. “They are a guest in your company,” she says. In the end, if they have a choice, they will choose the company where they think they will be valued.
- Realize that whomever you hire is a face for your company. “Make sure they understand what your company is about,” advised Gino Cesario, vice president of corporate and strategy services for Pardee Homes.
- Make sure you have detailed, up-to-date job descriptions. That’s important because if you don’t have a good job description there is nothing to hold the employee accountable to, says Cesario.
- Recruiting and hiring is just the beginning of your involvement with an employee, he says. After that, you need to develop the employee, measure his/her performance, keep them engaged in their job, and keep them. “People leave [due to] a lack of engagement or development,” Cesario says.
Travis M. Gemoets, an employment and labor attorney at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP in Los Angeles offered some detailed dos and don’ts questions for interviewing job candidates.
You must be getting close to retirement age.
Did you ever work under a different name?
Tell me, how did a man come to be interested in this kind of work?
An employer may make medical inquiries or require a medical examination of all candidates at the stage where a conditional offer is made.
Do you have any family members or relatives who are disabled?
No questions allowed
You look like you have an interesting family history. How would you define your race?
Request the name of a person to contact in case of an emergency only after the individual is employed.
This is a real family-oriented company. Is that okay with you?
Inquiry into languages applicants speak fluently, if it is a requirement for the job.
I see you speak Spanish. Did you learn that in your native country or in school?
I notice you are wearing a headscarf. Although we can’t use you as a sales representative, since our customers won’t like that, there is still work available in the stock room.
Do you have a university degree?
When did you graduate from high school or college?
No questions valid.
Have your wages ever been garnished?
What type of education, training, and experience did you receive in the military?
What type of discharge did you receive?
Inquiry into membership in organizations the applicant considers relevant to the job.
List all clubs, societies, and lodges you belong to.
No inquiries are acceptable.
Have you had any prior work injuries?
No inquiries are acceptable.
Have you ever been stopped for a DUI?
Teresa Burney is a senior editor at Builder.