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One of the biggest challenges facing construction industry supervisors is the time it takes to screen applicants and find the ones worth interviewing. A lot of time is spent eliminating people who have no right applying while shuffling through hundreds of applications. An undeveloped screening process increases the time it takes to respond to an applicant, which means the companies that have a better screening process get the A-list employees.

All industries, including the construction sector, are experiencing labor shortages. The construction industry is expected to have the largest increase in employment by 2024. Approximately 800,000 jobs are predicted to be added by 2024, but job openings may reach 1,682,000.

To get the best person for a crew, there needs to be a solid process for connecting with them quickly. The best people in the job market already have a job, and they are going to be selective when it comes to spending time applying and interviewing with a company. Connecting quickly means contacting an applicant within 15 minutes to an hour of when they apply. Here are four ways to improve the screening process and save the hiring team a lot of time.

1. Invest in an applicant tracking system

Recruiting is no longer an HR-only task. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an online program that helps with posting jobs as well as managing and screening candidates. There are hundreds of systems on the market today. This isn’t something you jump into lightly, so make sure to consider ease of use, time to implement and cost when evaluating them. Remember, the best option is the one the entire company adopts and uses.

A good ATS will help screen applicants by requiring specified questions to be answered up front before the application is accepted and delivered. The answers to those questions can allow the system to automatically pre-screen and pass on candidates without taking time away from the hiring team. Automating the pre-screening process will save time.

2. Update job descriptions to describe the unwanted applicant

Have fun with this one. It shouldn’t be unprofessional; there are creative ways to do this. A worker who is dedicated to the job, rather than someone who likes to job hop, may be desired for the crew. If so, call that out in the job description:

“Switch jobs every 90 days to make an extra buck? Then, this company isn’t a good fit. Opportunities for advancement and training are available to committed team members.”

It’s amazing how well a job description can deter the wrong people from applying for the open job.

3. Make recruiting a team effort

A good ATS will allow for multiple hiring team members to use the system and screen applicants. Perhaps an administrative assistant can be trained to disqualify applicants or conduct phone screenings. With an objective screening process, office staff with a little extra time on their hands can make a dent in screening out the unqualified applicants.

4. Leverage technology

The ATS should be the hub of the recruiting efforts and, with so many people applying for jobs from their mobile devices, it’s important to connect with applicants through their mobile devices.

Much of the time spent screening applicants is putting them through a phone screen and scheduling the interview. If there’s a struggle to get people on the phone to schedule the interview appointment and follow-ups, automate the process. A good ATS system will schedule emails to be sent to the best candidates. Integrating text messaging is another great option. Candidates often respond much more quickly to a text message, rather than an email or voicemail.

Consider video interviews for the first round. There are cloud-based applications that will guide applicants through screening questions. Applicants then provide their response in front of their mobile device without the company having to schedule the first interview. If the hiring team is struggling to get to all of the applicants, integrating video interviews is a great way to screen out the applicants who aren’t very interested.

Building Business with ATS

It takes time to lay a strong foundation, integrate technology carefully and make improvements gradually. Just like any construction project, this won’t happen overnight. Take the time to plan for integrating new technologies into the screening process. Soon, the time saved during the screening process will allow added time to find the best applicants in the marketplace.

Applying for an open job is as easy as clicking a box and a button. This increases the time it takes to effectively screen applicants to find the right ones. Technology can make this process simpler and save valuable time for the entire team.

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