If you find that your construction job openings are taking too long to fill, consider looking for a candidate who may not meet all of your education and experience parameters, but instead possesses the types of positive qualities that cannot be taught.

Remember, education and experience do not always determine the true potential of a candidate. Many times, a seemingly under-qualified candidate can be a better fit than one who possesses every requirement of a job description.

Hiring managers can become fixated on an ideal candidate who may not actually exist. Holding out for a person who possesses every qualification and skill outlined in a job description, who is also a great cultural fit and willing to accept the salary offered, can be like looking for a unicorn in a field of worthy thoroughbreds.

Instead of looking for very specific education and experience requirements, look for an individual who may have 80% of these ideals, with the remaining 20% being grit, curiosity, or the willingness and ability to learn. In fact, the latter 20% are skills that cannot be taught, whereas the first 80% can be.

Refocusing your search for top talent may mean that you take a second look at those who may first appear to be under-qualified. There are many reasons why under-qualified candidates could be your next best hire:

  1. They are plentiful. Nearly one million young applicants enter the workforce each year. The vast majority have little real-life experience in the field of work that they studied in school, but they bring fresh perspectives to the industry.
  2. They are malleable. Every new hire requires a certain level of training. New skills are easy to train, but new attitudes and work habits are not. Most under-qualified candidates have not had time to develop any bad habits and are eager to learn.
  3. They have incredible life education. Military personnel that are transitioning into the workforce have a huge skillset, but not necessary the formal education. The same is true of those who are self-taught.
  4. They are loyal. There is a much lower turnover rate among under-qualified hires. They tend to remain loyal to the company that “took a chance” on them. Loyalty equals more productivity, revenue, and less downtime due to vacancies.

Quality candidates that possess grit, drive, and the ability to learn quickly are excellent construction workers and can be your next best hire. When paired with a mentor, these candidates can be brought up to speed in no time. Soon, they will be the ones mentoring the next new hire who may not meet every requirement—but who also embodies great potential.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash