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White Paper

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Construction Firms

9 Smart and Strategic Considerations

for Attracting Top Talent


Colin Estrem

Brian Skenandore

Andie Suroiu

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February 2021  Pro-Tips on Internal Talent Acquisition from Estrem & Co.

Estrem & Company is committed to helping our clients succeed by offering them access to the Top Talent in their area. To this end we have prepared a checklist to help maximize our clients’ internal recruiting efforts for the Construction industry. 

Before we dive in...

It will cost your firm 6-9 Months’ salary to replace an employee making it more important than ever to make the best selection the first time. If you have a project manager who is earning $120K, it will cost you up to $90K to find a great replacement if doing everything internally. (2)

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Let’s also take a moment to lay out the options you face as a construction executive; namely to keep your headhunting and recruiting efforts in-house, or to outsource the lion’s share of this task to an agency recruiting firm. We hope that after reading this, you will have a good understanding of the 9 most important steps in running a successful in-house recruiting effort. Then it is up to you to determine which route is best for your company. 


A quick assessment of your situation:

  • Does your organization have a rock solid game plan to attract, acquire and retain the best of the best?

  • Are you taking advantage of all the tools, technology and resources available today?

  • Do you and your hiring managers understand the financial and cultural impacts of a misfire or a mishire? 


Let’s get down to brass tacks: 

Below are our top 9 Recruiting Pro-Tips for running a successful internal recruiting program.


This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you a good understanding of how to organize, strategize and maximize your efforts and can save you time, money and heartache.

  • Brainstorm your “must have” and “want-to-have” traits for your new hire. Write them down and refer to them as you interview prospective candidates. 

  • The point of this exercise is to establish a consistent baseline from which to measure all candidates equally. Interviewer bias will cost you big-time in mis-hires. 

  • “Shooting from the hip” and “going with your gut” is not an acceptable strategy with so much on the line.

Prepare a profile of your ideal candidate’s background

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Candidate Profile #1

The “Must-Haves” are the technical aspects you are looking for.

1. Project Management for a certain project type

2. Background in Estimation

3. Familiarity with Certain Software

Must Haves:

4. Pre-Construction

5. Proven ability to manage a certain number of  projects of a certain size/complexity

6. Specific Educational Background

The “Want-To-Haves” will be a short list of soft skills that can help you estimate cultural fit in your organization and the specific team the new hire will work with.


1. Strong Leadership

2. Communication

3. Negotiation

4. Public Speaking

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Your value proposition as an employer-Why work for you?

  • Once you’ve figured out what traits make up your ideal person, you can use this information to begin to understand what needs to be done to attract them. 

  • What are the selling points of working with you and your firm? 

  • Money alone is not always enough to lure top talent away from your competitors. Consider things like PTO, benefits package, vehicle allowance, bonus structure as well as your culture and career growth you can offer.

  • Write your Employer Value Proposition down and make sure that your team is on the same page. When the moment comes to pitch a prospective candidate you must be ready!

  • Why would they want to leave for you, or choose you over your competitors? 

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Value Proposition #2


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Getting the word out on the Job Boards

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What we need now is an advertisement that will attract interest from the right people. 

Be prepared!

You will have just opened a virtual fire hydrant of talent (not always the right kind) that will take you some time to sort through.

Job Boards #3
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Do not just post boring job descriptions. Save that for their employee files.

  • The key differences are that a Job Description is a clinical look at what the requirements and responsibilities are for the position and a Job Ad is used to peak your prospects interest and attract them to your organization. 

  • We find that a good job advertisement combines your Employer Value Proposition with the Job Description’s scope of work that they will be doing (but in an exciting way). 

  • This document can be used of course on Job Boards and Social Media posts as well as in any other type of communication.​

1. Pay attention to best practices of posting your ad.

2. Keep the job title simple so that candidates will see your job more easily. 

3. Complicated or confusing job titles will push your job down in the search results.

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Have company info readily available to share

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This one is basic, but a lot of companies overlook it.

Don’t be that company that doesn’t have a shareable company profile.

 This is your opportunity to list your company’s achievements and showcase the team. 


Prospective candidates will want to understand who they're dealing with and this is your chance to show off who you are and what you’re all about.

Be Bold

Company Info #4

This part should include your Employer Value Proposition, but it also must have other information that describes:

1. The Space you Operate In

2. The Company Leadership

3. Philanthropic Activities

4. Vision for the Future

5. Noteworthy Achievements/Projects

... you get the idea.


Don’t go too crazy though, this should be an easily digestible one-page.



If this info already lives on your website then add a link on your Job Ads.

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Tune up your companys’ best practices by using a structured interview process

Structured interviews are the most important step towards eliminating “interviewer bias” which is what happens when the interviewer begins to form an opinion based on anything other than a defined set of criteria.

Best Practices #5

The strategy is for this is to have all interviewers use a set of agreed upon questions for all interviews. 

Then a predetermined method of evaluating answers is applied.

Debriefing is done after each interview.

Based on the input from the group and the fact that there were set criteria it will eliminate the chance for a “gut instinct” hire, giving you a better shot at eliminating mis-hires.

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Set up your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Software to manage the profiles of candidates who apply to you

are cheap and easy to use these days.

Applicant System (ATS) #6

Whether you look at the number of hires it could help you make, or how it could improve the efficiency of your office staff, it’s not difficult to see the return on investment. The basic concept of the software is that:

Over the course of the year these profiles add up.  Then the next time you are ready to make a hire you have an easily searchable database that can provide you with a list of candidates as a starting point.



This can also serve as a human resources tool for storing candidate information.

Information is power and has real value.

By being able to store and then quickly access current and past applicants you will make more hires and reduce time to hire. 

This has a significant monetary value for you.

1. As candidates apply to your job

2. Their resumes get loaded into the program

3. Their information gets parsed and saved as a profile in your very own database. 

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 Engage with Construction Professionals on a Consistent Basis

Referrals are almost always a high-quality lead, but you won’t likely get many referrals if your network is small and people don’t know or trust you.

Engage Professionals #7

You know that ATS from the last step? Don’t just use it to store the results of your job postings. 

You need to be loading that database up with people you meet as you interact with people in your industry and in your community.



Use these interactions to develop relationships, which will expand your network and enhance your reputation.

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Establish a Presence on Social Media

Post your Job Advertisements when you have active hiring needs.

Then share them across all platforms.

Social Media #8

We all can benefit from building up and leveraging our networks. Social Media makes it that much easier.  LinkedIn is king right now, but we recommend a broad social media approach.

1. Try to remain consistent by posting valuable content on a regular basis. 

2. Connect with people whose profiles align with the Candidate Profile we mentioned in Step 1

3. Send out a “handshake” message introducing yourself.

  • LinkedIn
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Prepare to begin the Interview process

The Interview #9



 Remember that it is not only the candidate that needs to make a great first impression.

1. After completing all the previous steps you will have a big pile of resumes. Consult with your team and create a short list of the best candidates. 

2. Consider this the first step in your on-boarding process .Your company’s Employer Brand is on the line now.  Make sure that your interviewing process is professional and makes them want to join your team.

3. Select your candidate and get ready to deliver an amazing onboarding experience for you new rockstar.


Your hard work has paid off and you can enjoy the benefits of your new hire. 

In Summary:

We’ve discussed 9 key steps your company can take to run an internal recruiting campaign. Keep in mind that these are just a few steps to help make sure you attract and hire the top talent available in your market. It takes time, energy and money in order to run a well-organized recruiting campaign as part of your Human Resources Umbrella. 

When is it time to use a Headhunter or Executive Search Professional?

  • If you’ve taken the time to scan through this list and have already implemented these ideas but are still struggling to find candidates.

  • If you feel like you’re about to burst a blood vessel because you’re so stinkin’  busy running your business and don’t have time to implement 9 elements of anything let alone an internal recruiting plan.

  • Or perhaps you look through this list and say, "I don't have the staff  in place to successfully execute a plan like this".

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In these cases, the next step would be to take advantage of the services of a quality recruiting firm that will act as your eyes and ears in the talent pool in your area. For these situations you can call Estrem & Co. to listen to what you are experiencing and make a recommendation based on your situation. 

If you’re in the construction industry and you’ve done  everything on this list and are unhappy with the talent you’re seeing, then feel free to reach out. We use our extensive experience and network paired with a knack for finding the 70% of candidates that aren’t actively job searching right now because they’re too busy working for your competitor.

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