Recruitment Strategies for Construction Companies

The construction sector is competitive and if you want to remain viable and grow, you need to have the right calibre of staff. This means attracting top talent. But as you’re probably very much aware, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. While salary is a key factor in attracting the right talent, there are other factors that can improve your prospect of landing the ideal construction professional.

Tips to Hire Top Construction Professionals

According to Hays Recruitment the recent upturn in Irish construction activity is resulting in quantity surveyors moving jobs to expect salary increases of up to 15 per cent at all levels. Project managers, site managers, engineers and Health & Safety professionals can expect increases of up to 10 per cent. Building services engineers with three to seven years’ experience are much sought after by consultancies, as well as M&E and building contractors. Those returning from abroad have an array of options in front of them. Ten years’ experience delivering high-class engineering projects can command salaries close to €90,000.

What should construction firms be doing to get their ideal candidate?

The Package

Brendan Kelly, Director, O’Neill & Brennan Group says: “Candidates often ask about salary before allowing their CV to be put forward. If your salary and benefits package is not attractive, you are immediately making things difficult for yourself. However, if you mainly supply short-term contracts, you can appeal to operatives by delivering payment on time and being open, honest and transparent with them throughout the duration of their placement. “

Ferdia White of Hays Recruitment advises: “As competition grows for candidates, companies are offering car allowances, healthcare, pensions and bonuses as standard. So the package you offer has to be competitive to attract the right candidates.”

Barry Kelly of ICDS Recruitment says that in addition to offering the right salary, firms will make themselves more attractive to experienced candidates, particularly with families, if the contract is permanent and the package includes pensions, CPD opportunities, and there is an element of flexible hours, such as starting and finishing earlier to meet family commitments.”

Paraic Kelly of constructionjobs.ie says: “Salary levels are important, particularly to younger candidates. However, for more experienced candidates, other factors, such as job sustainability and future prospects come into play. Employers should be mindful when recruiting from abroad a returning expat may be bringing an emigrating family with them.”

Make a compelling proposition

While main contractors may offer the most prestigious contracts, smaller contractors might have an edge when it comes to engagement.

Brendan Kelly says: “Many people think that it’s much easier for bigger companies to attract talent because they often have the bigger, higher profile clients and contracts. This may be true and access to these types of projects is something that any company of that size should sell itself on. However, small to medium-sized companies are able to offer candidates the chance to work on projects from inception to completion. This can be very attractive to good candidates as it gives them opportunities to grow as a professional, in addition to having project ownership and the satisfaction of seeing a project through.”

In addition to salary, ideal candidates will be looking to work for companies that offer career development opportunities and companies with a corporate culture that fits with their needs.

Paraic Kelly says: “Firms have to make a compelling proposition to attract candidates to want to work for them. They should use all their resources to present their company in as positive a light as possible, showing how achievements amongst staff is valued and showing how much value is placed on staff’s contribution to company’s success. Use the company website to show the people behind the business, the type of work they do, and show people developing and advancing within the business.”

Ferdia White says, ”Never before have companies been better positioned to get their message out. With the vast array of online communications tools available, companies should be using them to maximum effect. Make your website accessible and easy to navigate, and make it easy for interested parties to get in contact. Then, make sure it is optimised to be found by search engines.”

Ferdia White also advises to make the most of LinkedIn: “Your business must be present on LinkedIn. Set up a LinkedIn company page, with clear contact details, company information and any ‘live’ jobs. Share relevant content that presents your expertise on your company page and encourage staff to share your posts.

Barry Kelly of ICDS says: “Digital media has given companies greater control in getting their message out there. Companies should have a clear and concise message that speaks directly to candidates. Websites should be search engine optimised to ensure the first message potential candidates see is a positive one.

Routes to candidates

With salary, package and company message covered, what is the best route to the ideal candidate?

Paraic Kelly of constructionjobs.ie recommends that companies use the full mix of services at their disposal. “While I would recommend using specialist jobs boards such as constructionjobs.ie, I also strongly recommend that recruiting companies also use a mix of recruitment agencies, general job boards, social media, Google ads, local papers, representative body job websites such as CIFjobs.ie, and job aggregators such as indeed.com to ensure they reach as many candidates as possible.”

Ferdia White of Hays Recruitment advises: “A specialist recruitment company has market knowledge, can provide salary advice and hopefully the right candidate to fill the role. We also know the best candidates in the market currently looking for roles. For example, Hays has the global reach to look for Irish expats from Australia, Canada, Middle East and the UK.”

Barry Kelly of ICDS advises that “top agencies such as ICDS already have candidates on their books, we can provide expert advice on the right package, and we have a global network of offices and partners who can find candidates with the right experience.”

Brendan Kelly of O’Neill Brennan says companies should “plan ahead, and talk to recruiters, as firms such as O’Neill Brennan Group have a large pool of talent on tap and can use online tools to get jobs in front of the right candidates anywhere in the world.  We at O’Neill Brenna also offer country specific micro-websites that can be indexed in foreign search engines.

Top Five Tips for Recruiting Top Construction Talent

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Paraic Kelly, irishconstructionjobs.ie

  • Make a compelling proposition to work for your organisation
  • Use a mix of agencies, job boards, social media, Google, local papers, industry platforms (cifjobs.ie), and job aggregators such as, indeed.com
  • Promote your employer brand. Show the people behind the business
  • Be an organisation where candidates can Grow, Learn and Contribute
  • Sell the Vision and Culture of your company


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Brendan Kelly, O’Neill & Brennan Group

  • Plan ahead and source your preferred person early, whether for contract or permanent positions.
  • Use company profiling to determine the best fit for employee and qualifications required. Prioritise requirements and be flexible in that you may not get a perfect fit.
  • An experienced professional may take longer to find, but is always worth pursuing over a lesser-experienced candidate available immediately.
  • Keep lines of communication open – Keep candidates informed, Good candidates have options. Lack of feedback could send a candidate elsewhere
  • Recruitment can be time-consuming and costly. Recruitment firms have talent pools and knowledge of salaries, career expectations and available skill-sets.

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    Ferdia White, Hays Recruitment


    1. Specialist recruitment companies know the best candidates currently looking for roles and have a global reach to find candidates abroad.
    2. Get familiar with Skype to conduct interviews. It is also worthwhile setting up Skype on a TV/projector in a quiet meeting room.
    3. Set up a LinkedIn company page. Jobseekers use LinkedIn to research jobs, as well as potential employers.
    4. Use online jobs boards to attract candidates.
    5. Keep your website simple, user-friendly and optimised, and make it easy for interested parties to get in contact.


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    Barry Kelly. ICDS

    1. Specialist recruitment agencies have a pool of talent or direct access to ideal candidates to fit most jobs.
    2. Maximise your online presence to tell your company story. Optimise on search engines to ensure a positive message is communicated.
    3. If recruiting returning middle to senior expat professionals, be aware that a full-time job improves their ability to get a mortgage.
    4. Embrace new skills. Employees with experience of large international projects have a lot to offer in terms of experience. Don’t dismiss it.
    5. Get connected: Companies with a cloud-based IT set up are more attractive to candidates who are use to working remotely onsite with minimal need for returning to the office. It also makes company operations more productive.
    Careers in Construction