Chasing square pegs?

Blog - Chasing square pegs

We are in a candidate scarce market in the housebuilding industry. There simply aren’t enough experienced people to fulfill the sector’s expansion plans. You only have to look how hard it is to get suitable candidates to interview and how much effort companies put in to trying keep people at resignation.

So how can you respond as a hiring manager with a vacancy in your team?

The first step is be a little more creative. Don’t simply look for a square peg for a square hole. If you are looking for a Sales Director and you only target your competitor’s Sales Directors you are relying on finding someone unhappy with their current employer. Your proposition to them is a similar salary doing a similar job. Only those eager to leave will show any interest in your vacancy. Are they the people you really want to shortlist?

There are two alternative possibilities.

Firstly, look for someone in your competitors who is ready to step up to your job. Using the example above, a really good Sales Manager who wants to be a Sales Director. You are offering a new challenge, a better salary and career progression. Now you are appealing to anyone with career ambition.

Secondly, look for someone outside of house building but in a related sector. They could be in a planning consultancy, a main contractor, a ground worker, local authority, the list goes on. You are offering a new challenge, a different environment, and in many cases, a better salary.

With both of these options there comes some additional supervision and development of the the successful candidate. But based on evidence I have had from senior leaders in the industry, this time investment has been substantially rewarded with loyalty, hard work and high performance from the candidate.  In summary, they have been excellent hires.