Why New Hires Don’t Last The Distance


You won two major projects quicker than anticipated which left you with a recruitment headache.


Luckily some of your team knew some ‘good’ people from previous projects they had worked on and fortunately, a few were interested in new opportunities.


A couple of short interviews later and you had yourself two much needed project managers, and a great new Senior Quantity Surveyor.


Sounds great doesn’t it; except just a few short weeks later, six to be exact, you are left with only 2 out of your original 5 new hires; sound familiar?


Why new hires wont last the distance humres 1


Unfortunately this is a common experience within the construction industry and leaves recruiting managers with an even bigger headache than when they first started, why? Because you need to recruit for the same roles again and usually you have no idea why your new hires left after such a short time. So now you are left with two priorities on you’re to do list:

1. Understand why your new recruits left so soon

2. Recruit four new hires who you are certain will stay


Why they left?


Let’s start by exploring what may have contributed to why your new hires didn’t last the distance. To do this it’s worth taking a look at what are the success factors behind recruiting a candidate that, not only stays around but develops their career with your company for many years to come.


Here’s are something of the key things candidates are looking for from a potential employer:

  • A clear understanding of the future direction of the company
    (Often known as a vision)
  • A sense of what the company culture is and how they engage with their teams
  • What the company expects from employees and what it commits to
  • Clarity of the kind of people the company look to employ
  • An explanation of the role they are being interviewed for, including a full job description
  • A professional recruitment process
  • Visible leaders and managers who are inspiring, supportive and who are keen
    to continue developing themselves
  • Opportunities for growth and development leading to promotions
  • Systems that support people development such as appraisals and regular reviews


Why new hires wont last the distance humres 2


It’s quite a list isn’t it? What happened to the days when people were glad to have a job, it doesn’t seem that long ago.

You are right, it isn’t and the reality is that the construction industry is enjoying consistent growth. At the same time, regular readers will have heard me talk about the skills shortage in our industry and this means that candidates are in a strong position to choose their next career move. It’s not unusual for candidates to be receiving 2 or 3 offers.


Let’s go back to my first question, “Are your new hires staying the distance?”


If a candidate starts their new position and finds it’s not quite the role they were expecting;

  • The hours are far longer than they thought,
  • They now realise they are expected to travel 2 days a week
  • Are responsible for 2 project sites not one
  • Finally, it all adds up to a quite an unrealistic work load


Looking at the candidates options they could:

  • Talk to their boss and explain it’s not quite what they expected and discuss what can be changed
  • Give it their best shot and see how it goes
  • Or remember that just a few weeks ago they had 2 other offers and so it would be quite easy to get 2 more


In a market where candidates have such choice, it’s very easy to quit and move to another more suitable role. After all, if they can get the same salary for more reasonable hours wouldn’t most people take that option; possibly?


When you reflect back on the process you used for your three now departed ex-employees, how much time did you invest in the initial recruitment process? Did you take the time to talk about your company and its future direction and describe what opportunities this would present over the coming years? What did you say to your ex-employees about the nature of the role they were being interviewed for?


Why new hires wont last the distance humres 3


It may be that you don’t have a clear direction of where your company is going, so you aren’t sure what the future holds. At the moment things are good but who knows what’s around the corner.


To ensure you attract good quality, planners, surveyors, project managers and engineers… (I won’t go on) who stay the distance, there are some key things to get in place if you haven’t already:

  • Have a clear vision for your company.
  • Know what skills and competencies each role requires.
  • Develop job descriptions.
  • Communicate role expectations in detail in interviews.
  • Implement competency based interviewing.


When you have these in place and a thorough interview process, you will see a significant difference.


Let me know your thoughts. Drop a comment in the box below.


Best regards,