Construction Business Management

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Taking Advantage of the Recession: Hiring the Right People

One of the few positive aspects of an economic downturn for a contractor or builder is the abundance of top-notch people who have suddenly found themselves out of a job. Creative advertisements are likely to yield hundreds of applicants, many of whom will probably meet or exceed your requirements. You may be able to be very selective in hiring.

One of your critical functions as leader and manager of your construction firm is to identify, hire, and groom the talent you need now and in the future for key positions within your company.

No matter how small your business is, or how large you grow it, your success will depend a lot on your skills in bringing the right people on board, and how you and they relate to each other. This applies to your employees, subcontractors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals you bring into your team, and your customers.

Donald Trump’s book, The Way to the Top—The Best Business Advice I Ever Received, is a compilation of business advice from contributors whom Trump calls “many of the brightest, most-successful business people” he knows. It is impressive that so many of these leaders write that their success is largely a result of hiring only the most capable people.

Don’t compromise. Before you decide to include someone in your business circle, thoroughly research his or her qualifications with respect to your requirements, and his or her business and personal reputation. Don’t base decisions on initial cost alone. If ever there has been an optimum time to fill critical positions in your company, it is now—if you can afford to do so, of course.

A common-sense filter is to hire only people you like. Regardless of an employee's qualifications, you’re probably not going to stick with him or her long term if you don’t like them and vice-versa. On the other hand, of course, personal compatibility is no guarantee that they will satisfy your business needs.

The author of this article, Nick Ganaway, was a successful general contractor for 25 years. He is a consultant in Atlanta, Georgia for contractors and other small business owners. Nick has described how to set up and manage a construction business that is profitable, enjoyable, and enduring in his book, Construction Business Management: What Every Construction Contractor, Builder & Subcontractor Needs to Know.


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