5 Hiring Mistakes General Contractors Make

5 Hiring Mistakes General Contractors Make

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Posted by EJ Brown

October 10, 2018

If you’re having a hard time finding and hiring talented employees for your general contractor business, you’re not alone. 

According to a survey from the Service Council, 32% of service businesses are grappling with a talent shortage—and that statistic is expected to rise to 71% over the next decade.

Hiring great people

is tough, but there are a few key guidelines you can follow to make your search run more smoothly. If you want to hire talented employees who perform up to your standards on construction projects and home improvements, avoid these five common hiring mistakes.

5 Mistakes General Contractors Make When Hiring 

1. Bringing on employees, subcontractors, or project managers because they’re family

It’s one thing to hire a relative if they’re a talented general contractor; it’s another thing entirely to hire a family member solely because they’re related to you.

Working with family can complicate your workplace situation and strain your relationship in ways you might not expect. Family members might feel entitled to special privileges, like the best shifts or more frequent raises—which creates tension on your team that can extend all the way to the job site.

Another concern is that, if you hire a family member who turns out to be under-qualified or a poor fit for your general contractor business, you may find yourself hesitant to fire or reprimand them. You should only hire employees you’ll be willing to fire if necessary.

If you do decide to hire a relative, set clear expectations from day one. Communicate that their job security is dependent entirely on their performance, and has nothing to do with their blood relation to you.

2. Using a generic job description

Finding great employees for your general contractor business starts with posting a strong job description. If your write-up doesn’t clearly explain the job requirements and expected duties, you won’t attract the right candidates.

Instead of copying and pasting a generic contractor job description, take the time to think about what skills are necessities and which are simply nice to have. By browsing other companies’ job posts on sites like


, you’ll get a sense of how to clearly outline desired experience, training, and qualifications.

To stand out from the field of construction and home improvement businesses, consider adding a personal touch to your job description. Include a few details about your business and the types of customers you serve to catch candidates’ eyes and incentivize them to submit an application.

3. Skipping the technical test

Just because a candidate looks great on paper, doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to work on a job site. A simple written or on-site test can give you a clear picture of someone’s actual skill set and construction capabilities. 

This technical test can also help you narrow down the pool of applicants: only those with a serious interest in working for you will take the time to complete the assessment.

This is a crucial part of the hiring process for general contractor businesses, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to provide on-the-job training before sending a new employee out on their first home improvement assignment.

4. Focusing only on technical skills

As important as technical skills are, they shouldn’t be your only focus when hiring. With the right candidate, technical skills can be taught and improved over time. But an employee’s personality traits, soft skills, and willingness to learn are unlikely to change.

If you have the time to train and mentor a novice employee, you should weigh their hard skills (like industry knowledge and specific technical abilities) against their soft skills (like communication, empathy, and ability to think on their feet). Never ignore culture-fit red flags just because you’re impressed by a candidate’s skill set.

Whoever you end up hiring will represent your business when interacting with homeowners, so it’s critical that you’re comfortable with both the quality of their work


the level of service they provide.

5. Overlooking culture fit

Culture fit is one of the most important indicators of

employee satisfaction

and loyalty. As you interview candidates for your general contractor business, consider whether they’ll be a good fit with your existing team members.

Even if your employees typically work independently, it’s crucial that their approach and work ethic align with your expectations. Someone who respects their coworkers is more likely to stick around for the long haul, even if your business goes through a rough patch or you face an unexpectedly busy period. 

No matter where you are in your hiring process, considering these five factors can help you find employees that truly fit your business and deliver five-star service to your customers every time.

About Housecall Pro

Housecall Pro is a top-rated, all-in-one business solution that helps home service professionals work simpler and grow smarter. With easy-to-use digital tools for scheduling and dispatching jobs, managing payments, automating marketing efforts, and more, Housecall Pro helps Pros efficiently manage every aspect of their business all in one place.

The Housecall Pro platform is available through a mobile app and web portal for Pros across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2013, Housecall Pro has been championing Pros through streamlined solutions and strong community support for over eight years.

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