Working in the construction industry for a good portion of my life has given me the opportunity to interview prospective employees. Aside from normal questions such as why they want to work, how much they expect for pay, benefits, what they expect from the company or employer, the above questions should be asked and considered prior to hiring anyone who wants to work construction industry. The following questions and expected answers are given based on experience in this field of work.
Do you have experience where, what kind and how much or how long? Ask why they left. Be prepared to name jobs you have worked on, who you worked for, and for how long. Specify more techincal projects you assisted in building.
Do you have any tools that relate to the job and do you know how to use them? In any job you apply to, being prepared gives an advantage. The answer should be yes, the very least, a hammer, tape measure and tool belt. Knowing how to use certain tools such as grade levels, transits, plumb bobs, reading a tape, use of air compressors, generators and safety measures when using them is very important. This also includes work boots (steel toed or electrical resistant shoes or regular work boots depending on type of construction).
Do you use drugs or alcohol? Construction is generally a safety sensitive function, working around machinery, equipment tools and often high places, tight places or require balancing and moving materials to unfinished locations. Many construction job duties entail walking or balancing on areas with only a wall, unfinished floors, beams, wood joints and trusses. You also don't want them to injure others. As a result a prospective employee should be drug and alcohol free.
Do you have your own transportation to work. You can't get to work if you don't have a way there. This is important for dependability issues. If you have 100 yards of concrete to pour and your worker don't show up because he can't get to the job, it is going to cost you, if you can't finish it in time or have to send it back. You want dependable show up on time people working for you. Many jobs are done on schedules and specific time completion expectations, if the workers don't show up, often there are monetary penalties for delays in completion by the expected schedules.
Do you have a valid drivers license? Trucks are used often in the construction industry it is important to be able to drive vehicles to and from job sites and to get supplies if needed. Having a valid drivers license is beneficial and needed for liability auto insurance purposes.
Are they willing to work outdoors in all types of weather and do they have the clothing for doing so? The answer should be yes, or they could get them. Most construction jobs are outdoors in all kinds of weather.
What was your last position, how long did you hold that position and how much were they paying you? If the worker responds that they were a laborer for 5 years, started out at eight dollars per hour and never got a raise even though they showed up on time and worked, something is wrong with that picture. If they were never promoted, either they weren't capable of learning new valuable construction skills, work methods, advancing above that level or there was a problem with getting along with customers, foreman and upper management..
What would you do if a customer had a problem? The correct response would be try to resolve it and make the customer happy. If they could not resolve the issue, get someone who can.
Have they ever walked off of the job? If so, for what reason? Walking off of the job shows that the individual might have a teamwork or authority problem. Not only does it make the company look bad, you don't want to end up short on help if needed.
Have they ever caused damage to equipment, tools or on a job they were working on? Make sure to get details if the answer is yes and use your best judgment.
Have they ever been injured on the job or off of the job? A prior injury could pose a potential risk to you depending on the type of injury. You will not want to aggravate and existing condition and be liable for it. The same applies if the work is strenuous and they have had breathing or heart problems.
How are their math skills? If they cannot do basic figuring, they might not measure correctly, figure layouts properly or manage job costing, job billing or even their own time card. This could lead to great expense for the employer.
If hiring for a foreman position- Do they know how to read and interpret blue prints? If they don't, they cannot set up the job according to plans or have correct placement of specs described in plan layout. They also will not be able to organize timing of finishing certain projects and who can install what, and at what phase they are to install it.
How long do they plan on staying with the company? It might not be the right choice if they are not willing to dedicate time to your company. Training and re-training construction workers, gets time consuming and nothing is more frustrating than spending valuable time training someone, just to have them take the skills you taught them, to your competitor.
What kind of worker would your last employer say you were? An honest worker reduces theft, on time worker shows dependability and a hard worker shows you won't be wasting money on someone standing around.