5 Tips for Hiring a Carpenter

By |

Do you have go-to construction carpenters? Hopefully, you have a few lined up. Hiring a carpenter can get complicated in the thick of busy seasons. Too many construction businesses fly by the seat of their pants with someone who has a muddled reputation, all because they didn't plan ahead. There are five key ways you can ensure that you always have a qualified carpenter with a good reputation for every job.

  1. Be Specific

You'd think this wouldn't need saying, but the number of listings for “general carpenter” are gob smacking. A general carpenter might not suit the job you need done. If the job specs you post are too general, you'll end up wasting time on a number of carpenters who don't suit the role. You'll end up halfway through the interview process before you realize someone can't do what you need them to.

Wasted time in the hiring process is brutal. It blocks you from time that could be spent with construction carpenters who are ready and qualified to do the job at hand. Worst of all, if you end up hiring someone and only realize they're not suited to the position after they've started the job, it becomes a massive headache with a lot of extra costs for you.

  1. Word of Mouth Matters

Job posting boards can be risky. Sometimes you'll luck out. The right candidate will find you and the hiring process will go smoothly. Many other times, your post will get buried beneath dozens of similar posts. Carpenters will miss yours because it's posted at a bad time of day or because you phrase something in a way that's less appealing than a competitor who's also hiring.

Build your networks and trust them. Talk to former carpenters who've worked for you. If they're busy or retired, they'll almost always have someone to recommend. Talk to the union. Create incentives for your employees. If they recommend someone you end up hiring, they get a bonus. You'll be surprised how much more effective your search becomes by talking about it with those you already work with and trust.

  1. Check Past Experience

People lie and exaggerate. Some will do so in order to get a job they may not be fully qualified to handle. You can't go through life distrusting everyone – that's the quickest way to bog down a business. At the same time, if someone presents themselves as qualified to do a job when they aren't, that's the quickest way to botch a job.

The way around this is surprisingly easy – and often forgotten. Check references. Call former employers. Many, many hirers dismiss this step as time wasted. It's not. It's one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Ask about the jobs the applicant has done, how they worked as part of a team, how well they hit deadlines, how well they solved problems that cropped up, and whether they were accountable for their work.

Also check carpenters' online reviews. See how they interact with customers on their professional social media. Ask to see photos of jobs they've done before. You don't need to know every detail of their history, but you do need an overview of how that history will apply to the job you need them to do.

  1. Test Run Them

Is there a quick job you can hire them for before the larger one? Maybe you need punch out work done for a job that's almost finished. This is a good opportunity to test them in a light role and measure their efficiency and accountability. If there's a quick job as part of a team, this is a good chance to see how they gel with your other workers. Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” If you can do this on a quick job before the larger project comes along, it shows you how they'll perform.

  1. Use Labor Staffing Services

Hiring a carpenter requires many of the tools of a human resources department. Often, construction businesses lack these skills and tools. There's nothing wrong with that. A construction business specializes in construction. A personnel business specializes in personnel. A labor staffing service can effectively act as your human resources department.

The advantages here are that they already have extensive networks to rely on, they can vet and check candidates' qualifications and references extensively, they can conduct preliminary interviews so that your interviews only deal with the absolute best candidates available. They can even handle administrative duties involved with hiring and pay if needed.

It's OK that you're not a human resources specialist, but the more time you spend doing a job that isn't yours, the less time you have to focus on the job where you do specialize. Relying on labor staffing services for hiring a carpenter and any other workers you need cuts down on the amount of time you'll spend hiring and increases your efficiency at managing your business and its projects.


Download a Checklist for Hiring a Labor Staffing Agency | Labor for Hire