Construction interview questions to ask your next candidates

Finding new talent for your construction business can be stressful for both you and the new hire. Use these 5 creative questions in your next interview.

How many footballs could fit in this room? Which superpowers would you choose? How would you split three slices of cake among eight people?

Finding new talent for your organization can be stressful for both you and the new hire. Hiring managers have heard about using "brainteaser" questions like the ones above to help identify the best candidates. However, studies have found that goofy questions like these don't help you find better candidates. 

On the other hand, it's best to get a little more creative with your questions than "Do you work well with others" or "What are your biggest weaknesses" to ensure the candidate is a good fit for your culture. We've put together a quick list of 5 top-notch interview questions that will help you make the most of your hiring process.

"Pitch our company to me as if I were buying our construction services." 

This question highlights the candidate's knowledge of your business and gives you insight into the amount of research done in preparation for the interview. Their answer can also help you understand how the candidate uses their research to craft messages that would be valuable in business situations. 

What's a good answer to this question?

You're looking for an indication that the candidate has taken the time to review your website and maybe even checked out recent projects your company has completed. The candidate's response should combine a description of your organization with what makes it offers your core client base that they can't get anywhere else. For example, depending on the types of projects you typically work, a great response might be: "Here at ABC Construction, we have over 15 years of experience exceeding expectations on complex and modern data center projects for fortune 100 companies throughout the East Coast". 

"How would you describe your ideal work environment?"

During your hiring process, it's important that you hire candidates that are not only skilled in the position you're looking for but are also the right culture fit. The construction industry is fast-paced and has many high-pressure situations. Your new hire should be comfortable with what they are stepping into and excited about joining your team. 

What's a good answer to this question?

As someone that is doing the hiring, you know the culture of your organization and the types of people that excel in the various roles. You also have an idea of the personalities of your current employees and the people that will be acting as the superiors to the new hire. It's your job to make sure it's the right fit. A great response to this question might be: "I've worked in construction for the past 3 years and find that I do best when I have tight deadlines and clear goals. I respond best to people that are direct with me and are willing to work together to finish the job within scope". 

"What is your definition of hard work?"

All organizations have different expectations about their employees and what hard work means. Similar to the question above, this question helps to align your organization's values to the candidate's values. Does hard work mean late nights? Getting tasks done fastest? Asking the most questions? Keeping your head down and staying focused?

What's a good answer to this question?

Depending on the role you are hiring for, your definition of hard work can be different. For example, hiring the role of construction administration is going to have different responsibilities versus hiring the role of field superintendent. Look for an answer that aligns with the daily responsibilities of the role. A great response to this question might be: "Every morning when I get into work, I always make a list of things that need to get done today. I keep that list with me throughout the day and work hard to finish each item. As new items come up, I try to prioritize my tasks to keep me focused on what's most important". 

"In your opinion, why is construction project management software important?"

This question tells you a lot about how comfortable they feel about using project management technology and what the biggest benefits gained from it are. If they don't have much experience using software solutions, this question can also tell you how willing they are to learn new technologies and what resources you will need to set up to get them trained on your tools. 

What's a good answer to this question?

There are a ton of construction project management tools available today so you're looking for a candidate that has had at least some experience using software to track information on projects - bonus points if they have experience using modern tools like Project software can be seen by some as tedious and an extra step vs using just paper and pencil, but being the forward-thinking company you are, you are hoping to find candidates that realize the benefits of software including risk mitigation, project transparency, archive abilities, and more. A great response to this question might be: "I was probably the most active user at my last company. I loved getting into our systems and setting up reports to highlight project issues before they happen and sending information to other team members to keep everyone on the same page". 

"Do you have any questions for me?"

This is a classic interview question that a lot of organizations miss. It's important to give the candidate a chance to learn more about your business and make sure that it's a good fit for them, just as you're looking to make sure they are a good fit for you. This question also reveals a lot about what they value most about an organization. Are they wondering about company culture? Growth potential? Learning opportunities? Compensation?

What's a good answer to this question?

For this question, there is no real right or wrong answer. It's important to note communication style and personality in their response when finding the right fit to add to your team. A great response to this question might be: "Yes, I'd love to learn more about the people I would be working with on a daily basis. I'd also like to know about the person that held this role before me and the reason they have moved on."

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