With a skills shortage in a growing industry, it’s a vital time for housebuilders to look at how to attract and recruit the right people, and here we speak to Tom Morris of TDM Recruitment to get his thoughts on what needs to be done and how to do it.
Please tell us a little about yourself and TDM Recruitment.
We are the leading national housebuilding and residential property recruiter that recruits across the whole lifecycle of projects in land and planning, technical, commercial, construction, and new homes sales and marketing.
We operate on a contingency basis but utilise search techniques which means clients can access high-calibre candidates that are not actively on the market.
Uniquely our consultants only recruit in one vertical, so if they are recruiting surveyors that is all they will recruit. This means that each consultant has a deep understanding of the candidate pool and the nuances of each role.
I have been in the industry for 13 years and TDM has been in operation since 2010.
What differentiates you from other recruiters?
The housebuilding industry has typically been populated by very expensive search firms that want a stack of cash up front and three months to complete the assignment.
I have worked in this market, and to be frank it is a waste of time for clients and there is no guarantee of success. The world has changed, and technology has enabled recruiters to work quicker and smarter.
Essentially, all our clients want is fast and cost-effective service for recruitment as the longer the position stays open the more in costs them in lost productivity.
We operate on a no-placement/no-fee basis so we take all the risk and will charge you a lot less with fees, typically 15% rather than the 25%-30% that search firms charge you.
Have the increasing targets for new home building across Britain changed the career prospects in the sector dramatically?
The housebuilding industry has always been a fantastic sector to work regardless of the new targets. The problem is the general perception of housebuilding that is big hairy-arsed builders and wolf-whistling – nothing could be further from the truth.
I personally think that as an industry we need to promote it more to school leavers and graduates to bring more people in. Also, we need to do more to attract a diverse workforce from different backgrounds and ethnicities. At TDM we are just starting to track the diversity of applicants and hope to share this data with clients over next six months, once we have complete statistics.
How has the recruitment market changed for hiring managers in the past two years?
It is a seller’s market at the moment and candidates are the ones with the power and opportunity. If hiring for a key role then time considerations needs to be taken into account as high-quality candidates do not hang around. We encourage our clients to move quickly if they meet an outstanding candidate rather than hold fire and follow a rigid interview structure. It is always disappointing to have to call a client and say that the candidate they were really interested in is now off the market and been snapped up by a member of the competition.
How has the recruitment market changed for candidates in the past two years?
Clients are looking for sustained success and key achievements. This needs to be demonstrated on your CV effectively and as efficiently as possible. Also, candidates need to research the company they are meeting. You need to sell yourself in an interview.
How do we attract young people to the industry?
As an industry we need to go on the charm offensive and efficiently chase the next generation that are currently at university, college or school. We need to show the next generation the careers they could have, as well as the social impact they will have on communities and people.
I think far too often we are scared of promoting ourselves for fear of being bashed in the press and it’s often easier to be quiet rather than big up this fantastic industry.
The world has changed massively over the past two to three years and what people look for in jobs has changed. Gone are the days of 10- to 15-year service and a job for life – younger candidates want something more out of a job. Also, people tend to view a job as a project whereby they gain some skills or work on a specific project that personally interests them.
As an industry we need to catch up to this new thinking, modernise processes and hiring techniques.
Do you see new opportunities in housebuilding now that would have attracted you to that career path when you first looked for a job?
If I had my time again I would still go for recruitment as I love what I do. However, the housebuilding industry has always been of interest and after four years in recruitment I was offered a land buying job by a client. I turned it down as it was spring/ summer 2008 and I did not think things were looking that great!