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Tags: career-guidance-construction-and-property, blog, construction-and-property

Are you looking to develop or begin your career in construction? Many employers are interested in discovering the non-technical skills and qualities which contribute to the successful completion of a project. Whilst technical skills can be taught, interpersonal skills such as work ethic need to present within the interview or screening process.

We gathered insights from 1,000 senior managers in our Skills Shortage Report to discover the five most desired employee skills in construction and how you can demonstrate these when looking for a new role.

1.     Experience

Different companies expect different levels of experience from candidates. If you’re new to the industry, there are apprenticeships available that combine on-the-job training with in-class learning, or you may consider an entry-level construction worker job to gain skills and understanding. For more experienced candidates, employers will want you to demonstrate a level of commercial awareness which you have earned from previous roles.

How to demonstrate your experience: Have a basic understanding of how the role you’re applying for fits into the project as a whole and the impact it has on the profitability of the company. It also helps to have a general awareness of external factors which affect construction i.e. economic events and current trends, you can demonstrate this commercial thinking when asking your own questions or in conversation.

2.     Work Ethic

Construction work is physically demanding and requires strength and endurance. This doesn’t mean you have to be the strongest person in your friendship group, a good work ethic is sufficient as it shows candidates believe in the importance of their job.

How to demonstrate a good work ethic: Be prepared to provide examples that show you have demonstrated your work ethic. Think about times where you have focused on tasks for as long as necessary to get them done, whilst referring back to the initial job ad or job description for details on the roles and responsibilities.

3.     Resilience

Construction work is often determined on a project-by-project basis and can be lead by unforeseen circumstances. Candidates need to be flexible and able to adapt, whether that be relocating for a project or re-prioritising tasks.

How to demonstrate resilience: How you react to changing situations will be monitored during the assessment. Ensure you are listening carefully in order to pick up on new information during discussions or group activities. Separately, you may want to start considering whether you would be willing to relocate if needed.

4.     Teamwork

As construction is an industry in which a number of organisations and teams work together, building positive relationships and reputation in a team environment is so important. Relationships are built on your understanding of others, and how you communicate with and treat others.

How to demonstrate teamwork: An interviewee may ask when you have worked in a team or when you have made errors and what you did to correct them. But they will also be observing how you build relationships during an assessment or interview, whether that’s with the interviewer themselves or with other candidates within the assessment centre.

5.     Initiative

In construction, new technologies and techniques are frequently being introduced and challenging situations can arise quickly. Candidates need initiative and a problem-solving mindset to encounter problems and fix them under pressure.

How to demonstrate initiative: Employers may set a scenario that workers are likely to face while working on a real-life project and ask hypothetical questions, such as ‘What would you do if…?’. Whatever explanation you give, make sure you explain why you’ve come to that decision with the information you’ve got.

Now you are equipped with the five top skills construction employers are looking for, remember to demonstrate examples of when you’ve used these skills, values and behaviours when answering both scenario-based and competency-based questions.

To discover more insights like this within construction or your industry, download a free copy of the Search Skills Shortage Report today.

For more information on how you can secure your next construction job, contact our Search Construction team here.