Posted on February 20, 2018 in Recent News

HOW TO: Hire The Best Construction Crew For Your Next PME Project.


Whether it’s finding a single employee or an entire team for your next construction project, you surely know the recruitment experience, patience and grit it takes to attract – and keep the most talented and reliable workers in the industry. Regardless of the size and scope of your project.

The success of every construction project depends solely on your workers after all. Perhaps in the future robotics could help – but construction is a fluid, dynamic workplace with hundreds of unforeseen challenges each day. Challenges that require human decision making and organisation across on-site and off-site teams. Every construction project is also unique, even if you are building two identical structures!

With over forty years of experience in crew resource and management for major Papua New Guinea construction projects – today we’re looking at some of the strategies we here at PME use to find the right crew for PNG construction projects.

To get your project completed on time, budget and to the quality standards you demand, here are some recruitment strategies PME use on a daily basis:

1. Do the candidates truly have the right skills?

For a potential candidate to be considered for the advertised construction position, naturally he or she must meet the “skills required” to perform the criteria in the job description – i.e. qualifications, experience and skills that are required for the role. These however are surface details that should be used only to filter the first round of applications.

You need to dig much deeper to test and find the right workers for your project. Start by putting together “10 emotional response questions” that relate specifically to the daily tasks they will need to perform.

As an example, if you’re hiring an electrician for a large commercial or residential building, ask them what they would do if a conduit is cemented two metres from the location on the plan, ask them how they feel about tedious work like chasing walls, ask them about how they would approach a specific safety concern. With deeper questions, you can paint a high-definition picture of your top candidates.

2. Does their attitude align with your company?

Following the emotional questions in step one, perhaps more important than skill or experience for many PNG construction roles, is the employee’s attitude towards work. Does their attitude fit your company, and more importantly, the rest of your team’s culture to ensure harmonious and successful results?

If an employee has a can-do attitude, a team player and can handle pressure effectively, you will be on the right track. But you need to consider the nuances that make up a great crew, and know your current workers well. For example, do they like rugby? Shared interests and hobbies always help new staff to bond faster.

3. What are their motivations for the job?

Potential candidates know your motivations, so know we need to uncover theirs to determine if the individual is sincerely interested in your role – even on a short-term contract. They may actually be a job hopper that can sell themselves in interviews, but have a habit of burning bridges and being a negative employee.

It’s important to uncover why your top candidates are looking to switch jobs if they are already employed, or in a contract. You simply cannot afford to invest in someone who is a job hopper or is looking for more money. These employees will never be happy and in our experience, less likely to excel at their jobs.

4. Put together a hands-on test if you can

Answering questions in a job interview is one thing, seeing your top candidates in action is another. This step helps you to separate the good workers, from the great. You should consider putting the employee through a few relevant tests if you can, or if possible, offer a weeks paid trial period to see and monitor your top candidates in the field. Please check with your legal team before doing this though, you may have clauses in your contracts or legislations that need to be considered.

Give your top candidates a simulated task to handle, or if possible take them to your project site to see how they perform in real-world situations. This will quickly determine how confident, skilled and efficient they are.

5. Always run a full background check

By now you should have narrowed your potential candidates down to 2 or 3 people at the most. With the first four steps you should be entirely confident that the candidates are right for your PNG construction project and team – and also know that their motives are in the right place.

As a final step, be sure to run a full background check to confirm their references and authenticate the information your candidates have provided during the interview phase. It’s important to set aside time to chat with previous employers and listen carefully to what they say, paying close attention to read between the lines.

You might also want to run a PNG police checks if you feel it’s required. However, if you are correctly testing your candidates, you should be 100% confident that regardless of the past mistakes they’ve made, they’re not the kind of person who would make them again.

With the right staff, casual or full-time, your construction project is guaranteed the best chance of success, hitting your HR, schedule and budget targets.

If you need the right crew for your construction project, big or small, PME has over forty years of experience in staff resource and management for major Papua New Guinea construction projects. Simply contact us to chat about your PNG construction project.

Our services include:

  • Personnel management, single hire to full team
  • Working permit and visa application support
  • Logistics and employee relocation services
  • Personnel training and certifications
  • Tailored operational and administrative services