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Overcoming the 'Experience Gap': An Updated Approach to Hiring in the LBM Industry

Overcoming the 'Experience Gap': An Updated Approach to Hiring in the LBM Industry

Material Matters Member News Industry News/Information Rikka Brandon Hire Power Building Gurus

Rikka Brandon - Building Gurus - Hire Power

Note - this is the first article in a series of 12 provided by Rikka Brandon. Read the next article "Crafting an Effective Job Description: A Step-by-Step Guide for LBM Dealer Leaders" first published in the Dec. 23/Jan. 24 issue of BLD Connection Magazine

The Lumber and Building Material (LBM) industry is confronting a multitude of hiring challenges. Labor shortages, a rapidly aging/retiring workforce, and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have all tabulated into constricting the labor pool. Additionally, attracting the younger workforce to bridge the gap has proven difficult. It's time to innovate and shift our hiring paradigms.

Reimagining Hiring Standards

For organizations to thrive in this hiring climate, they must seek individuals who may lack industry experience but possess the potential for development. Even with no background in lumber, building materials, or construction, candidates with innate talents and curiosity can offer unique perspectives and facilitate growth. Remember, not every job criteria has to be met at the point of hiring. Certain capabilities and knowledge can be acquired on the job.

Consider a lumberyard associate. While specific knowledge of wood types can be extremely beneficial, it's a skill that can be cultivated with time and practice versus the ability to provide excellent customer service, which often requires a personality trait.

Acquirable Skills

Many competencies that are integral to LBM roles can be taught. New hires can develop product knowledge, improve proficiency with software and technology, and learn how to handle various tools and equipment. As a member of BLD Connection, you have access to some of the best trainings available in the LBM Industry. If you don’t have an internal expert, seek an external expert to help your organization learn best practices and train your team members.

Innate Traits

Traits like aptitude, enthusiasm, interpersonal skills, and a willingness to learn are not inherently trainable. These qualities, often overlooked, significantly contribute to an employee's long-term success. Therefore, hiring managers should not underestimate the power of these attributes during the hiring process.

When looking internally, use the GWC Approach

GWC (Get it, Want it, Capacity to do it) model is drawn from the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This model proposes three questions concerning someone's understanding of the job, motivation to do it, and capacity to perform. An answer of 'Yes' or 'No' to each question provides valuable insight. It's worth noting that 'Capacity' can sometimes be cultivated through training and mentorship. This is a simple way to assess your existing employees to see if they could be great in the open position. You can check out a quick video on GWC here.

Unleashing the potential of 'unexperienced' recruits begins by understanding what constitutes trainable versus naturally embedded abilities for each role. Such an investment in internal and external training not only fosters a skilled workforce but also bolsters a dedicated team. LBM Leaders should be encouraged to claim the potential of these 'fresh faces', offering learning and growing platforms where they can accelerate and flourish.

Rikka Brandon is a leading recruiting and hiring expert in the LBM industry. She’s the founder of Building Gurus, a boutique training, consulting, and executive search firm for building products manufacturers and distributors. She’s also the creator of Hire Power  an on-demand training for recruiting and hiring in the building products industry. If you’re interested in working with Rikka, schedule a call at

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Source : Rikka Brandon - Building Gurus - Hire Power

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