recruitingRecruiting, hiring and retaining employees in this day and age can be quite cumbersome. It used to be that when people needed a job, they looked in the newspaper and mailed out paper resumes.

Today’s job search world however is of a different animal—one that involves online searches and job fairs. For job seekers, it’s about showcasing skills and work ethic. For businesses, it’s about displaying company perks. And, for the design-build industry in particular, finding good people—the right people—is becoming more challenging than ever.

“Our challenge comes from the situation that our company is quite specialized in the food industry, and can be viewed as less glamorous than other industries when it relates to architectural design,” says Donald Olsen, vice president design and operations for ESI Group, Hartland, Wis. “However, because an employee is such an investment, it is important that we find the right candidate. We have been doing more temporary-to-permanent hiring than hiring outright. This allows us to try the person out and see how they fit in with the rest of the group.”

In order to recruit, ESI Group remains in contact with local colleges and universities for listings of new graduates, attends job fairs at various universities and works with recruiting companies.

“On the engineering side of the company, we generally do not hire someone for a specific project, however if we need short-term help, we work through a temp services agency,” says Olsen. “From a skill standpoint, we are looking for people that can work with 3-D computer programs such as Revit. 3-D design and modeling have become very important in the industry.”

On the construction side of the company, ESI Group seeks out someone who can plan, coordinate, budget and supervise construction projects from early development to completion.

“The challenge has been finding quality personnel that are willing to travel,” says Mike Schwartz, vice president of operations for ESI Constructors. “We currently work with four different recruiting services to meet our staffing requirements. We have also had some success with hiring college graduates, but the travel and development timeline limit these opportunities.”

Overall, ever-changing technologies and food industry guidelines pose an additional challenge when looking to fill positions.