Labour Hire vs. Temp-to-Perm placement

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Construction Workers Job Application - Perfect Hire

By Daniel Green

A Real Wolf Pit

Labour Hire has traditionally been a numbers game and for many clients and workers it still is. It’s a high turnover industry that shows no mercy. The thinking from the businesses side is that if you throw enough mud at the wall eventually something will stick. You almost can’t blame them because in life this is generally true. But jeez you’ve gotta throw some mud. Not only is this method hugely inefficient [just based on the volume of work you have to do to get workers on site], it’s also repetitive, draining and unfulfilling. And that’s just for the labour hire staff! The site guys can be left feeling a little used and undervalued, and let’s be honest – we all need to feel worthwhile from time to time. It erodes morale and eventually your workers quit. Even the superstars.

On the other side is traditional recruitment for full time positions. This is usually aimed at white collar professionals: architects, engineers and project managers. Workers of this nature usually spend years with an employer meaning that far more considerations need to be made before sliding that employment contract across the table. It is a vastly more expensive process but because their employment lasts far, far longer [read: years], that cost can be spread over a longer period and is therefore justified. This method almost always yields a better, more compatible worker but in the recruitment of construction site guys, there just isn’t the time or money.

Or Is There?

There isn’t. But what if a client with a fast-growing business had a need for stringent recruitment – and a superb and fantastically brilliant Marrickville labour hirer had an existing HR function that could be utilised? And we simply brought them together in some crazy recruitment love story? That would be a venture worth pursuing.

Early in 2019, Perfect Hire Human Resources specialist Andrew Cussen saw this opportunity when trying to help a smaller client who’d just won 2-3 years of work and didn’t have the manpower or the knowledge to recruit for it. Temp-to-Perm placement was born.

It’s important to stress that not every labour hire provider can do this – because not every labour hire provider is made up of ex-site guys who still get on the tools with consistent regularity. Perfect Hire is inextricably tied to Perfect Contracting – an unrestricted demolition, HAZMAT removal and civil works company that operates in the tier-one and -two space. The Perfect Hire HR team still regularly work rail possessions for clients such as Downer, Haslin, Brefni and John Holland. Additionally, Perfect Hire not only recruits for its own clientele, it recruits for the entire Perfect Group with its current 200-strong workforce.

How Does It Work?

Let’s say you the client come to Perfect Hire with the need for a good, solid trade-qualified boilermaker with EWP > 11m you can eventually employ full time. Except you don’t have the time, money or desire to do it. Perfect Hire will delve into your business: how it operates, what this worker looks like, how this new worker will fit in and what pay rate they’ll be on. We then check our existing workforce for suitable candidates and failing that, we advertise. Applications start to flow and checks are made:

  1. We call potential candidates to determine attitude [are they a decent communicator, are they polite, etc], aptitude [can they weld up in the basket?], qualifications [do they have trade papers, white card and a current EWP > 11m ticket?] If all of this is a yes, then:
  2. We call their referees for a second, more independent attitude and aptitude assessment. If this is a yes, then:
  3. We call the candidates back and request their tickets, with specific instructions to email them. If they follow this simple instruction, then:
  4. We check their tickets. For currency and for accuracy [are they trade papers or did they do just a weekend course, how long ago did they do the trade and have they been welding consistently since, is their EWP ticket over 11m or under 11m?]. If all of this is a yes, then:
  5. We invite them in for a face-to-face interview and VOC that lasts an hour and fifteen minutes. If they have a good attitude we put them on the MIG/stick/TIG. If they can weld, then:
  6. We make a shortlist of all candidates in this position and meet with you to discuss. You choose the worker that best fits your business and they begin on site as soon as possible.
  7. Six months down the track, if both you the client and the worker are happy with the arrangement then we relies them to you free of charge. Usually there’s a fee but Perfect waives that. If things aren’t working out because of a genuine reason then Perfect will find a replacement ASAP, usually within three weeks.

These are the surface level checks but in truth there’s a whole host of other checks we make: what kind of voicemail does the candidate have, if you leave a VM do they listen to it and call you back, if they know your name do they use it when speaking to you and so on. These may seem like insignificant details but they form part of the larger picture.

The Same Page.

There seems to be a lot less job security these days than twenty years ago. And because this is on offer [it isn’t called Temp-to-Perm placement for no reason] we’re up front about it with potential candidates. It sets a tone of total honesty from the get go. However. If the client isn’t clear about what they want from the beginning or the start date is delayed several times or the opportunity is withdrawn – the candidate becomes frustrated and will often leave to find other work. They’ve wasted hours and hours, and maybe hundreds of dollars if they’ve gone and gotten tickets to help gain full time employment. Also Perfect Hire was wasted hours of work for a zero result.

Things can also go awry if site conditions are different than expected or the worker is treated like labour hire or if unscrupulous clients use this as a five-and-a-half month labour hire exercise.

But Where It Can Go Right

As is often the case if you begin something with good intentions you can’t go wrong – even if things don’t go right. Perfect Hire’s process has been hard fought and won, with scores of hours of development and testing, weeks of software coding and literally years of experience. Recruitment is a skill that is – like most skills – undervalued and misunderstood until you delve into it. But all that aside it ultimately about bringing people together for a long and happy union.

Til Death Do Us Part.