Behind every incredible construction project is a team of efficient, talented construction workers. And behind that team is a stellar construction project manager holding the whole site together.
If you’re building a construction team, one key choice could make or break the success, profitability, and quick turnover of that unit: hiring a construction project manager who fits the role.
Hiring managers are responsible for the planning, execution, and logistical co-ordination of construction projects from – literally – the ground up. Therefore, you must hire top talent for the job.
The hiring process can be challenging and time-consuming, but here at TestGorilla, we’ve got you covered.
Our comprehensive guide on how to hire a construction project manager will take you through the steps to hire a candidate with the leadership and people management skills to make every contract a success for management and clients alike.
Table of contents
- What is a construction project manager?
- Construction project manager hard skills
- Construction project manager soft skills
- How to test a construction project manager’s skills
- Where to find construction project managers
- Construction project manager job description template
- What is a construction project manager’s salary?
- Construction project manager interview questions
What is a construction project manager?
Think of the construction project manager as the grease that oils the wheels of any sort of building or infrastructure construction project.
They’re responsible for executing a project from concept to completion and facilitating smooth communication between project organizers and the on-the-ground team.
Not only does a construction project manager ensure that projects meet quality standards and regional specifications, but they are also responsible for ensuring the project is completed within budget and on time.
A qualified construction project manager manages resources and on-site risks, takes control of communication and project planning, leads health and safety initiatives, and implements quality control standards.
A skilled hire will be a renaissance person with a sharp mind for logistics, extensive knowledge of building practices, and the ability to inspire and lead an efficient construction team.
Construction project manager hard skills
Though there are many facets of what makes a successful project manager, your candidates need to possess a few non-negotiable hard skills to fill the role competently. These include the following:
- Project management
- People management
- Comprehension of construction drawings and specifications
- Health and safety knowledge
As the person at the helm of a contract, your construction project manager must be able to construct project plans, set achievable timelines and budgets, effectively manage resources and personnel, and ensure the satisfactory completion of any brief received.
Project management is a lot like keeping a ton of plates spinning at once, so your ideal hire needs to have a solid understanding of how to keep multiple timelines running effectively and simultaneously.
Your construction project manager will lead multiple diverse teams of people.
They’ll give team members directions, ensure those directions are followed, and assess the quality of deliverables – all while making sure that the teams they lead are working together smoothly.
Effectively helping personnel work together improves efficiency and minimizes mistakes. Additionally, it helps foster and maintain a positive workplace culture. Conflict management is also a key skill to have in such pressurized, deadline-driven situations.
Comprehension of construction drawings and specifications
Your construction project manager will be responsible for communicating directives from management to the team on the ground at construction sites.
Often, these directions will be provided in the form of construction drawings and specifications, so it’s crucial that your construction project manager can accurately interpret these technical documents and relay that information to their team. Any errors could result in the contract veering off-brief, which could prove costly for your company.
Health and safety knowledge
Safety codes, best practices, and regulations related to construction sites vary according to the region or type of project being undertaken.
Your construction project manager should have extensive knowledge of these practices to keep your crew safe at all times and avoid any fines from health and safety inspectors who assess your site.
Your hire should have a working knowledge of these regulations and how to practically implement them in a variety of situations.
When a construction project spills over the assigned budget, that shortfall cuts directly into your company’s profit margins. Creating accurate budgets for a project is the responsibility of your construction project manager, and to quote clients accurately, they should be able to precisely estimate contract costs.
These include labor costs, material costs, equipment costs, and other expenses. Construction project managers are also responsible for making sure the project stays on budget and working any unexpected expenses into the quoted plan.
Construction project manager soft skills
Alongside the hard skills necessary to be an effective construction project manager, the candidate you hire should possess the following soft skills to help them navigate all the multitasking and personnel management necessary for the role:
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Risk management
A significant portion of the mistakes and misunderstandings that happen on construction sites could be prevented by one simple factor: effective communication.
Not only will the right construction project manager understand how to communicate effectively with their superiors, clients, and teams, but they will also be able to build and facilitate communication channels between other members of the team.
Problem-solving involves taking in the stimulus around a problem, whether it be hard data, visible issues, or word of mouth, and formulating a solution based on experience and projected outcomes.
This specific skill is a priority for a construction project manager because a variety of obstacles appear on construction sites, often all at once. A candidate with the ability to untangle a seemingly impossible knot of related problems is the one you want to manage your site.
Your construction project manager is responsible for taking in a lot of information from a variety of sources throughout your contract. They also need to analyze that information and take the necessary action when appropriate.
A skillful candidate will be able to absorb all necessary information. They must then find meaningful insights by critically analyzing that data, which will determine the course of action they take in driving the project forward.
Keeping track of one’s own actions on a busy day can be challenging. Now imagine keeping track of the productivity of every individual on a building site, the process of the project, and the resources and budget at your disposal, all while reporting back to management and clients.
This is precisely what a construction project manager is required to do daily. Therefore, effective time management and prioritization are imperative to this role. Nobody can be everywhere at once, but a skilled candidate may seem like they come close.
When we talk about risk management on a construction site, we’re not just referring to hazardous falling bricks and scarily sharp power tools. We also mean the financial and personnel risks a construction project manager has to deal with daily – like budget overruns and delays – to keep their site on a projected timeline.
The ability to meet and navigate such risks with a clear head is an undeniably critical tool in the right candidate’s arsenal.
How to test a construction project manager’s skills
As you can see, a construction project manager needs to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master (at least in theory) of most of them.
As an employer, you’re putting significant trust in the hands of the individual you hire for this position, so it’s imperative that they possess the skills they say they do on their resume.
That’s why TestGorilla has developed more than 300 pre-employment tests to help you accurately gauge the proficiency of the job seekers who approach you.
Never fall victim to exaggerated resumes or embellished skill sets again. Instead, run all your job applicants through our fully customizable, easy-to-comprehend online tests.
You’ll be able to accurately track and compare candidates’ skill levels, so all you have to worry about is finding the right fit for your company culture – and printing new name tags for that corner office. Pre-employment testing also helps you limit hiring bias, enabling you to grow your organization in an organically diverse way.
We recommend giving candidates the following tests when hiring a construction project manager:
- Project Management test: This test measures a candidate’s ability to make the best decision in a specific context when it comes to project management and handling a team. It’s an invaluable tool for identifying candidates who can get the ball rolling.
- Leadership & People Management test: The building plan and material quality are only part of what makes a project successful. The rest is the team behind the undertaking. Use this test to determine if a candidate is fit to lead that team.
- Attention to Detail (Visual) test: When analyzing technical drawings and specs, attention to even the smallest details is critical in getting a job done right. This test will help you find out whether your candidates are thorough and attentive when examining visual information.
- GHS Safety test: Your construction team likely deals with hazardous substances and materials on a daily basis. You can use our Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling Chemicals (GHS) test to find construction project managers who will maintain a safe working environment.
- Budgeting test: Creating an accurate budget based on estimates is challenging. Sticking to that budget after a client has accepted your quote can be even harder. See if your candidates have got what it takes with our Budgeting test.
- Communication test: Clear communication is vital on a construction site to stay productive and ensure the team’s safety. Assess candidates’ verbal and written communication skills with this test.
- Problem Solving test: A wide range of challenges will pop up throughout any construction project. Applicants who ace our Problem Solving test can navigate these complex situations.
- Critical Thinking test: Absorbing information is one thing, but analyzing it and turning those insights into a definite course of action is another. Evaluate applicants’ ability to bridge that gap with this test.
- Time Management test: Time is a finite resource, especially when it comes to high-pressure construction jobs. Ensure that your candidate knows how to make the most of it and meet deadlines with our Time Management test.
- HR Management test: Candidates who score well on this test are able to mitigate risk on the job site and manage relationships with team members and other stakeholders effectively.
Where to find construction project managers
In your search for applicants for your construction project manager vacancy, the first step is to consider whether you’re hiring a freelancer on a contract-to-contract basis or a full-time, in-house crew member.
Both of these options have pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your business structure and the level of specialization the projects you’re undertaking require. Once you’ve made the right choice for your business, it’s time to start advertising for potential candidates.
Full-time construction manager
Do you want to hire a candidate who fits seamlessly with your company culture and the way you do things? Then hire someone who’s already immersed in that culture and is part of your team.
Asking current employees to apply for managerial roles enables you to reassess their skills and growth, creates a sense of motivation and upwards mobility within your workforce, and provides opportunities for individuals who have already worked hard to earn your trust.
Use pre-employment testing methods provided by TestGorilla to keep the internal hiring process unbiased and fair.
Online job boards
The internet is the biggest marketplace in the world, and it’s no different when it comes to people marketing themselves.
By posting your job to such a wide job market, you’re likely to receive many more resumes and find the perfect fit. Be prepared for a massive influx of candidates, some of whom may not be qualified for the job.
Thankfully, you can filter out unsuitable applications without reading any tedious cover letters by asking the candidates to take pre-employment skills tests. Some busy job boards to start with are Indeed, Glassdoor Jobs, Monster, and ZipRecruiter.
Career fairs and trade shows
One of the major purposes of career fairs and trade shows in the construction industry is to pair up employers with employees in person. At these shows, you can approach promising candidates, chat with them about their areas of expertise, and invite them to apply for your available position.
This way, you get to narrow down who you’re approaching for the position and then verify their skills at a later stage before inviting them in for more formal interviews.
If your business is tight-knit and works closely together frequently, this approach might be a great way to quickly find a personality match for your organization.
Freelance construction manager
Freelance-specific online job boards
Freelance-specific online job boards differ from standard job boards in that the candidates who advertise themselves there work on a project-by-project basis. This type of hire is perfect for smaller, shorter-duration, or particularly specialized jobs. Use these job boards to get the right person for precisely the right moment to lead a team.
We recommend posting your job description on sites specialized for the construction industry, such as Field Engineer and PlanGrid. For more general freelancing sites, try posting on Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr.
Construction networks and associations
Large construction companies and networks, such as the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Construction Industry Institute (CII), host online job boards on their websites that offer a vast network of qualified, certified freelancers you can invite to apply to your positions.
The benefit of finding candidates in these networks is that many of them come with an endorsement from these large officiating bodies. This makes it more likely that you will find a reliable, professional freelancer.
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be useful for finding freelance construction managers. You’re likely to get many applications, but remember that all is not always as it seems on social media.
Prescreening applicants is the smartest approach. By asking your potential construction project managers to take TestGorilla’s pre-employment tests, you can separate the pretenders from the professionals and establish a solid base of candidates before you begin the interview process.
Construction project manager job description template
An integral part of attracting top talent to your construction project manager vacancy is writing a compelling and desirable job description. A highly skilled construction project manager is hard to find, so many businesses hold on to their exceptional crew members at all costs.
This means that you need to pull out all the stops to get great candidates to join your team.
The first step in enticing them to your company is in the job description you write. It needs to be enticing yet informative and emotive yet easy to skim read. Top talent requires a top offer, so we’ve created a job description template you can use as a foundation when hiring for your vacancy:
Construction Project Manager Position Available at [YOUR COMPANY NAME]
The construction project manager will report to [position title or titles this position reports to].
We’re looking for an experienced, efficient construction project manager with the skills to facilitate the delivery of top-quality contract work to [COMPANY]’s clients. This job is ground-up, meaning that you’ll be responsible for all the steps of managing a construction site, from initial cost estimates to quality control and project handover.
Attention to detail in resource, time, and financial management is essential. The successful applicant will manage a cohesive, competent team to bring ambitious construction projects to life. Communication skills are key since the construction project manager will be the intermediary between management and the on-the-ground crew.
Responsibilities and Duties:
- Overseeing and managing all aspects of the project
- Ensuring compliance with regulations and codes
- Developing and maintaining project schedules and budgets
- Co-ordinating with stakeholders
- Hiring and managing subcontractors and workers
- Monitoring progress and quality of work
- Resolving issues and conflicts
- Implementing safety protocols
- Maintaining project documentation and records
- Communicating regularly with stakeholders
[Required education level]
[Preferred education level]
What is a construction project manager’s salary?
According to data from ZipRecruiter (last updated April 2023), the average yearly salary for a construction project manager in the USA is $82,896. This translates to $39.85 an hour or $6,908 monthly. A lot hinges on this hire, so it makes sense that you’ll be paying a senior-level salary for top performance.
Depending on several factors, these salaries may change significantly.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a construction project manager can vary by as much as $33,000 based on their skill level, location, and experience.
The salary you offer should be competitive but also scaled to the size and scope of your organization. Following are some factors that may affect the salary you choose to offer your construction project manager:
- Education and experience
- Geographic location
- Company size
- Your industry sector
- Current market demand
- Their prior performance and track record
Construction project manager interview questions
Once you’ve gathered valuable applicants, filtered them using TestGorilla’s pre-employment tests, and chosen your shortlist, it’s time to move on to the interview stage. This is when your candidates have a chance to make an impression.
Since construction project management is such a social and communicative field, the way your candidates interact in the interview stage will greatly affect your hiring decision.
That’s why you must be equipped with the right questions to ask your candidates so that you can quickly get an accurate picture of who they are. These are a few interview questions for construction project managers that we suggest using:
- From beginning to end, can you describe a construction project you have managed successfully?
- How do you ensure that a construction project stays on schedule and within budget?
- What is your preferred way of communicating with stakeholders (such as owners, architects, and subcontractors) during a construction project?
- What safety protocols have you implemented in the past to ensure a safe working environment for all the workers in your crew?
- The last time a project didn’t go according to plan, how did you handle the situation?
From beginning to end, can you describe a construction project you have managed from start to finish?
This question will not only give you an idea of the project your candidate has been most excited to handle but also help you to identify which aspects of the construction project management process they are most passionate about.
If necessary, ask specifically about their initial brief and how their final project handover went. This question will expose the candidate’s experience level and attitude towards what they do.
How do you ensure that a construction project stays on schedule and within budget?
Though this interview question is a broad one, it enables prospective candidates to display their specific strategies and skills. Here, you’re letting candidates show off a little and tell you which of their specific skills make them stand out from the crowd.
This question can illuminate applicants’ project management experience and the innovative solutions that they might have at their disposal.
What is your preferred way of communicating with stakeholders (such as owners, architects, and subcontractors) during a construction project?
A critical part of successfully managing a construction project is being able to communicate with both the immediate team and the stakeholders involved in making that project happen.
The right candidate is adept at communicating with both parties, as well as interpreting and relaying information from both the top down and bottom up. By specifically addressing this process, you can immediately determine if this candidate is the right fit for the type of clients your business attracts.
What safety protocols have you implemented in the past to ensure a safe working environment for all the workers in your crew?
This question enables you to determine your candidate’s specific knowledge of the rules and regulations in your region and their ability to create a workplace that complies with these regulations.
You will be able to assess their comprehension of those regulations based on the processes they implemented and see their level of forethought and efficiency when taking care of their crew.
Naturally, safety is a significant priority on any job site, and this question should reveal the degree to which your candidate aligns with that sentiment.
The last time a project didn’t go according to plan, how did you handle the situation?
Conflict management, negotiation, and on-the-job problem-solving are some of the core skills your ideal candidate should possess. A great way to gauge their skill level is by asking about a real-life scenario in which they took decisive action and resolved a potential issue.
Closely observe your candidate’s attitude when they describe how they dealt with conflict to learn how they may fit into your current company culture.
When hiring for a position that’s so socially integrated into most of the departments in your organization, finding a personality fit is a must. Use this question to gauge how a candidate’s style of “sorting stuff out” might gel with yours.
Use TestGorilla to find the perfect construction project manager for your business
The right construction project manager is the “cement” that holds a construction site together.
Hiring the right candidate for this role is essential to your company culture, occupational safety, efficient processes, and turnover.
When you streamline your hiring process with a great job analysis, an enticing job description, the right candidate approach, rigorous pre-employment testing, and a thorough, insight-driven interview, you’re on the right track to finding your workplace superstar.
Are you ready to build your organization, one new valuable hire at a time?
Get started with the process of hiring the best construction project management candidate for your business.
See how TestGorilla can improve your hiring process with a free demo, or head to our signup page to ensure an unbiased, quick, and engaging hiring process today.