Credibility is trustworthiness, reliability, integrity. It’s the process of being believed in.
Construction is an industry that moves at the speed of light. It takes coordination and communication with multiple parties to complete many of the next steps. The most successful individuals working in our industry make their yes’s mean yes and their no’s mean no. They communicate effectively not only to get the information they need, but to give information to others helping them to do their job and move the project forward.
What happens when you hire someone that the others can’t rely on or lose trust in? If you’ve lived it from either side, you know how challenging it is. I don’t need to list the project and relationship repercussions. Not to mention, the construction industry in general doesn’t trust easily.
Most of the time you can’t determine an individual’s credibility just by speaking with them in an interview. You need to gather information to verify their credibility. You can listen for behavioral traits like exaggeration, over confidence, arrogance, but proving credibility comes from what others say about them even when they don’t need to and also through verifiable facts.
We tell our candidates that “Talk is Cheap.” A picture, a reference, a certificate of completion, a past review etc. prove credibility. Their conversation builds their credibility by backing what they say with fact and the proof.
It is easy for a candidate to answer a question you ask like “Do you have luxury building experience or have you been responsible for creating the project schedule with a yes or a no. The credibility or “trustworthy verification” comes when they provide you pictures, names and addresses of the owners, architects, sub-contractors verifying their experience. They verify not only that they can do it, but to the level of performance and relationship they did it with. When it comes to scheduling there are many candidates that can update and read a schedule, but have never had to create one. The verification comes with a third party verifying they can create a schedule or asking them to create a schedule and that schedule is realistic and achievable. You can verbally get a candidate to discuss the process, but many times someone can articulate from a book a process, but may have never been responsible for actually doing it for a company. Do you want to gamble on your project or know who you are getting as a person?
If you answered yes, take time to do the following:
Listen intently for areas that need to be verified.
If you hear possible exaggeration, fabrication etc.. don’t brush it off. Remember, on interview they are typically on their best behavior.
Obtain references, documentation, samples of their work etc..to verify.
The best way to prove credibility is through others that have spent a significant amount of time with them in a business environment. Make sure to not only do your references calls, but to ask how they know each other and if they ever had a reason not to trust this person.
Consider administering assessment tests: There are various kinds from basis spelling and grammar to industry specific assessments for communication and those that measure psychological preferences in how a person perceives the world and makes decisions.
If the person is unemployed you are also in a position to offer to pay them to shadow for a day or two and see how they interact with your team and get feedback before committing to employ them.
We all know in our industry time, budget and quality are how we measure project success, with time being the most significant on budget and quality. If that’s the case “Build your credibility so you won’t have to say the same thing twice before someone believes it.”
As a hiring manager you build your own credibility when you hire for credibility. As John Maxwell says “Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”