Posted on April 2, 2021 by Mark Barnard, President & CEO

We got a refreshing request recently from a client that builds high-end modular houses. He realized he needed an outside-the-box thinker, so he asked us to find a truss design engineer with a background from NASA. To his surprise and delight, we actually did!

We were delighted, too, because this client had given up construction’s age-old view that the ideal hire is someone who did the exact same job somewhere else—indeed, might have worked for you years ago in that same job (and still has your company’s shirts in his closet).

The NASA story displays a new hiring mentality starting to take shape throughout the LBM industry as we enter the post-COVID era. New ideas and innovative new talent are the best hope the industry has of moving forward after the pandemic. Bringing in top performers from other sectors will strengthen our industry and prepare us for more unforeseen challenges.

Stop trying to cannibalize the existing talent pool. Instead, when you’re looking for candidates, look for people who excel in these areas:

  1. Communication

  2. Teamwork

  3. Problem-Solving

  4. Time Management

  5. Critical Thinking

  6. Decision-Making

  7. Organizational Skills

  8. Stress Management

  9. Adaptability

  10. Conflict Management

  11. Leadership

  12. Creativity

  13. Resourcefulness

  14. Persuasion

  15. Openness to Criticism

To understand where hiring has to go in the future, we need to look at the current state of industry. We are dealing with an aging, but a decreasing talent pool. COVID-19 has forced changes to how we go to market and service our customers. Our teams are smaller and are working harder than ever before ; “burnout” is a real factor. We face competitive challenges from newly merged rivals. Headache-inducing price hikes and product shortages are rampant. Labor is tight. Higher-level service demands are escalating. Videoconferences have become common at places where “zoom” was just a verb. And the boom in housing means we have to confront all these challenges at a time when customer calls are coming in faster than ever.

The pandemic brought the realization to many that adaptable, stronger teams and leveraging technology are essential. Those companies who have embraced technology have benefited by becoming more streamline in all aspects of their businesses. Now, the more successful LBM businesses are attempting to modernize the industry by bringing in talent from other sectors who are experts in these tools or have new ideas to share. These companies are seeking out “Harvard Quality” talent, thought leaders, go-getters, and creative innovators, all with the soft skills mentioned above.

Talent acquisition specialists are tapping into those industries where higher levels of soft skills are found. Hospitality, Insurance, Food Service, and Education are all industries who hiring for the skills that are not easy to train but key in providing Olympic quality customer service and teamwork. LBM needs to do the same.


About the author:  Mark Barnard is the CEO of SnapDragon Associates, LLC the Top Results Orientated Recruiting firm in the LBM Industry.  He can be reached at or 603-323-0940 


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