How to Hire a Construction Manager


The construction manager is an absolutely crucial part of a project. Although the construction manager wears many hats – most of them hard hats – the main role is to make sure projects are executed seamlessly.

The Role of a Construction Manager in Today’s Construction Industry

The role of a Construction Manager (CM) is crucial in today’s residential construction industry. CMs are responsible for overseeing and managing construction projects from start to finish, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and according to quality standards.

They act as intermediaries between the homeowner or developer and the various subcontractors and tradespeople involved in the project. CMs play a vital role in coordinating all aspects of construction, including scheduling, budgeting, quality control, and communication with stakeholders. Effectively building a team with contractors and freelancers is a key skill for construction managers.

how to hire a construction manager

Overseeing Complex Construction Projects

Typical tasks of a construction manager overseeing a complex project include:

  • Project planning and scheduling
  • Budget management and cost control
  • Procurement and subcontractor management
  • Quality assurance and quality control
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Safety management and compliance
  • Communication with stakeholders
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Change order management
  • Progress monitoring and reporting
  • Regulatory compliance

how to hire a construction manager

Construction Manager vs. Construction Project Manager vs. Project Manager

  • A Construction Manager (CM) is primarily focused on the construction phase of a project. They oversee the day-to-day operations of a construction site, ensuring that the work is carried out efficiently and according to plans. A Construction Manager should also be familiar with various construction tools essential for project management.
  • A Construction Project Manager often has a broader role that encompasses both pre-construction and construction phases. The project manager may be involved in project planning and design coordination. In many cases, the project manager is involved with procurement in addition to construction oversight.
  • A Project Manager is a more general term that can be applied to various industries, including construction. In a construction context, a Project Manager could refer to someone responsible for managing the entire project from initiation to completion, The project manager role may include aspects beyond construction, such as financial planning and stakeholder management.

The Importance of Construction Management in Commercial Projects

In a commercial construction project, the Construction Manager plays a similar role as in residential construction, but the scale and complexity are often greater. They are responsible for coordinating all phases of construction, from pre-construction planning and design coordination to managing subcontractors and ensuring the project is completed on time and within budget.

Commercial construction managers also need to address specific commercial requirements, such as adherence to building codes and regulations related to commercial properties.

how to hire a construction manager

Essential Traits and Skills for an Effective Construction Manager

Essential traits and skills for a construction manager include:

  • Strong communication and leadership abilities
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Organization and time management
  • Knowledge of construction methods and materials
  • Budgeting and financial management
  • Construction safety awareness
  • Team management and collaboration
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation skills
  • Attention to detail and quality control
  • Adaptability and flexibility to handle unexpected challenges

how to hire a construction manager

How to Hire a Construction Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide

AspectDescriptionEvaluation MethodKey Considerations
Experience LevelYears of experience in construction management.Review resume, discuss past projects.More experience may be beneficial for complex projects.
Educational BackgroundDegree in Construction Management, Civil Engineering, or related field.Check educational qualifications.Relevant education can provide essential technical knowledge.
Project Management SkillsAbility to manage construction projects from start to finish.Discuss previous projects, ask scenario-based questions.Look for experience in budgeting, scheduling, and team management.
Technical KnowledgeUnderstanding of construction methods, materials, and technology.Inquire about specific skills, certifications.Essential for ensuring project feasibility and quality.
Communication SkillsEffective in communicating with teams, clients, and stakeholders.Conduct interviews, reference checks.Crucial for coordination and problem-solving.
Problem-Solving AbilityTackling unforeseen challenges and making timely decisions.Ask about previous problem-solving instances.Important for keeping projects on track.
Leadership QualitiesLeading teams and ensuring project completion.Leadership assessment, references.Strong leadership ensures team efficiency and morale.
Compliance KnowledgeFamiliarity with building codes, safety regulations, and legal requirements.Verify certifications, ask compliance-related questions.Compliance knowledge is vital for legal and safety standards.
Budget ManagementExperience in handling project finances.Discuss budgeting approach and past experiences.Affects the financial success of projects.
References and Background ChecksVerifying past work performance and credentials.Contact previous employers, conduct background checks.Ensures reliability and validity of their qualifications and experience.

Drafting the Job Description

Drafting a construction manager job description for the position should include details about the role’s responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for all stages of the construction process. Key components to include are:

  • Job title and summary
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Qualifications and experience requirements
  • Skills and competencies
  • Location and work hours
  • Compensation and benefits

how to hire a construction manager

Finding The Right Construction Project Manager

You can post job openings for Construction Project Managers on various platforms, including:

  • Online job boards (e.g., Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor)
  • Construction industry-specific websites and forums
  • Local and national newspapers
  • Company website and social media
  • Networking events and industry associations
  • Explore unusual ways to promote a job opening to attract diverse candidates

how to hire a construction manager

Interviewing Construction Manager Candidates: Key Aspects to Cover

During interviews with potential construction managers, consider discussing:

  • Their relevant experience and past projects
  • Problem-solving and decision-making abilities, such as how to handle delays
  • Communication and leadership skills
  • Approach to budgeting and cost control
  • Knowledge of construction methods and regulations
  • Safety practices and incident management
  • Conflict resolution and teamwork

Prepare by reviewing interview questions to ask candidates. And after interviewing, it’s important to handle communication professionally, including sending an interview rejection letter if necessary.

how to hire a construction manager

Verifying Credentials and Reviewing Past Projects

Verify a candidate’s credentials and past projects by:

  • Checking references from previous employers and project stakeholders
  • Reviewing their portfolio or work samples
  • Confirming certifications, licenses, and educational qualifications
  • Conducting background checks if necessary

In this process, aim to reduce hiring bias to ensure a fair selection.

how to hire a construction manager

Onboarding Your New Construction Manager

The onboarding process for a construction manager should be a smooth integration process. Your new employee should be familiarized with ongoing projects and company protocols. Follow onboarding best practices to ensure a smooth transition for your new hire.

For best practices on how to onboard new employees, consider the following steps.

  • Introduction to the company’s culture, policies, and procedures
  • Orientation to the specific project(s) they will be managing
  • Training on any company-specific software or tools
  • Assigning a mentor or supervisor for guidance
  • Ensuring they have access to necessary resources and equipment
  • Use a training plan template to structure the onboarding process

how to hire a construction manager

Ensuring Continued Success with Your Construction Manager

The owner of a construction company should ensure that all employees have access to more training. That includes the construction project manager:

Continuous Training and Professional Development

Construction managers can stay current through the following:

  • Attending industry conferences and workshops
  • Pursuing additional certifications or advanced degrees
  • Subscribing to industry publications and online resources
  • Encouraging participation in continuing education programs
  • Obtain certifications and keep them up to date.

how to hire a construction manager

Regular Project Reviews and Feedback Mechanism

You can mplement regular project reviews by setting up project milestones and checkpoints. One way to do that is to schedule regular team meetings, with an open forum to discuss progress and challenges.

Solicit feedback from team members of the project.

When a project is over, document the lessons you’ve learned. Use the experience to set standards for best practices to follow for future projects.

Construction Management Services and Their Evolution

Construction manager services have evolved with advancements in technology and project management methods.

For example, they now often involve the use of digital tools for scheduling, budgeting, and collaboration. Additionally, sustainability and environmental considerations have become more prominent in construction management.

how to hire a construction manager

FAQs: How to Hire a Construction Manager

What’s the difference between a construction manager and a general contractor?

A Construction Manager (CM) is typically hired by the project owner and acts as their representative, overseeing the project, managing subcontractors, and ensuring quality and cost control. In contrast, a General Contractor (GC) is often responsible for both managing the construction and performing the actual construction work with their own workforce.

For those considering starting their own firm, choosing appropriate construction business names is crucial. For more detailed guidance, see how to start a construction company.

How do construction project managers ensure the safety of staff?

To ensure the safety of workers, construction managers should:

  • Implement and enforce strict safety protocols and procedures
  • Provide necessary safety training and personal protective equipment
  • Conduct regular safety inspections and audits
  • Follow OSHA guidelines
  • Promote a culture of safety awareness among all team members
  • Address safety concerns and incidents promptly and thoroughly

Is certification essential for a construction manager?

There are several certifications that can be beneficial for construction managers, as they demonstrate a commitment to professional development and may enhance their qualifications and job prospects. Some of the relevant certifications for construction managers include:

  1. Certified Construction Manager (CCM): Offered by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the CCM certification is widely recognized and demonstrates expertise in construction management. It covers various aspects of construction, including project management, cost control, quality assurance, and safety.
  2. Project Management Professional (PMP): While not specific to construction, the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is highly regarded and covers project management principles and practices that are applicable to construction projects.
  3. Associate Constructor (AC): Offered by the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), the AC certification is designed for entry-level professionals in the construction industry. It focuses on foundational knowledge and skills in construction management.
  4. Certified Professional Constructor (CPC): Also offered by the AIC, the CPC certification is for experienced construction professionals and covers a wide range of construction management topics, including project planning, scheduling, and contracts.
  5. LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP): If the construction manager is involved in sustainable or green building projects, obtaining LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council can be valuable. It demonstrates expertise in sustainable building practices.
  6. Construction Safety Certifications: Depending on the specific responsibilities related to safety management, construction managers may benefit from safety certifications such as the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certifications.
  7. Other Specialized Certifications: Depending on the specific nature of the construction projects, there are other specialized certifications, such as those related to building codes, quality control, or specific construction software tools.

The choice of certification may depend on the individual’s career goals, the types of projects they manage, and their level of experience. Many employers value certifications as they indicate a commitment to professional development and expertise in the field.

It’s essential for construction managers to research and select certifications that align with their career objectives and the industry sectors they work in.

How do construction managers handle delays in a project?

To handle delays, construction managers should:

  • Identify the root causes of delays promptly
  • Adjust project schedules and resource allocation as needed
  • Communicate delays to stakeholders and clients with proposed solutions
  • Collaborate with subcontractors to expedite work if possible
  • Document the impact of delays for potential claims or adjustments to the project schedule and budget.

What is the average starting salary for a construction manager?

The average starting salary for a construction manager can vary significantly based on factors such as location, experience, and the specific industry.

In the US, calculating construction manager salaries from all around the country, the median annual salary for construction managers in the United States was around $97,180.

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Lisa Price Lisa Price is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 4 years. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from Shippensburg State College (Pennsylvania). She is also a freelance writer and previously worked as a newspaper circulation district manager and radio station commercial writer. In 2019, Lisa received the (Pennsylvania) Keystone Award.