Construction workers now face more challenging job interviews compared to eight years ago before the recession, according to new research from specialist recruiter Randstad CPE.

Despite the latest resurgence of the property and construction industries, a majority of construction workers (51%) now say that interviews in their sector are harder than in 2006. This compares to just 11% who say interviews for construction jobs are easier than eight years ago.

Property professionals have it even tougher than construction workers – 54% say interviews are now harder and just 3% believe getting a job in the property industry is easier than in 2006. By contrast, engineering professionals face the most gradual change of any sector, with 45% facing more difficult interviews and almost a quarter of engineers (24%) reporting they have become easier.

Do you think interviews in your sector are tougher than eight years ago?

  • Education: 64%
  • Healthcare: 62%
  • Finance: 61%
  • Property: 54%
  • Legal: 53%
  • Technology and IT: 52%
  • Construction: 51%
  • Social Care: 46%
  • Engineering: 45%

Owen Goodhead, MD of Randstad Construction, Property & Engineering, said: “Skills are in demand in the construction industry as companies grow and projects get off the ground. But that isn’t to say securing a job has become easy. Even highly experienced candidates need to demonstrate their expertise and impress.”

Workers also have less time to demonstrate their skills. As many as 60% of construction workers had only one single interview before being offered their current job, compared to 48% before the recession.

For property professionals the equivalent number has doubled in the last six years, now standing at 62% compared to 29% in 2006. In engineering the proportion with only one interview in which to show off their skills is only a little lower, currently 51% – but this has also risen, from 43% before the recession.

Property and engineering workers most confident in interviews

Property professionals lead all other sectors by the proportion of employees who describe themselves as well-practiced interviewees. For those in the property industry this stands at 56%, followed by engineers at 51%. Construction workers are in fourth place by this measure, behind legal professionals, but not far behind the top three with 41% of construction workers having confidence in their abilities.

Despite these responses, almost three quarters (72%) of property professionals say understanding their prospective employers better would help them succeed more often in job interviews. A significant proportion of engineers (48%) would also benefit from better knowledge of their interviewers, while the figure for construction workers is 38%.

Would you consider yourself a well-practiced interviewee?

Percentage of employees answering "yes"

  • Property: 56%
  • Engineering: 51%
  • Legal: 44%
  • Construction: 41%
  • Technology and IT: 39%
  • Education: 32%
  • Finance: 30%
  • Social Care: 27%
  • Healthcare: 24%

Owen Goodhead said: “Preparation takes time and knowledge that busy workers often just don’t have. But it pays if you can really think about the information you need to glean from a prospective employer.

"Candidates that are better prepared are more confident and more able to think beyond the easy questions about the organisation as to how they might fit in. Ultimately those candidates are better prepared to choose the organisation and the manager who they may well report to for many years.”