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Residential construction rises in April

BY Brae Canlen

Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department put overall construction spending during April 2012 at $820.7 billion, a 0.3% rise over the adjusted figures for construction spending in March 2012.

Spending on private construction was reported at $549.7 billion, 1.2% above the revised March estimate of $543.4 billion. Residential construction saw some of the biggest gains at $256.1 billion during April 2012, a 2.8% increase over the previous month. 

Non-residential construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $293.6 billion in April, 0.2% below the revised March estimates. 

In public construction, the estimated annual rate of spending was $271.0 billion, 1.4% below the revised March estimate. Educational construction was almost flat at 0.9 %. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $77.3 billion, or 0.4% above the revised March estimate of $77.0 billion.

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BMD acquires Master Fasteners International

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building Material Distributors (BMD), a wholesale distributor of specialty building materials, on Monday announced its acquisition of Master Fasteners International and Fastener Source.

BMD will be merging Fastener Source and Master Fasteners under the single name of Master Fasteners International, and will operate the company as a wholly owned subsidiary of BMD. The acquisition of Master Fasteners, an importer and wholesaler of fine wire and pneumatic fasteners, will allow BMD to expand on their previously established market position within the fastener industry.

“We believe that Master Fasteners’ proven capabilities in the fastener market align very well with BMD’s strategy and enhance our ability to drive value in the channel by making our customers and suppliers more successful,” commented Jeffrey Gore, president and CEO of BMD. “Master Fasteners adds to our already significant capabilities in this product line, with a depth of technical expertise and strong channel partnerships that  clearly open up new markets and opportunities. We are excited about the collective team that is created by this acquisition and look forward to the new joint venture.”

Headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., Master Fasteners International was founded in 1994 by Christopher T. Miller. Master Fasteners distributes pneumatic fasteners to Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) members and OEM companies throughout the United States. 

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Realistic job previews can boost retention

BY Theresa Minton-Eversole

Companies can purchase myriad assessments to test whether job applicants are qualified to do a job and how well. But you can’t buy a test to measure whether they will enjoy doing it enough to stay, said Richard Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics, during the 2012 Talent Management Conference & Exposition held April 30 to May 2.

Finnegan said that the only effective way to determine candidates’ staying power is to present them with realistic job previews that “smack their senses.”

“Realistic job previews are representations of jobs that show their attractive and less attractive parts,” said Finnegan, who is the author of the book "Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Bad" (Davies-Black; 2010). “The trick is to determine how we develop job experiences that smack their senses of smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste instead of job descriptions.”

Candidates can be exposed to many job attributes in realistic job previews, noted Finnegan, including:

• Amount of standing, sitting, heavy lifting;
• Use of equipment and technology;
• Extent of customer interaction;
• Speed, pace and volume of work;
• Starting and future pay levels, benefits and learning opportunities;
• Working environments (e.g., wet or dry conditions, hot or cold); and
• Schedule demands and potential flexibility.

Employers “must display the highest reasons for [the job’s] turnover, bluntly, and they should encourage some otherwise qualified applicants to drop out or show you indications of concern so you don’t hire them,” he said. “After walking through a realistic job preview, candidates who are wrong for the job should say, ‘There is no way in the world I’m going to do this.’ ”

Seven steps to success

Finnegan walked through several industry examples of job previews to describe a seven-step flow chart that companies can follow to create effective, realistic job previews.

First, learn the grittiest job aspects from the subject matter experts — the employees who do the jobs. Next, research reasons why employees quit or get terminated. But, he cautioned, “think beyond just the high-turnover jobs,” which often are “not a company’s high-cost jobs.”

Identify the best presentation methods that impact the senses, then develop realistic job previews with clear instructions and scripted messages. Also, design follow-up interview questions and a discussion guide that can be used by interviewers to learn candidates’ real reactions to the preview.

“When you ask candidates the follow-up questions, key in on the nonverbal cues that reveal their true job impression,” he said. “If you can’t do this, you are relying on them to screen themselves out rather than the company screening them out.”

Finally, track the percentage of applicants screened out by job previews.

“You should know your turnover rates,” Finnegan said. Realistic job previews are instant turnover-cutters, so credit yourself with having saved your company turnover costs each time a candidate you would have hired drops out, he advised.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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