In the 1999 U.S. Construction Industry Training Report by FMI Corp., studies showed that the problems facing today's contractors are the same - increased competition, finding good people and managing new technology. If you haven't heard it already, it's an employee's market out there, and innovative recruiting strategies are essential for the future of the construction industry.

It also found that firms are using more than one resource for recruiting. Most frequently practiced are the old standbys - classified ads and referrals (95 percent) and on-campus recruiting (75 percent) - but a new option called "e-recruiting" made the list this year at 72 percent.

Online sites such as - a full-service job and resumé bank exclusively for the commercial, industrial and residential plumbing and piping industries - help employers locate, screen and recruit the industry's top talent. receives more than 20,000 job seekers each month, and offers anonymous posting options. Immediate feedback through e-mail makes for faster hiring - reducing cost per hire. Also, Internet-user demographics fit the profiles of the applicants companies are looking for - from field workers to project managers.

More than ever before, applicants judge a company by its technology and creativity in recruiting. The Internet has become a way for employers to display company image and advantages over competitors. E-recruiting offers the broad reach of the World Wide Web, and convenient, around-the-clock accessibility, the study says.

So far, this new form of resumé gathering is used by larger firms with an Internet presence, but it's growing fast and appealing even to mom 'n pop shops. In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies are realizing that the Web might have the answers to the labor shortage.