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The Roofer’s Cheat Sheet: How to Hire During a Skilled Labor Shortage

Roofing contractor with a group of roofing employees after hiring

If you feel it’s getting harder to find skilled labor, your instinct is right. Hiring for a roofing position is difficult enough without a labor shortage. Add a fluctuating job market, and finding the right person for the job can take forever. A hiring lag can slow projects down and cause significant problems in the roofing industry.

To avoid those pitfalls, you’ve got to know how to hire in a skilled labor shortage. If you’re wondering how to do that for your roofing company, we’ll walk you through it.

Let’s look at the reasons behind the skilled labor shortage and three steps to help you hire the right roofers even during a labor shortage.

Let’s dive in!

Why Is There a Skilled Labor Shortage?

If it was just one thing causing the roofing labor shortage, fixing it would be simple. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Three big factors are changing the skilled labor job market:

  • Retirement
  • A lack of young employees
  • An economic downturn

Here’s how each of those affects the roofing labor market.

A Retiring Workforce

Seasoned roofing professionals are getting closer to or are retiring from the workforce. Although the national average retirement age has increased recently, many people are retiring earlier than planned.

In a physically demanding job like roofing, the retirement age can be even younger than in other jobs.

A Lack of Young Employees

As roofers retire, they leave gaps to fill. In the past, younger generations would fill those holes and progress within the profession. But that’s not exactly how things are working today.

Fewer young people are entering into skilled labor, schools have de-emphasized technical trades, and the current workforce focuses less on physical work than previous generations.

The Economy Is Uncertain

Skilled trades take a brutal hit when the economy drops, and roofing is no exception. On the brink of a potential recession, we’ve already seen a decrease in roofing job openings from 11.86 million in March 2022 to 10.46 million in November. That’s a decline of almost 1.5 million jobs in just eight months!

When candidates see a noticeable reduction in roofing jobs, they get nervous about starting in the industry. In uncertain times, experienced roofers prefer the certainty and security of their current job rather than branching out to try something new.

Want to prep your business for a recession?

Download our 30-page guide with insights from the 2008 recession, things to keep an eye on, and next steps to take to help your company weather an economic downturn.


That said, you might feel a little like the odds are stacked against you. But don’t lose hope! It’s a solvable problem if you up your hiring game. And we have some practical tips and tools to help you do that!

A retired couple walking in a city street
$100 bills surrounding the word "Recession"

3 Proven Steps to Finding Roofing Employees in a Skilled Labor Shortage

To overcome the challenges of a hiring shortage, you need an effective hiring process. The correct approach empowers you to find the best and most qualified roofing employees. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a fail-proof hiring process.

1. Get Your Ideal Applicants

Finding the best roofer for the job is easier when you have applicants who fit what you’re looking for. There are two steps to getting the best candidates: (1) clarify what your ideal candidate looks like, and (2) share your job posting with the most promising audience.

Identify Your Ideal Candidate

Remember that you only want certain people to apply for your job opening. That’s why you’ve got to set clear parameters for who you’re looking for.

Think about the skills, experiences, and characteristics or personality traits they’d need to succeed in the position. Check out Breakthrough Academy’s Ideal Candidate Profile template to help outline your perfect applicant.

Write and Share a Killer Roofing Job Posting

Don’t get lost in a sea of job postings. When you make your job posting, cater it to your ideal roofing candidate using the profile above. What would they want to hear about? What information would catch their attention? Highlight those items first.

Not sure what to put in your job posting? Don’t just list a bunch of responsibilities. Let them know how they can make a mark, move up the ranks, and boost their income through performance. For more tips, check out Breakthrough Academy’s essential tool for creating a roofing job posting.

Once you have the post ready, share it and put some money behind it to boost visibility. Roofers chronically underspend on recruiting, which limits the applicant pool.

Give your job opening optimal exposure by sharing it online, posting it on your website, and getting your current staff to share it. Have that job up everywhere your ideal candidate might be.

2. Interview Your Top Candidates

You’ve found a few diamonds in the rough that best align with your ideal candidate profile. Comb through their applications and list the candidates you want to move forward with.

We recommend interviewing 3–5 candidates. When you have a solid list, start setting up interviews with candidates. Now it’s time to start interviewing!

Set up the Interview

You could just email or text the candidate with an interview date and time. Or you can take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about how well they’ll fit the role. Go old-school and get on the phone with your top candidates.

A phone call gives a more personal touch to your hiring process, and it weeds out the wrong people before you spend an hour at the shop sitting down with them.

During your phone call, introduce yourself and your company, build some rapport, and learn a bit about them outside of work. Give the interview your undivided attention—it can increase interview show-up rates!

Check out Breakthrough Academy’s free Interview Setup Call template for an easy-to-use script.

Have the Interview

The reality is that 40% of people lie on their resumes. The interview is where you really get to know your applicant.

Do they:

  • Align with your company values?
  • Have the characteristics you’re looking for?
  • Have a background in skilled labor?
  • Have a track record of achieving their goals?

Look at the candidate in the context of how they’ll interact with your team and customers. After all, they’ll spend a lot of time with you and your company if hired. Your job is to ensure that they’re a good fit.

Don’t get too hung up on trade-specific skills if you want to broaden your applicant pool. You can train skills, but it’s much harder to change characteristics.

If you’re looking for an interview cheat sheet, download this Interview Guide from Breakthrough Academy.

If you want to go beyond the tools and get insight into how two top roofers are using them, register for Breakthrough Academy’s roundtable: Roofing Roundtable: 2 Roofers Share Their Hiring Funnels.

3. Select Your Top Candidate

After you’ve completed all your applicant interviews, choose your frontrunner.

Comparing people can be difficult, which is why comparing skill level and quality of answers can help you find your best candidate. You should’ve taken some notes during the interview process. Pull those out for each candidate and compare them across the board.

Checking a few categories should help you narrow down your applicant pool. Don’t hire if you don’t feel that any of your current candidates are right. It’s better to take a little longer to find the right person than to hire someone who can’t do the job.

Once you have your prime candidate, let them know the job is theirs. You can refer to your list and contact the other top candidate if they say no. Be sure to overview any tasks they must complete before starting, their first day, and any additional information they need to know.

Conquering a Skilled Labor Shortage

Navigating a skilled labor shortage—and getting a great new employee out of it—is possible. Following our three steps of getting applicants, interviewing, and selecting a good fit will help your skilled labor company fill positions in no time.

If you’re looking for the perfect employee, check out JobNimbus. JobNimbus is the roofing software tool that simplifies your processes and helps your team be more productive. With the best roofing software, roofers grow their business by 43% on average and save 8 hours per person per week.

Talk about efficiency!

Do you have any tips that have worked for you to hire new employees during a labor shortage? Let us know in the comments below!

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