Top 10 Questions to Size Up Construction Estimators

July 24, 2018

Conley Smith, Sr. Business Writer

It’s time! Your small-to-mid-size construction business is busier than ever. You’re ready to add more crews and grow your one-person estimating department. Thanks to due diligence, you’ve written and posted a great estimator job description.


With resumes jamming your inbox, you’re ready to take the next step and set up interviews with top candidates. In our How to Hire a Great Estimator Guide, we suggest you write out a list of questions in advance to simplify and streamline the process. Also, don’t forget to make sure you’ve reserved an interview space that is private and comfortable.


Sizing Up Job Prospects


OK, your main objective is to determine if the construction estimator job candidate is a) qualified and b) a good fit for your company’s culture. Some will argue that fit is more important than technical skills because skills can be taught.


Did you know 53% of employers recognize within three weeks they’ve hired the wrong person? The cost of a bad hire can be painful, resulting in 36% less productivity and 33% compromised work quality, according to CareerBuilder. Productivity and the ability to work with your team will surely have a positive or negative impact on morale and productivity.


Ask the Right 10 Questions


By coming to the interview with your questions in hand, you will save valuable time and find it easier to weigh job-specific skills vs. soft skills and personality.


Here are a few technical questions to ask:

  1. Walk me through your estimating process, how do you do takeoff?
  2. What do you think are the most important factors that affect the overall costs of a project?
  3. Which metrics do you use most in your estimates?
  4. What software tools are you experienced in and require in your work?
  5. How do you communicate with field staff to make sure your productivity rates are current?

Here are a few personality or soft skill questions to ask:

  1. What’s a great workday for you?
  2. Tell me about a time you didn’t know how to do something.
  3. What is teamwork to you?
  4. What types of personalities do you find most challenging to work with?
  5. What are you passionate about?

As a result, you’ll find it easier to ensure your next construction estimator is ready to help you win the right work for your business. Is it time to step up your entire hiring process? Download our free guide, How to Hire a Great Estimator, to get the keys to attract, hire, and retain the best team for your construction business.


Did you know On-Screen Takeoff was again named a FrontRunner for Construction Estimating Software by Software Advice? Start your free trial today and see why thousands of estimators use On-Screen Takeoff every day.


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