With an ever growing number of employers in the tower industry, getting a job is becoming easier and easier; but getting a job with an employer who has steady work and pays is a different story. Here is the breakdown of what employers are looking for and what should be a red flag to job seekers in the tower industry:
Employers are looking for:
- A clean background (at least in the past several years)
An immediate red flag for an employer is a candidate with numerous felony convictions in the past few years. This shows that the candidate is a high risk hire and potential liability for the company. This by itself doesn’t necessarily rule out you getting a job, but will likely cause you to receive a lower rate of pay than another candidate with equal experience with a clean record.
- Experience. No, REAL experience.
The job market is full of “green” hands who have excellent looking resumes, but when they get into market they have to be shown how to color code jumpers correctly or how to use lock washers. This industry requires a level of mechanical experience – and by that I mean that you understand how to use hand and power tools, how to correctly use hardware (read when and how to use washers and lock washers, and how to properly tighten them), and a basic understanding of how electricity and grounding works. It is perfectly OK to be “green” – don’t endanger your crews life by producing a fake Commtrain card when the only thing you have really climbed is a tree in your back yard. A quality employer is more than willing to pay you well once you have legitimate, proven experience. Just remember, everyone had to start somewhere and the quickest way to loose your job is to lie about your experience.
- A driver’s license and clean MVR
While this may seem like a trivial thing to outsiders, those in the industry know that if you have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record, you will be able to more quickly move up within a company (and be more likely to be paid more) with a valid driver’s license.
- Reliability, Consistency, and Integrity
I am speaking more towards Supervisors/Foreman at this one…if you are to be on site at 7:00am and your truck has a blowout at 6:30, you should be calling your company and the CM assigned to your site at 6:31 to let them know what is going on and when you expect to be to the site. When starting a site, review the drawings and take inventory of everything you picked up from the warehouse. NOW is the time to let your CM and management know you are missing materials (and exactly what you need), not 3 days into a build when you have nothing else you can do without the missing material. Take detailed notes on what was completed that day, what issues you came across that were unresolved, and what your plan is for tomorrow – send this to your management team. Ensure that your crew is where they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to do. I guarantee that if you follow these three things for each job you complete, you will instantly become an asset to the company (and your paycheck will reflect it).
Red flags for job seekers:
- The employer asks you to leave your current company in the middle of a job
Generally speaking, if your potential employer asks you to leave your current employer high and dry, they will have no problem doing the same to you. Whether this means being left at a hotel in the middle of the night or working without pay for weeks at a time, the potential risks are too high.
- The employer won’t let you talk to other employees in the field (NOT office)
An established company will have other crews (though they may be in different markets from the one you are being interviewed for) who have worked for the company for some time. If they are either unable to give you the number to your supervisor and a supervisor other than the one you will be working for, they may not actually have other crews. Websites mean nothing and talk is cheap – you want to hear from those who have worked for this company for a period of time.
- Paperwork doesn’t match
Read. Everything. You. Sign. Understand it. Ask questions. If one document identifies the company as “Tower Company 3, Inc.” and another identifies it as “Tower Services 3, Inc.”, something isn’t right. The company either doesn’t care enough to make sure it has matching paperwork, or has no intention to honor anything on it or show you as a real employee. Understand (and get in writing) your compensation plan. What will your hourly rate be? How is time tracked (by the site supervisor or an App)? What rate, if anything, will you be paid for riding in the company vehicle (some states only require the driver to be paid). What expenses are reimbursable by the company and what are not? What is your Per Diem rate, and how is it paid. At the end of the day, this industry is all about CYA.
All things considered, you get to work in the most dangerous and most rewarding commercial industry in the world. You get to experience views that few others will ever get to see and work with a group of brothers that always have your back.