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Hiring a General Laborer: Job Description Template

By Agwaonye Samuel


Are you planning to build a strong foundation for your project by adding a skilled general laborer to your team? Using a fitting job description when hiring the right general laborer is critical in ensuring the success of your construction, renovation, or maintenance projects.

This article is your comprehensive guide to finding the perfect general laborer for your needs. It will provide insights into the intricacies of hiring a general laborer and exploring the costs included in bringing the skilled professional on board.

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Responsibilities & Role of a General Laborer

General laborers are the backbone of many industries, playing a crucial role in various tasks that require physical labor and flexibility.

Here’s an overview of the typical responsibilities:

  • Construction Support: General laborers assist in various construction tasks, including site preparation, excavation, and the installation of building materials.
  • Loading and Unloading: Laborers in logistics and warehousing handle the loading and unloading goods from trucks and shipping containers. This includes stacking pallets, using pallet jacks, and ensuring proper placement of goods.
  • Cleaning and Maintenance: General laborers keep work areas clean and organized and perform basic maintenance tasks on tools and equipment. They ensure that construction sites remain organized and free from debris. This includes cleaning up after tasks, removing hazardous materials, and maintaining tools and equipment.
  • Assisting Skilled Trades: General laborers support skilled tradespeople, such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers, by assisting and ensuring well-prepared work areas. They work alongside skilled tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers, supporting and helping with specific tasks.
  • Demolition: During demolition projects, general laborers help dismantle structures safely. They may use tools like sledgehammers, jackhammers, or cutting torches to remove materials.
  • Landscaping: In landscaping projects, general laborers plant trees and shrubs, lay sod, spread mulch, and maintain outdoor spaces by mowing lawns and trimming vegetation.

How to Hire a General Laborer

Hiring a general laborer is a pivotal step in ensuring the smooth execution of your projects.

To make the process efficient and effective, follow these steps:

1. Define Your Labor Needs

Begin by clearly defining your project’s labor requirements. This step minimizes misunderstandings and ensures you and the general laborer are on the same page.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What is the scope of your project, and what specific tasks require general labor support (e.g., digging, lifting, cleaning, demolition)?
  • Are there any specific skills or certifications required for the job, such as forklift operation or safety training?
  • What is the project timeline, including start and completion dates, and are there any critical deadlines?
  • Do you have a budget for the general laborer’s compensation and any necessary equipment or materials?
  • Are there any safety requirements or regulations associated with the project that the general laborer should know?

2. Search for the Top Talent

To find the right general laborer, diversify your search strategies and utilize various channels:

  • Online Job Portals: Utilize reputable job boards and websites specializing in construction and general laborer job listings to reach a wider audience of potential candidates. For instance, you can post jobs on Construction Jobs, Construction JobForce, AGC Career Center, or Construction Job Network
  • Recruitment Agencies: Collaborate with specialized recruitment agencies focusing on construction and general labor positions; they excel in finding and vetting top-quality candidates. Utilizing the expertise of agencies like Trillium Construction Services, Aerotek Construction Services, or Labor Finders can streamline the hiring process, saving time and guaranteeing the selection of skilled general laborers.
  • Industry Associations: Become a member of any general laborer association, labour union, and construction industry association to tap into valuable networking and recruitment possibilities. The Laborer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA), Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI), and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) are great places to search for skilled general laborers.
  • Local Job Fairs and labor union: Attend local job fairs or industry-specific events where you can meet potential candidates in person. Connect with local labor unions with lists of skilled general laborers seeking employment.
  • Word of Mouth: Encourage your current team members to refer qualified general laborers they may know.
  • Trade Schools: Contact local trade schools or vocational training programs to access recent graduates with foundational skills.

3. Assess Qualifications

General laborers typically do not need formal degrees but benefit from specialized training and hands-on experience. Becoming a skilled general laborer often involves practical training and apprenticeships.

Below are the typical educational qualifications and steps associated with entering the general laborer role:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Most general laborers typically begin their career with a high school diploma or an equivalent GED (General Educational Development) certificate. Courses in subjects like math, geometry, and related practical skills can provide a solid foundation for their work.
  • Apprenticeship: For many general laborers, an apprenticeship program is a primary route to gaining skills and experience. These apprenticeships usually span 3-4 years, blending hands-on training with classroom instruction. During this time, apprentices acquire various practical skills relevant to their role, including various labor tasks and techniques needed in the field.
  • Certifications: Although not obligatory, some general laborers pursue certifications to showcase their skills and commitment. Certifications like Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST), Forklift Operator, First aid and CPR, Hazardous Materials handling, and Commercial Driver’s License are tailored to specific skills, such as machinery operation and safety protocols, enhancing their expertise alongside their apprenticeship journey.
  • Specialized Training: Depending on their career aspirations, general laborers may pursue specialized training through apprenticeships or certifications. These programs offer advanced skills and knowledge tailored to specific roles within their field, such as logistics, manufacturing, or construction.
  • Safety Training: Safety is a top priority in general labor. General laborers undergo safety training and can earn certifications like OSHA 10 or 30, demonstrating their understanding of workplace safety rules.

4. Assess Work Experience

Evaluating a general laborer’s work experience is crucial as it offers valuable insights into their capabilities, suitability for the role, and potential contribution to various tasks.

By closely examining their work history, the diversity of projects they’ve been involved in, and the duration of their experience, you can assess their ability to handle a wide range of general labor tasks and adapt to different work environments.

Furthermore, you can gauge their proficiency and dedication to their work by reviewing any specialized skills, leadership roles they may have undertaken, their safety record, and any relevant portfolio.

This analysis helps identify candidates with the necessary technical skills. It demonstrates adaptability, problem-solving skills, and a strong commitment to safety, ensuring they are valuable and dependable addition to the general labor team.

5. Conduct a Thorough Interview

A comprehensive interview process is crucial to selecting the most qualified and reliable general laborer.

Here’s a suggested interview process:

  • Initial Screening: Begin with preliminary questions to assess basic qualifications, availability, and interest in the position.
  • Technical Assessment: Depending on the nature of your project, consider a hands-on assessment to evaluate practical skills.
  • Behavioral Interviews: Ask candidates about their work experience, teamwork skills, and how they handle challenges or conflicts. Use behavioral interview questions to assess how they have handled challenges, collaborated with team members, and resolved conflicts on previous projects.
  • Safety Assessment: Emphasize the importance of safety and inquire about their commitment to safety protocols.
  • Problem-Solving Scenarios: Present real-life scenarios and ask how candidates would approach and solve them to assess their problem-solving skills.

6. Check References

Contact the provided references, such as previous employers or supervisors, to validate the candidate’s work history and performance claims. 

By engaging in open conversations with references, you can gain valuable insights into the candidate’s work ethic, reliability, ability to collaborate within a team, track record of meeting deadlines, commitment to safety guidelines, and overall suitability for the general laborer role.

Questions to ask during a reference check:

  • Can you describe the candidate’s work performance and reliability?
  • How did the candidate handle working as part of a team?
  • Did the candidate consistently meet deadlines and complete tasks efficiently?
  • Can you speak to the candidate’s adherence to safety protocols and guidelines?

A new hire's first day checklist

General Laborer Job Description

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Job Title: General Laborer

Company: [Your Company Name]

Location: [Location]

Job Type: [Full Time / Part Time / Contract]

Salary: [Salary / Competitive / DOE]

About Us:

[Provide a brief description of your company, its history, values, and the types of projects your general laborers typically work on.]

The Opportunity: 

We are seeking a skilled and reliable General Laborer to join our team. The General Laborer will play a pivotal role in supporting various tasks required for the successful execution of our projects. This role demands physical fitness, adaptability, and a strong commitment to safety.

What You’ll Do:

  • Clean and maintain work areas by removing debris, garbage, and hazardous materials to ensure a safe and organized environment.
  • Load, unload, and transport materials and equipment to and from work areas using hand tools or machinery like forklifts or pallet jacks.
  • Support skilled tradespeople, including carpenters, electricians, or plumbers, by carrying out tasks that facilitate their work.
  • Help with basic construction tasks, such as digging trenches, mixing concrete, and preparing building sites.
  • Participate in assembling and dismantling structures, equipment, or components as needed for various projects.
  • Perform basic maintenance on tools, equipment, and machinery to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Assist with landscaping and grounds maintenance tasks, such as planting, weeding, and mowing lawns.
  • Safely load and unload trucks, delivery vehicles, or shipping containers and ensure proper handling of goods.
  • Assist with inventory control by keeping track of stock levels, reporting shortages, and organizing materials in storage areas.
  • Inspect products or materials for defects, ensuring they meet quality standards and specifications.

What You’ll Bring:

  • Ability to handle physically demanding tasks.
  • Willingness and capability to collaborate effectively with colleagues and follow instructions.
  • Consistent attendance and a track record of reliability to ensure tasks are completed on schedule.
  • Strong organizational skills to manage work efficiently and meet deadlines.
  • A commitment to following safety protocols, guidelines, and regulations.
  • Capacity to adapt to changing work environments, tasks, and responsibilities.
  • Basic communication skills to understand and follow instructions, report issues, and work effectively within a team.
  • Ability to identify and address fundamental challenges or obstacles during work tasks.
  • Precision in performing tasks and following instructions accurately.
  • Willingness to take on additional responsibilities and contribute to a productive work environment.
  • Consistency in completing assigned tasks and duties as required.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and take on a variety of tasks as needed.
  • A constructive and motivated approach to work, even in physically demanding or challenging conditions.
  • Familiarity with standard hand tools and equipment relevant to the job.
  • Basic skills related to the specific industry or role, depending on the nature of the work.
  • Openness to training and development to enhance job-related skills.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • A candidate with the physical endurance to handle labor-intensive tasks and work in various weather conditions.
  • A track record of being punctual and dependable, ensuring consistent attendance and performance.
  • A high school diploma or equivalent educational background provides a foundation for the role.
  • Proven experience as a general laborer in various settings, demonstrating practical skills and adaptability.
  • Collaborating effectively with colleagues and contributing positively to a team-oriented work environment.
  • Commit to following safety protocols and maintaining a safe work environment for themselves and others.
  • Skills in addressing challenges and finding solutions while performing labor-related tasks.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive Compensation
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental and Vision Coverage
  • Retirement Plan (e.g., 401(k))
  • Paid Time Off (Vacation, Holidays, Sick Leave)
  • Tool Allowance
  • Safety Training and Equipment
  • Career Development Opportunities
  • Flexible Work Hours
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Uniforms and Work Gear
  • Performance Bonuses or Incentives
  • Education Assistance
  • Team Building Activities
  • Transportation Reimbursement
  • Access to Diverse Projects
  • Supportive Work Environment
  • Health and Wellness Programs
  • Safety Awards
  • Referral Programs
  • Community Involvement Opportunities

How to Apply:

Qualified candidates can submit their resume, a cover letter detailing their qualifications, and any relevant certifications or references to [email address] with the subject line “Application for General Laborer Position – [Your Name].”

[Your Company Name] is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against based on disability.

Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Thank you for your interest in [Your Company Name].

Note: Adapt this template to your company’s specific needs and the general laborer position you aim to fill. While this template provides a general overview, feel free to customize it to reflect unique project requirements or qualifications.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a General Laborer?

Understanding the cost of hiring a general laborer is essential for budgeting, cost control, and project feasibility assessment.

Here’s a breakdown of the hiring cost:

Recruitment Cost

Recruitment costs can vary depending on your organization’s methods and the complexity of the hiring process. Costs may include fees for using online job portals, placement fees from recruitment agencies, membership fees for industry associations, and expenses related to attending job fairs or events.

  • Online Job Portals: Most online job portals charge a fee for accessing their database and posting jobs. For instance, Construction Jobs charges $250 for a single 30-day job post, Construction JobForce charges $299 per month, AGC Career Center charges $200 for a single 30-day job post, and Construction Job Network charges $250 for a 60-day job posting. 
  • Recruitment Agencies: Recruitment agencies such as Trillium Construction Services, Aerotek Construction Services, or Labor Finders charge a placement fee or a placement commission or recruitment fee. This fee is a percentage of the general laborer’s first-year salary, ranging from 15% to 30% or more of the annual salary.

Salary and Benefits

The general laborer’s salary represents a significant portion of the overall project budget. Salaries can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and the nature of the work. Entry-level general laborers may earn a lower salary, while those with more experience may command higher rates.

On average, a general laborer earns approximately $33,000 to $44,000 per year. This figure may vary depending on regional wage standards and specific project requirements.

The cost of benefits for general laborers may include health insurance, dental and vision coverage, retirement plans, paid time off (including holidays and vacation days), and potentially educational assistance or professional development programs.

Agwaonye Samuel

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