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Lithko constructs a future-proof early talent pipeline built on a winning candidate experience

Lithko is using the strength of its early talent recruiting experience as a competitive advantage—one that is driving its growth, success, and long-term stability.

Lithko Contracting was founded in the early 1990s by concrete professionals looking to empower workers with an employee-centric operations and recruiting model. Today, Lithko operates in over 20 business units from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

Attrition and retention are top concerns for the construction industry as a whole given seasonality. But with a high-growth mindset, Lithko turned to Handshake to overcome these challenges and build a robust, always-on recruiting pipeline.

Building relationships through an engaging messaging strategy

“Retention can be challenging in the construction industry in general,” says Morgan Price, Director of Recruitment and Talent Development at Lithko. “We have a generation retiring soon that has historically represented a large percentage of the talent market share in our industry.”

Lithko begins building relationships before they ever step foot on campus, so their first in-person interaction with Gen Z candidates is authentic. “When we are on campus, just about every student comes up and says, ‘I got your message on Handshake. I wanted to come to your booth and say hello after checking out your Handshake page,’” Morgan explains.

“What we've seen as part of our recruitment strategy for Gen Z, as well as our development and retention strategy, is that they like personalized engagement and frequent touch points. We sent over 110,000 messages to students this year in over 80 different campaigns on Handshake.”

Morgan Price, Director of Recruitment and Talent Development at Lithko

Morgan’s team achieved a remarkable 4.3x higher open rate and a 2.5x higher engagement rate compared to other employers on Handshake. This success hinged on using Handshake's best practices:

  • delivering targeted, personalized, and relevant messages that offer value,
  • building out their company profile with information on their programs, and
  • following up on messages.

Lithko can get ahead in a competitive talent market by engaging Gen Z talent early and often. “Timing is important. Getting in front of the students as soon as they get on campus helps us immediately create brand recognition and the foundation of a relationship. Once they apply for a job, we want to move as quickly as possible to the initial phone screen interview. We know these individuals receive a lot of attention and offers from other employers, which is why responsiveness and frequent communication are the keys to an effective hiring process.” she says.

And because hiring early talent costs 30-50% less than recruiting mid-career professionals, Lithko can fill its pipeline with loyal, reliable talent that they can develop into valuable long-term cornerstones of their business. “Not only do we recruit them, but we develop them into their next role. That’s our focus,” Morgan says.

Achieving high message conversion to meet aggressive growth targets

With over 20 business units, Lithko’s distributed organization made nationwide recruiting a herculean task for its talent acquisition team. With a bold growth plan to execute amid industry headwinds, Morgan's team had to find a solution to deliver at a previously unprecedented scale. They found it with Handshake.

By engaging with students via messaging, Lithko’s team became a mighty recruiting engine that scaled early talent. “We sent out targeted messages, and we got almost 400 people to apply for a job. Before Handshake, reaching that many qualified students across so many schools would have taken hours,” Morgan recalls with a laugh.

“With less than 20 minutes of effort, we had nearly 400 candidates apply to a job. This saves our team hours of work and gives them more time to build relationships with candidates. It is only possible because of Handshake's network and seamless features."

Morgan Price, Director of Recruitment and Talent Development at Lithko

What’s the secret to their success in achieving such a high conversion? Morgan adds, “One simple but effective practice is short messages. Gen Z thinks in 280 characters, six seconds of information. So narrowing down the message and quickly conveying your call to action is a big part of the strategy. Handshake helps us target the right candidates, customize and streamline our communications.”

The proof is in the pipeline for Lithko and their aggressive growth targets. Early talent hiring is up 46% year-over-year. To match that business growth, Lithko’s talent team has tapped into Handshake’s network to double their school partnerships year-over-year. “We're able to have a larger pool of students and a wider diversity of schools because of Handshake. It just would not have been possible to reach the breadth of talent,” she says.

Increasing applications from schools with underrepresented talent through virtual events

Lithko takes its commitment to equity in opportunity seriously. It’s central to their values as a company. That’s why they love having virtual events as part of their arsenal on Handshake.

Morgan and her team use them to offer low-pressure, community-focused educational workshops and roundtable discussions for underrepresented groups interested in construction careers.

“We were able to use virtual events in a really cool way to highlight underrepresented groups, women in construction, veterans—we create spaces for students who identify with underrepresented groups to engage, ask questions, and meet our team,” says Morgan. “We’ve hired many people we met through virtual events. We wouldn’t have ever found them without Handshake." As a result of building authentic connections with students, Lithko saw a 179% increase in applications from schools with underrepresented talent.

Winning over top talent today and securing a solid future

To find and engage Gen Z talent—and develop this talent for long-term stability and risk mitigation—Lithko has built a robust early talent pipeline and a winning candidate experience using Handshake to:

  • Reach a larger, more diverse pool of students to support Lithko’s increasing hiring needs
  • Increase brand reach, streamline processes, and tailor personalized experiences
  • Support diversity, equity, and community-based priorities with virtual events and targeted outreach

As the rest of the industry struggles with attracting Gen Z talent and long-term attrition, Lithko use the strength of its recruiting experience as a competitive advantage to drive growth, success, and long-term stability.

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