This is shaping up to be a very good year for the air conditioning industry. The economy is coming along. Optimism is in the air. A mild winter portends a hot summer. The only thing that can stop you is a lack of butts in trucks. Here’s how to fix that.
You should be in full-fledged recruiting mode right now. Hire before you need people. If you wait until, it’s too late.
Define Your Criteria
You should have well defined criteria of what you’re looking for. There’s the unicorn technician who is perfect in every way, but who does not exist. While you may not find the perfect tech, you can try to get close.
At the other end are the “no-goes.” These are the things you will not accept. Some contractors will not turn away anyone with tattoos that cannot be covered. Others require short hair and do not permit facial hair.
Identify Questions to Test Value Alignment
Have you defined a set of company values? If so, identify the behaviors that result from those values. Create questions that reveal whether your prospective hires behave consistently with your defined values. Ask questions like, “Tell me about a time when…” “Have you ever…”
Create Recruiting Collateral
A number of contractors are creating recruiting videos. A Service Nation Alliance member, Mark Denning from Fallon Solutions in Brisbane, Australia, put together a “Culture Book” that outlines all of the benefits of working for Fallon (one per page), interspersed with pictures of employees and their testimonials about the company. It’s an effective and attractive piece.
Whether you use videos or printed material, it’s more important than ever to provide prospective employees with something that sells the company after the interview is over, something that can be shared with a spouse.
Identify Your Interviewers
Decide who you want to interview people. While you will assess the candidate, your role should be to sell the company. Recruit. Let others do the probing. The service manager should be one of the interviews, as should another tech. It’s also important to have a woman on the interview team, especially for male technicians. Some men give women the creeps. Other men won’t see it or pick up on it, but women do.
Consider Assessment Tests
Many contractors use assessment tests as part of their screening process. The most common are personality profiles and mechanical aptitude tests. If you are going to use these, make sure they are valid and legal in your state.
Recruit, Recruit, Recruit
Where do you find prospects? Unfortunately there is no silver bullet. You will need to use a variety of methods. Here are a few…
- Email your customers that you are growing and hiring. Describe what you are looking for and ask them to make a recommendation.
- Pay your technicians a bounty if they can recruit someone for you.
- Buy a billboard. Buy one near your biggest competitor or the biggest supply house in the area.
- Make large help wanted magnets for the back of your trucks.
- Use all of the Internet job boards, including Craig’s List.
- The front page of your website should have a large, prominent “We’re Hiring Right Now” button.
- Troll the hardware sections of retail stores and look for someone working in hardware who has the right attitude and appearance (e.g., he should come up to you and ask if he can help).
- Announce your opening at your service or civic club.
- Tap into your leads group.
Screen In, Not Out
In the end, no hire is a sure thing. Every single one of them is a roll of the dice. So while it’s important to screen, try to screen people in, not out. When in doubt, give someone a chance and challenge him. He might surprise you. But if he disappoints, don’t waste his time or yours. Cut him loose and find someone else.
Hire more technicians than you need. Pair your green techs with your best techs if necessary. Sooner or later, you will lose a technician who sees greener pastures or has an entrepreneurial seizure, or business will pick up to the point where you need another truck. When either happens, you will be ready.
The people you need to grow your company are out there. You just have to go find them. Hurry, it’s almost March.
For a complimentary copy of the Service Roundtable’s Culture Book, contact the Service Roundtable Success Team at 877.262.3341 or visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com.