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About Recruiting in 'Your Own Backyard'

Feb. 12, 2020
Failing to recruiting from our everyday life contacts is a missed opportunity.

I once heard a story about an owner of a HVAC company in Tennessee recruiting a Sandwich Artist from Subway to be his “Rehash” or inside salesperson. He was getting a sandwich and this guy was magnetic, so the owner did the smart thing and asked him to come in for an interview. That former Sandwich Artist now brings in nearly $2 million a year in additional revenue with his efforts of following up on unsold work. 

Personally, I recruited my trainer at the gym to be a mainline technician. He just had an amazing personality and while chatting, he said that he just didn’t see a career path with what he was doing. Eventually, after being a mainline technician for a year or two, he was promoted to be a Sewer Camera Salesman and was bringing in $1 million a year in sewer replacements. Why do we fail to do this more often? 

Failing to recruiting from our everyday life is a missed opportunity for many of us. People in food service or retail are often my favorite targets. Ultimately, because attitude is key, and we can train for skill. Retail and food service people often get extensive training, both practically and technically, on how to talk to customers. They also work long hours, including nights and weekends, so you are providing a better schedule and typically better pay. Obviously, not all jobs can be hired off the street, because licensing is required for some positions. But that shouldn’t make your efforts a hard-stop. Being a salesperson, or a drain tech, or even a customer service representative are position open to nearly everyone. 


   Another “backyard” spot we have found to be successful at our Flint companies is trade organizations and vocational schools. We make an effort to be the employer of choice for these trade organization’s budding students. 

We make an effort to be the employer of choice for trade organization’s and vocational school’s budding students.

Just like we often have to educate our customer base on why to choose our companies to service their plumbing and HVAC needs, we also need to be the educators of our prospective tradespeople, why they should choose us and the value we can bring to them. Often times, we undervalue the time spent educating the next generation. But similar to the best in our business being top-of-mind to our customers, it pays to be top-of-mind to our future plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. It might be today and might not be tomorrow but so long as we protect our reputation in the community, those students will always remember the time you spent in their formative years, and they might just come work for us one day. 

Trevor Flannigan is chief operating officer for Flint Group, a collection of the best residential home service businesses in the country. Its focus is on plumbing, HVAC, and electrical companies. Recruiting is just one of the many areas in which Flint Group has expertise in helping companies grow. If you are interested in learning more about Flint Group, go to