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Make Smart Hiring Decisions

Originally published: 03.01.16 by Pete Grasso

For years, the industry has lamented over a supposed shortage of qualified technicians. I'll let you in on a little secret, though. The companies who aren't complaining — those High Yield contractors who are successful, have great employees and never worry about filling an open technician position — are the ones who are hiring great people and training them to be great technicians.

Seems like a simple enough formula, but if it were really that easy, no one would be struggling to find employees. There are plenty of great people out there willing to work, most of whom have never been an HVACR technician before ... but they're willing to learn.

Many successful contractors have said to me, "I can teach you how to be a great technician, but I can't teach you how to be a good person."

You could hire the most experienced technician in the world, but if they're not a great fit for your company, then they simply won't work out, and that's why many companies are struggling to make good hires.

If you spend all your time looking for someone who fits well with your company AND is an experienced technician, well, you're going to be looking for a long time.

Focus instead on finding great people — but, take your time. There's an old adage that you should hire slow and fire fast.

As the owner of your company, you know just how necessary it is to properly vet all those applicants to choose the right one for your company. The successful companies with low employee turnover know this — sadly, too many times companies are desperate to fill an opening, they hire the first "good" candidate that comes along.

When you're short-staffed, looking for the right person to join your company is the last thing you might want to spend time on — after all, you're swamped and need someone now! But, believe me, it's a necessary process that shouldn't be rushed.

You only have to make one bad hire to learn this lesson. And when you do realize the person you quickly hired isn't working out, it's best for both parties to cut ties and start over.

I read an article recently on Fast Company on why employers today are taking longer than ever to make hiring decisions. It's not only a growing trend here, the article states, but globally as well.

The bottom line is, your employees are your company's biggest asset and you need quality employees if you're going to be a quality company.

You've spent a great deal of time building your business plan and shaping the company the way you want it to work; shouldn't you spend time making sure you surround yourself with the right people who are going to help your company achieve success?

Such was the case when I came across an article by Jim Johnson from Technical Training Associates.

Jim's article, "5 Rules for Minimizing Bad Hires," is spot on with regards to hiring. Jim says, "when things are not as they appear in the process of hiring, the negative results can be around a lot longer than the tenure of the person who winds up being terminated."

I couldn't agree more. Here are his five rules:

  1. Ask good questions during the interview.
  2. Make your hiring decision after two interviews.
  3. Follow-up interviews should not be done alone.
  4. Understand different personalities and the various methods of human communication.
  5. Start out on the right foot by letting your new employee know why they were chosen.

Fortunately, attracting high performers is almost the same as attracting a good customer, so you can market your company to great customers and great employees at the same time.

Attracting your next great employee isn't the problem — if you do things right, they'll find you. What you really need to focus your efforts on is ensuring those people you've attracted are a good fit for your company and it's culture.
Take your time with this process, and you won't have to do it very often.


Pete Grasso is the editor of HVACR Business magazine and the Ahead of the Curve enewsletter, as well as web content editor for and author of the blog Keeping it Simple.


About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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