How To Hire Co-Workers

Originally published
Originally published: 2/1/2008

Think of the hiring process as a sales presentation — putting your best foot forward will net results. 

Part 1 of 3

In January and February 2007 I wrote a two-part series on Recruiting Co-Workers. I am now going to build on that series. Recruiting people is much different than hiring people. Recruiting is the practice of getting people interested in working for your company. Hiring is the practice of convincing people that your company is the one they should choose as their place of employment.

In fact, hiring is only the second of six elements that must be addressed in properly staffing a company. The six are (in this order): recruiting, hiring, orientation, training, motivation and retention. I wish to start this column by putting to rest the phrase I hear over and over again in our industry: “You just cannot find or hire good people anymore.” That is absolutely wrong and you must start your recruiting and hiring practices by refusing to accept that notion. 

I’ve owned and managed four different hvacr contracting companies and have consulted and been associated with hundreds of others. I know better. The reason many companies have problems hiring and retaining competent co-workers is simply because the companies have not created a pleasant workplace environment. Experienced and skilled service technicians, installers and other co-workers are in high demand and can go work most any place they desire. In order to hire them you must be an employer of choice.

Reading and then implementing the principles, techniques, disciplines and best practices presented in HVACR Business is an excellent way of building the kind of company that attracts those high performers. 

Many good things that happen in business are a result of sales. That includes hiring. I recommend you think of hiring someone as presenting convincing reasons why they should work in your company rather than another company. Sure sounds like an effective sales presentation to me! 

Think for a moment of a replacement-equipment sales presentation. We all learned in sales training that we should follow some sort of format and structure along with having a presentation manual and other sales tools. We have to be well organized in our sales presentation, yet flexible enough to respond to different and changing conditions without losing our flow and continuity. If we are properly prepared and do this well, we may leave someone’s home with a $9,000 sale.

If it makes sense to go to a prospective customer’s home well prepared to make a replacement-equipment presentation resulting in a sale, doesn’t it make sense to sit down with a prospective co-worker and be equally well prepared to make a presentation? Successfully hiring an experienced, skilled co-worker is worth much more than a $9,000 sale, yet most company owners and leaders do not have a format or structure they follow when trying to hire someone. They basically “wing it.” 

Spend some time developing a hiring structure. It will not take long and will result in you being more successful in your hiring practice and save you countless time in the future.

First, make a list of all of the items you should present and discuss in your new co-worker candidate interview session. The following are some of the items I recommend:

  • Wage plan — If you do not have one, you can view an example of a Service and Maintenance Technician Wage Plan in my December 2006 column, Rewards That Work
  • Training calendar — You can view an example in my May 2007 column, Training: The Final Four Steps
  • Commission Program — Reward your co-workers with compensation for participating in the sales process by making sales or developing sales leads;
  • Personnel policy;
  • Co-worker career path opportunities;
  • Co-worker benefit package;
  • Testimonials from customers;
  • Examples of the forms and documents you use;
  • Flat-rate service manual — If you are talking to a service-technician candidate.

Gather each of these various items and have them filed and ready for when you need them.

Second, be prepared to take the candidate on a tour of your facility. Show them where they would be working and introduce them to a few of the co-workers they would be interacting with if they join the company. On the tour, be sure they see your training room, your inventory of material and parts, and what the company vehicles look like and how they are stocked and maintained.

Remember throughout this entire process that it’s not just the co-worker candidate that must impress you, just as importantly you must impress them. They should have your complete attention. In the two following articles in this series scheduled for the April and June issues, I will discuss and provide the techniques on how you go about hiring a high performer.

For now, work on your co-worker sales presentation— it’s the most important tool you’ll have to win the battle of attracting good co-workers.

Ron Smith is a well-known authority in the hvacr business with more than 45 years of experience as a contractor, franchisor, consolidator, and consultant. He is the author of HVAC Spells Wealth and HVAC Light Commercial Service Agreements.

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