How to Hire the Right HVAC Professional for Your Company
When it is time to grow your team, always try to find an individual who can raise your standards and enhance your customers’ experiences with your company.
Making a great hire can truly transform your business. The best employees improve the work of everyone around them. The best employees are also a good fit for the positions you put them in finding real purpose in their work. So, whether it’s your first employee or 1,000th, your goal should be to find a person who is the best match for that position. Because only if they are the right fit, will they be happy, and make the kind of contribution you need to help your company get to the next level.
There is always some luck to hiring. However, you can significantly improve your luck by having a great hiring process in place. The hiring process includes everything from recruiting to interviewing, to making an offer, to onboarding your new employee. In this post, we look at how to put together a great process and hire the right HVAC professional for your company.
Understand Why You are Hiring
Before you start your hiring process, be clear on the benefits that you hope to achieve. After all, an organization is almost never forced to hire. You are choosing to hire to achieve specific objectives. Perhaps you have more work than your existing staff can handle. Or maybe you need new skills to pursue revenue opportunities in a market you are entering for the first time. Here are some of the benefits that companies get from new hires.
- Business Transformation: The right new hire can take your business to the next level. In this case, you are looking for a transformational hire. A person who can bring a new perspective and new management techniques, process improvements, or a better sales process.
- More/Better Sales: The right new hire might have skills that might otherwise take years to develop, allowing you to pursue new revenue streams, fill your company’s skills gaps and drive rapid growth with just one hire. In this case, you are looking to plug a skills gap. Maybe your sales people are telling you that you are losing out on businesses because your team lacks certain HVAC skills. Adding those skills could enable the company to close more business deals and reignite growth.
- Offloading Work: The right new hire can free up time for executives to focus on key objectives. No organization wants their leadership team to be so burdened down with day-to-day matters that they don’t have time to develop a strategy and communicate key objectives. Bringing a trustworthy and competent manager on-board can free-up leadership to grow the business.
- Outside Perspective: Working with the same people for a long period of time can create an insular environment and an organization that resists new ideas and change. The right new hire can bring inspiration and perspective to an organization that needs to adapt to a changing industry.
When is the Right Time to Hire?
Once you have a clear understanding of why you want to hire, you should start thinking about when the right time is to hire. Pay attention to signs that your existing team is stretched too thin. Busy is good, but you don’t want your people to be so busy that the cannot complete tasks effectively. Are your people being forced to wear a lot of hats, alternating from task to task, and working outside the scope of their job to keep up with business growth?
Flexibility and the ability to juggle tasks are commendable skills up to a point. But employees can only handle so much multi-tasking before their work suffers, they become unhappy, and customers complain of disappointing results. If you notice any of the following, you probably need to expand your team.
- Customers are complaining that they aren’t getting the necessary time and attention from your company.
- You and your staff are unable to take vacation time because of the work backlog.
- Employee morale is low, and turnover is increasing.
- Employees with specialized, in-demand, skills are overbooked and burning out.
- Many important tasks remain uncompleted and deadlines are never met.
- Because of a lack of manpower, you are unable to expand by taking on new projects or clients.
If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, and you are clear on your hiring objective, then it is time to start the hiring process. Creating and managing a hiring process may seem intimidating. But, it doesn’t need to be. Here are 10 steps to help you on your way.
10 Steps for Implementing a Professional HVAC Hiring Process
At HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we’ve worked with leading HVAC employers for over a decade to hire top candidates. Based on our experience, here are the 10 steps we use and recommend that you do as well.
1. Start with Research and Consultation
When you hire HVACEXEC.com Recruiters we share similar job descriptions from your competitors and discuss confidential resumes of qualified candidates to understand what skills and experience are required for roles like yours. We will review job trends in your area and industry to identify the most popular job titles candidates are searching for and compare salaries to determine the right compensation level for your role. To help lay the groundwork for writing a competitive job posting, we help you develop a list of the key job duties your new employee will be responsible for and think about the characteristics your ideal candidate will have.
2. Create a Compelling Job Description
The market for hiring HVAC professionals is competitive. To compete with top firms, you need to understand, and follow, a set of best practices to develop compelling, interesting, and clear job descriptions. Clearly communicating the job’s responsibilities, requirements and rewards will encourage the right candidates to apply. Check out our job description examples to help you craft your own.
If you decide to hire HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we work with you to ensure your job descriptions are competitive and will also develop and implement a powerful advertising and recruitment campaign to get the word out and make sure you attract the best applicant.
3. Review Applicant Resumes
Once the applications start rolling in, the first thing to do is eliminate the candidate who is obviously not a fit. This will be your “no” pile. You will also have a “yes” pile (candidates that you definitely want to talk with) and a “maybe” pile (candidates you aren’t sure about). There are several characteristics to look for when deciding what pile a resume belongs in. To avoid the “no” pile, a resume should show at least one of the following:
- A pattern of advancing in their career. For managers, you are looking for a pattern of increasing responsibility and titles. For a technical specialist, you should see a commitment to developing new skills and working on more challenging assignments.
- Remaining in jobs for longer periods of time. Resumes that show a pattern of being in a job 1-2 years and leaving are a red flag. Gaps in employment can be as well.
- Specific past achievements that are relevant to the job description. For example, meeting a sales quota. Or working with customers requiring specific HVAC skills.
- Skills and experience that match your job description. Some candidates apply to any job with “HVAC” in the title, not bothering to figure out if they are actually qualified. These are usually not the people you want. A candidate should have read your job description and maybe even customized their resume a bit to match the language of your job description.
- Proper spelling, grammar, and capitalization as part of a neat and well-organized resume. A messy resume, filled with spelling and grammatical errors, is a sign that the employee doesn’t care that much, or perhaps is just sloppy. Either way, you don’t want to hire such a person.
If you work with HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we will screen resumes for you, so that you don’t waste time on the “no” pile. We will also communicate with top candidates to learn more about their qualifications. From our initial screening, we will develop a short list for you of the best candidates, discuss them with you, and help you decide who should move forward in the hiring process. We can collaboratively learn more about the candidates’ experience and then start scheduling phone screens and interviews.
4. Evaluate your Top Candidates
To help you decide who should receive a phone screen, we talk to them, pre-qualify the best candidates, and prepare an executive summary for you that covers these points:
- Reason for Changing Jobs What is the candidate’s motivation? What is causing them to consider a career change at this time?
- Expected Compensation and Benefits What are they earning now and what would they like to earn in their next role? We make sure to understand how they are used to being paid. Is it a base plan plus bonus? Do they have a quota? We’ll go back at least 5 years to document their compensation history. We also examine benefits and help you understand how yours compare with the job they are coming from.
- Relocation Are they able and willing to relocate for the right opportunity?
- Travel Can they travel and how much? What percentage of travel are they are willing to commit to for the right opportunity?
- Work Authorization / Immigration status Are they a US Citizen? If not, what kind of work visa do they have. We ask for details if the candidate is not a US Citizen; if they require sponsorship we need to know the details as to when that would be necessary. We know that most employers are reluctant to get involved with sponsorship unless it’s a highly technical, difficult position to fill and only if the candidate can work there long enough to make sponsorship worth the time and expense.
Once you’ve developed your short list, you should conduct a telephone or in-person interview immediately. Good candidates do not stay on the market long, so it is important to move quickly.
5. Interview Your Top Candidates
Ask strategic questions that reveal their skills and qualifications, important personality traits and level of enthusiasm for the role and company. Make sure that you understand the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines and regulations regarding prohibited employment practices. You must avoid discrimination during the interview process by avoiding certain topics, like age, race, marital status, etc.
The following are some general questions that you can use to get the conversation started, for just about any position
- Describe your ideal job.
- What are the important features of your ideal work environment.
- What are some things that you would like us to know about you?
- What do you consider to be your most important professional accomplishment?
- What attracted you to this position?
- Can you tell us about any particular strengths that you would bring to this job? How about weaknesses?
Beyond these basic questions, you should make a list that is specific to the position you are trying to fill. Ask these specific questions of every applicant and take careful notes so that you can compare the answers that different candidate gave. If you work with HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we can help you develop the right kinds of questions to ask during pre-qualification and in-person interviews.
6. Check References for Finalists
During the interviews, you will eliminate more of the candidates. At this point, you will probably have 2-3 finalists. Now is the time to call references. The primary purpose of reference checking is to make sure that candidates have represented their experience accurately on their resume. In addition, some references may help you gain additional insights into a candidate’s strengths. Call at least two references. Ideally, these should be people who directly managed the candidates.
If you work with HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we can conduct reference checks for you and provide a detailed summary of our conversations. Here are some examples of the types of questions we ask and facts we verify during a reference check.
- Verify job title, responsibilities, and duration of employment.
- Ask how long they worked with the candidate and whether they have any relationship outside of work.
- Ask them to describe, generally, what it was like to work with the candidate. Open-ended questions like this encourage the reference to provide more information they otherwise might not.
- Ask why the candidate left their job.
- Inquire about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Ask the reference if they would rehire the candidate.
7. Stay Organized and Manage the Process
Organization is extremely important. It helps to consider recruiting as a process that you are responsible for managing all the candidates through. Keep candidate informed of their status which includes notifying the people who are no longer being considered. For those who are still in the running, move them promptly through the screening, interviews, and reference checking processes. It reflects poorly on your company if you leave candidates hanging you can lose good people that way.
If you work with HVACEXEC.com Recruiters, we can help you stay organized especially when you’re responsible for hiring for multiple roles or have dozens of applicants applying for a single position at your company since things can get overwhelming quickly. We can help you stay informed about interesting candidates as they move through your hiring process. We maintain a status for each candidate (New, Reviewed, Phone Screened, Interviewed, Reference Checked, Rejected, etc.) and keep accurate, detailed notes about each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses at every step in the process.
8. Select the Best Candidate
Sometimes you reach the end of the process and you have multiple candidates that could fill the position. Each of them may seem to be a great fit, but they would probably do the job differently. Selecting among them may be difficult.
At this point, think about which candidate brings the most to the team. How will they interact with the existing employees, and what other goals can they help you accomplish? Think back to the first part of this blog post, where we talked about understanding what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking for business transformation, pick someone that you think can lead, even if they might ruffle a few feathers. On the other hand, if you simply need to offload work, pick a person who seems like they could get along well with the existing team.
Discuss the selection with other people who interviewed the candidate or have participated in the hiring process along with you. Getting different perspectives will help you to make the best decision.
9. Offer the Job to the Best Candidate
Make the offer over the phone before sending anything in writing. Why? Because you want to see how they react and feel them out to determine if they are likely to accept. When you make the offer, take time to thank the candidate for participating in your hiring process and make sure they understand how excited you are to have them join. Explain the salary, bonus (if applicable), benefits, start date, etc.
Sometimes the candidate will accept the offer on the spot. If so, you should send an official written letter and get it signed as quickly as possible. If the candidate does not want to accept right away, see if you can find out the reason. If it is a matter of compensation, find out exactly what they need and tell them you will discuss it internally and get back in touch. If they are considering other offers, see if you can have a frank conversation about what it would take for them to accept yours.
Once you’ve reached the final terms, send a written offer letter. The letter should include the specifics you agreed to, and also reiterate that you would be very happy to have them join the company. HVACEXEC.com Recruiters helps many clients to write engaging, informative job offer letters. Even if you aren’t a client, reach out to us. We would be happy to provide suggestions.
10. Ensure that You Have a Solid Onboarding Process
Onboarding doesn’t have to be fancy or formal, but it does need to show your new employee that they are welcome and that you care about their success. Here is where you can build loyalty and help your new employee become productive as soon as possible.
Don’t forget the basics like a tour of the building, their office or workspace, company ID, building access, setting up email and other computer applications, etc. Beyond the basics, here are a few ideas that HVACEXEC.com Recruiters have seen work well at other companies.
- Introduce colleagues at a team lunch during the first week. This helps every get to know each other in an informal setting.
- Hand them plenty of company swag, like branded pens, t-shirts, mugs, etc. This helps build a connection to your organization
- Assign someone on their team to be a mentor. The mentor can be someone at the same level, but with more experience. The mentor should help your new employee master the basics of the new job, and also be there to answer any questions.
We’ve provided a lot of information in this post. Our perspective is based on over a decade of experience recruiting HVAC professions. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss how HVACEXEC.com Recruiters can help, please reach out to us.