In the first installment of our chat, Mike Moore, Director of Training for HVAC Learning Solutions, talked about the HVAC industry’s current labor shortage. Here, Moore explains what service firms are looking for and how technicians can give themselves the best possible chance of getting hired.
When you’re looking to hire an HVAC candidate, what’s the most important experience a candidate can have?
The best candidates are ones that have the good customer service skills and then have the aptitude to learn. We’ve found over the years is that it’s easier to bring a person in that has the technical aptitude and has good customer service because we can train them in the way that they do business. A lot of times what happens is if you hire people that are real experienced they might have bad habits they don’t necessarily automatically fit into your company or into the environment that you have created. Hiring folks who graduated from high school, out of vo-tech schools, train them the way want that you want them to do business.
You mentioned Vo-Tech. Are you referring to vocational technical schools?
Yes, vo-tech schools are technical schools. People that may not want to go to college go to vo-tech for a couple years and they can learn the trade.
Are there any specific training certifications or classes that you recommend to someone trying to break into the industry?
You want people to understand and to go through courses that teach them things such as basic electricity, air distribution, safety’s a critical one — how you handle yourself around the equipment. Those are probably the three that you want them to get down. They have to have some type of mechanical aptitude and then we can teach those three specifics to them.
Is there a school that you recommend or a specific degree that you recommend?
No, there’s several schools that do a good job. Community colleges have programs, (HVAC Learning Solutions) has a program that’s called Build a Tech program, There’s a lot of different ways that you can do it.
If a technician is creating a resume, what are some things they need to include, and what should they leave off?
I think they should include all their work history, because that shows that they’re hard working. They should list all their certifications or skills that they have and put their educational background on there. Good references and then maybe show some different hobbies or extracurricular activities they’re involved in. I think that piece there shows that they’re involved with people, so that helps with the people skills part.
You said there’s a number of different interviews a tech will go through. Do you take them out on actual service calls and shadow them before you hire someone?
You could do that. What you have to be careful about there is you don’t want to pick up any liability. Because if you were doing that and they were to get hurt, that could cause a problem for you. You might be able to do something in a controlled environment at your shop, but I’d be careful about that.