Turnover can be high in the field-service industry, largely because it’s a hard task finding someone who has technical aptitude, communication skills and can optimize a supply chain. But it’s not impossible to find the right employee, and smart hiring can be an invaluable investment in the long run. Here are three ways to land top talent:
1. Figure Out Who You’re Looking For
You already know the position you’re hiring for, but do you know all the different skills, certifications, and work experience you’ll require of a new employee? Think about what exactly the job entails, and advertise the position accordingly. “Hiring an employee is just like adding any other asset to your business,” says Patrick Peterson, author of the ZenHVAC blog. “It has to fill the need.”
2. Turn Your Employees Into Recruiters
The best job candidates often come from internal referrals, not classified ads. Plus, a new hire has to fit in with your existing team. Include employees in the interview process to see if everyone gels. Steve Teneriello, of the Service Coach, recommends even letting some of your employees conduct additional job interviewswith the candidate: “Maybe they will pick up on something different that you didn’t see,” Teneriello says.
3. Make Sure They Can Sell
Technical skills can be taught; soft skills like selling take a willing attitude. Selling is a central part of a typical field service position, so make it clear that techs are expected to cross-sell, up-sell, and push service contracts — and that your candidate can do so. Joe Smith, a district service manager in Boston for the STERIS Corporation, told The SmartVan that selling is right up there with mechanical aptitude as must-haves — a radical departure from when he first broke into field service.
“Back then, there was no expectation for service techs to do any selling,” he said. “Business has changed. Everybody’s scrambling to get every dollar they can, and we need those folks to be doing that.”