Diversifying your workforce by recruiting individuals who are underrepresented in the field service industry is good business. Not only are employees who come from different walks of life often more adaptable, but their backgrounds also give them a fresh perspective and a variety of skills that you can leverage.  

When we think of diversity, we often think of race. But there’s more to it than that. A diverse workforce of field service technicians should span gender, ethnic, and even life experience lines. For example, hiring people with a criminal record, or even just individuals who want to pivot from unrelated industries, can be a boon to your business—and even help appeal to the diversity of the communities in which you do business. 

A McKinsey study found that companies with low numbers of gender and racial diversity are “statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns” than the average companies examined. When you diversify your workforce of field service technicians, you’re not only showing your increasingly diverse customers that you’re inclusive, but you’re doing good for your business as well.

So what’s the best approach for attracting a workforce with diverse backgrounds? 

Tip #1: Recruit Women 

Traditionally, the field service workforce has been predominantly male, but that is changing. As more women receive STEM educations, their interest in technical careers continues to grow. And since women are known for their ability to communicate and build relationships, diversifying your labor pool by hiring women could do wonders for the quality of your customer service and by extension, your bottom line. Don’t wait for qualified women to show up at your door, resume in hand. Actively recruit them at technical schools or job fairs.

Tip #2: Incentives to Hire Techs With Criminal Records 

Don’t shy away from hiring former criminals. Fortune 100 companies like McDonald’s and Delta Airlines hire former inmates as part of their diversity strategy. According to SHRM, companies report that 82 percent of their ex-offender new hires have been, at a minimum, as successful as other employees. The U.S. federal government, as well as many local governments, offer tax incentives to employers to hire and retain ex-offenders. 

Look into the federal government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit program, which allows companies to claim a 25 percent tax credit in an employee’s first year based on a minimum of 120 hours of work, and 40 percent for 400 hours. 

Tip #3: Don’t Overlook Newcomers 

Those looking to make a career pivot, or who are returning to the workforce after starting a family, can leverage prior experiences to benefit your company. There are real advantages to recruiting candidates who are new to the field service industry. For one, individuals eager for a change are highly motivated to learn new skills, but don’t discount skills that they carry-over from prior employment. Those skills may not appear to have relevance at first, but they can be added to a shared knowledge portal. 

Mention that you provide on-the-job training in your job postings, and you’ll attract a wealth of candidates. Focus the interview on questions that elicit their history of accepting challenges, or overcoming obstacles successfully. People who held down jobs while studying, or while juggling family responsibilities have the persistence you’re looking for in a new hire.

ABOUT Lynda Spiegel

Avatar photoLynda Spiegel is a job search coach and resume writer who extensively recruited, interviewed and hired thousands of talented professionals as a human resources executive. She founded Rising Star Resumes to leverage this background, which affords her a unique perspective on how recruiters and hiring managers view candidates. A graduate of The University of Rochester (BA, Philosophy) and Queens College, City University of New York (MA, English), with doctoral courses at CUNY’s Graduate Center in Rhetoric, Lynda has worked at financial services, telecomm and SaaS companies. She also writes about HR and careers for the Wall Street Journal Experts blog.