Hiring skilled tradespeople has always been difficult. There are not nearly enough people in the trades and the good ones are rarely looking for work. This is especially true for the HVAC industry where Technicians and Installers are nearly impossible to hire.
The biggest issue for most employers is finding candidates to interview. Many companies will run job ads, heavily sponsor them and still not have anyone to interview. If this sounds familiar, Rockstar Recruiting can help, our team of HVAC recruiters specializes in finding highly qualified technicians and installers for your hardest to fill positions throughout Canada and the USA.
Finding the candidates is only one piece of the puzzle, you also have to ensure that what your company is offering is enough to turn them from candidates into employees. With the lack of qualified candidates, you only get a few opportunities, you can’t miss your shot. Below are the top five reasons that we hear every day from HVAC technicians as to why they have turned down an offer. If you can correct these things, recruiting becomes much easier.
1. Pay Rate
The first reason and most common reason has never changed, it is about pay rate. When recruiting techs this is the first question we get asked and if it is not on par the conversation end there.
There is more to a job than money but no one is going to work for free and it is rare that someone is willing to take a pay cut.
A lot of companies make the mistake of confusing what is good for retention versus what is good for recruiting. Many will go on and on about how good their company is to work for, how great their culture is, how safe they are, the kind of equipment they have, etc. Those are all excellent things for retention and things that you must take care of to make sure you keep your staff, but unfortunately they don’t do a whole lot for recruiting. The reason they don’t help too much with recruiting is because every company says the same thing and candidates are naturally sceptical.
Base pay rate is typically the thing that is most important to technicians because it is the thing that can count on. Bonuses, spiffs incentives, etc. all help but are taken with a grain of salt because they are not guaranteed. To ensure that a candidate will accept your offer you must come out with a strong, at or above market base pay rate.
Keep in mind that when an HVAC technician or installer is looking for a new job, they usually apply at a few different companies and often will be presented with multiple offers. Don’t make the mistake of starting with a low ball offer and hoping to negotiate, many will be insulted by a low offer and will choose to go with whichever company came out with the highest initial offer instead of negotiating.
I always recommend to make your initial offer your final offer, offer the highest rate that you feel is fair and see where it lands. If another company beats you, at least you gave it your best shot. Sure you might have been able to save a couple of bucks but you may also have lost the candidate all together.
The second most common reason why a job offer is rejected is something that can be fixed for free. It is all about timing. As mentioned previously, most times when an installer or a technician is looking for work, they will send out several applications and receive several offers. A lot of times the first offer they are presented with is the one that they will accept.
No one likes looking for work, interviewing is a hassle and many people will accept the first good offer they get so they can be done with the hiring process. If your process takes too long, you will lose candidates.
Things that you can do to speed up your hiring process
- Make sure that when a candidate applies, you’re responding to them within 24 hours.
- Schedule an interview ASAP, ideally no longer than a week from when they applied
- Make your offer within 24 hours of their interview
- If you require a candidate to interview with multiple people, schedule them to all meet at the same time as opposed to having multiple interviews
- If you require references, background checks, driving record etc. make an offer first and make it conditional on the checks coming back positive. This way you can lock them in or at least show you are serious while the pre hire process takes place.
If the process is going to take longer and there is nothing you can do about it the very least you can do is communicate this with a candidate. More often than not, if they understand why the process is taking so long and they know what to expect, they’re typically a little bit more patient. Otherwise they will just assume you are not interested and move on to the next opportunity.
3. Benefits and Pension
Base pay rate is the most important part for most technicians but the benefits, pension or insurance is also an important component to their compensation. A lot of times it doesn’t even matter the specifics of the plan, so long as you have a plan. Many smaller companies think that a benefits plan is too expensive and have never bothered to go in for it. This is not always the case. There are many reasonably priced plans available and sometimes even a cheap plan is better than no plan and can get somebody in the door. If a company has no plan, that can be a non starter for a lot of candidates.
4. Career Advancement Opportunities
Knowing that there is potentially a career path for technician usually goes a long way. This does not necessarily mean that you have to promise a path to management but you should outline what kind of career growth is possible. If you have examples within your company of people that have been internally promoted you should bring that up in the interview, real examples go a long way.
Career advancement is not just limited to promotions, be sure to talk about ways that you invest in your staff. This can be sending them for training, getting them certified, providing tools etc. Many technicians are not terribly interested in getting into management but are very interested in developing in the trade, furthering their skills and learning about new technology.
5. Company Reputation/Working Conditions
People want to be proud of where they work and this is equally true for HVAC Technicians. This takes shape in a lot of different forms. One area that is often overlooked by HVAC companies is their Service Truck. This is going to be parked at a Candidate’s home and is a big advertisement of where they work. Too many companies don’t take this seriously but for many techs it can be a big deal, I have had several candidates over the years turn down a job because the service truck looked like Junk and they didn’t want to park it at home.
Online reputation also plays a big role. At some point in the hiring process a candidate is likely to look up your company. With Indeed, Google and Glassdoor reviews readily available it is important that you manage this reputation. If you have not already done so, look up reviews for your company, if you have a reputation problem it is important to fix it, some tips on fixing an online reputation can be found here.
If you are able to address the above points, you will have a much better chance of landing that candidate. Not every offer is going to be accepted, but you should be aiming for somewhere in the 80% mark. If more than 20% of the job offers that you’re sending out are being rejected you do have a problem with your recruiting process.
If you need help with your recruiting process or if you are struggling to find Techs to hire, give us a call (1-833-937-3546), or reach out via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), we are happy to help.