Unfortunately, we’re seeing a major labor shortage in the skilled trades. For companies that rely on skilled workers with adequate knowledge and experience, like an HVAC contractor, this shortage of skilled laborers can restrict growth. While it can be challenging to find employees, the rate the industry is growing at does not reflect that lack of employees. It is estimated that the United States’ workforce will need an additional 115,000 HVACR technicians by 2022. What are the best methods for recruiting for HVAC contractors?
1. Micro-Target. Talk to your department managers to identify the tangible, and often intangible, qualities of desired prospective employees. Pinpoint the skills and interests you’d like potential employees to possess and then micro-target these areas through methods such as Facebook or in-app advertising, where you can carefully target groups of people with the skills you’re looking for. You can also use more creative methods such as geofencing to target job seekers from your competitors if that company has a similar culture and necessary skills as your business. Geofencing has even more applications to help ensure a cultural fit. Be sure to ask us about this particular strategy.
2. Grassroots. Many companies also forget to use one of their most important assets for recruitment, current employees. Create an incentive program for your current employees to encourage candidate referrals. For example, you can offer a current employee $500 if a person they refer is hired by the company and stays for at least six months. Decide what parameters you want to set for your referral program, but you’re around 70% more likely to find skilled applicants by trusting your own employees to spread the word in their networks. In addition to an incentive program, use creative ways to get employees to share information about open positions at your company and the positive workplace culture job seekers can find. Learn about your employee demographics and where they spend their time; it’s likely that others that would be a good culture fit and looking for jobs may be in those places as well. Do a lot of your employees spend time at the gym or go to a specific bar or restaurant? Do they have specific hobbies where they’re around other people? Create merchandise that shares information about applying for a position with your business and give it to your employees or distribute it to local businesses where you think the type of employee you’re looking for would frequent.
- Market to influencers. When conducting recruiting efforts, think beyond targeting the people you want to hire. Market to their influencers as well. A prospective employee’s family may be helping out in the job efforts; consider targeting spouses, parents, or significant others. These people are more likely to pass on the information to your potential future employees.
- Create early touchpoints.For brands in highly competitive industries, it is also beneficial to start recruiting early with students. Instead of waiting for skilled HVAC workers to get a few years of experience, start cultivating promising students as early as high school when they need to begin making decisions about the type of career they wish to pursue. Visit the school on career day and highlight the benefits of going into skilled labor. Beyond targeting high school students, partner with your local tech schools as well. Taking time to get to know the top students in those schools means that you can find great future employees during their training and hire them once they’re done. Too many HVAC companies make the mistake of only looking for employees with years of experience; by hiring recent graduates, companies can train the students themselves and ensure they have the necessary skills. HVAC companies should also consider training employees in their own facilities, so they have a safe environment and more options for hiring. By training employees in-house, a company no longer limits itself to only finding employees with years and years of experience.
3. Constantly Recruit. To counteract the lack of skilled employees for the industry, businesses must step up their recruiting efforts. Always be on the lookout for potential hires. Running ongoing recruiting efforts builds brand awareness, communicates your culture, and highlights the benefits you can offer. You never know when a skilled worker may be considering looking for a new job. Even if you are not currently looking to hire, get the information out there so you have a pool of talent to pull from. Create a dialogue with people who express interest, and you’ll have options for hiring at a moment’s notice. Consider adding a “Contact Me About Upcoming Positions” to your website’s career page to help build a candidate database.
4. Go Broad. Instead of simply posting to your company website and listing open positions, make sure you’re posting to as many third-party job sites as possible. Engage and leverage as many channels as you can to advertise your open positions. Post on LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and other job boards, particularly those that are more locally focused. Once you’ve covered the basic places to post, you can also supplement with paid advertising. Use PPC advertising, such as Google Ads, to share information about your open positions.
For HVAC contractors, when it comes to recruiting for HVAC technicians, they need to diligently work toward finding the best employees possible. These tips help ensure that you’re tapping into every possible channel to find new employees.