Recruiters search cyberspace for job applicants

August 15, 2000
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It is said that cyberspace knows no boundaries. Too bad the same can’t be said for the number of job applicants interested in the hvac field.

While the media and the trade have touted the need for more qualified workers, there are two recruiter-placement specialists on the Internet who are looking for any interested workers. They don’t even have to be qualified.

“For several years, the hvac manufacturing industry was not bringing in new talent; they were looking for experienced workers,” said Gary Richards, owner of the Gary Richards Co., Venice, Fla. “It’s tough to find experienced workers.”

Richards works mostly with manufacturing companies. The typical positions he fills are design-development engineers, product managers, and manufacturing engineers.

He said that manufacturers are now looking for younger people with no experience who can grow with the business. He also said that up until a couple of years ago, companies were not willing to pay a recruiting fee for finding an employee.

All of that has changed.

“I’ve been doing this for 26 years, 11 specifically in the hvac field, and this is the wildest I’ve ever seen it,” he said.

Money talks

Not only is the talent pool a little thin these days, but college and technical school graduates have a variety of different fields to apply their training. To many, the hvac trade simply does not top their “most attractive” list.

“There has been a demand in every industry for mechanical engineers,” Richards said. “Unfortunately, the hvac industry is not as high paying as other industries.”

One visit to the Gary Richards Co. website shows what types of jobs are available and examples of recent placements. A young person with a minimum amount of experience can command salaries in the $50,000 to $60,000 range. But those figures may not be high enough to lure a graduate to the trade.

“Candidates are being very selective in what they do and where they want to go,” explained Don Munger, president of Berkshire Search Associates. “And right now I have a deskload of jobs that are available.”

Munger tries to find project managers, engineers, and sales reps for large mechanical contractors. He rarely works with residential contractors and tends to focus more on contractors in the commercial, industrial, and institutional markets.

Richards said that since much of the technical training for the hvac trade involves analytical skills, the candidates are even more attractive to employers in other industries.

Marketing the trade

Both Richards and Munger agree that they have to work even harder to keep the interest level high in the hvac field.

“It isn’t a matter of making the job more attractive,” added Munger. “I’d rather have a strong economy than one where there are several candidates for one position. We just have to sell harder.”

“We have to make the candidates feel comfortable with us,” said Richards. “If we treat them with respect, they may respond better.”

The key for both recruiters is networking with each other. Much of their advertising is word-of-mouth or the Internet. They depend on getting job leads from each other.

For more information on these recruitment-placement companies, visit their websites at www.hvacsearch.com (Richards) and www.berkshiresearch.com (Munger).

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