Owning an HVACR company is rewarding but comes with its list of challenges. Finding qualified, professional skilled workers is often at the top of the list, especially in the midst of a major labor shortage.

If you are planning to build out your talent pipeline in 2019, here are a few key characteristics to evaluate when considering your next new hire.



The appearance and professionalism of your technicians is a reflection of your company. On service calls, it’s critical for technicians to wear clean uniforms, appear well-groomed, maintain tidy work habits, and communicate in a professional manner.

When interviewing candidates, gauge their levels of professionalism as they appear and interact with you. Provide different scenarios and ask them how they would respond. Try to uncover insights about how well they will communicate and represent the professionalism of your company when you’re not looking over their shoulder.



Just a few negative online or word-of-mouth reviews about a dishonest technician or the company overcharging a customer for a service can damage your business and reputation. Seek honesty in your next hire and share how important it is to your company. Let them know you expect your technicians to do what’s right to fix issues and at the right price. Honesty goes a long way in this business.



Humility is a quality that’s often overlooked, yet it is one of the most important qualities a skilled trades worker should have. Humble employees are hungry to learn, they roll up their sleeves to get the job done, they share credit with others, and they emphasize teamwork.

Ask your candidates about past team projects they have worked on and the outcomes of those projects. Look for more references to “we” than “I,” along with complimentary references to others involved in the project. Humble people are less ego-driven and feel comfortable giving others credit. Along with this comes their willingness to learn from others and work as a team.



Ownership is a two-way street. Contractors should seek candidates who take pride and ownership in their work, where they view it as more than just a job. Employers play an important role in this as well. You can help instill ownership in your employees by showing respect, empowering them in their roles, and showing appreciation. Ownership has a ripple effect that leads to employees providing their best work, positive work environments, satisfied customers, and repeat business.



As technology continues to advance, skill sets must change as well. Does your candidate view education as a lifelong endeavor? If so, that’s a positive sign. The HVACR industry will continually evolve. Make sure your new hire offers the dedication to evolve with it.



Finding qualified employees with these characteristics may seem daunting with the skilled labor shortage. And, it will only become harder with growing market demand. Make recruiting a top priority and always be on the lookout to keep talent in your pipeline. Feeling overwhelmed? Consider partnering with a trade school, like The Refrigeration School Inc. (RSI). RSI teaches students the professional skills necessary to make your business successful. Beyond their vocational training, RSI students receive grades based on a real-world point structure that’s similar to real-life workplace situations. The curriculum is designed to teach professionalism and help students become better communicators, bringing a sense of pride and ownership to their work while meeting the highest professional industry standards. Partners like RSI can help you find top talent, even as the industry struggles to overcome the severe labor shortage.

Publication date: 1/28/2019

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