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When Stephanie Postell looked for a job in the past, she went through the usual channels. Postell’s latest job search, however, took place via social media. A connection online led to her current position as contractor success coach at Contractor Commerce. This way of connecting candidates with potential employers is becoming more common in all aspects of the HVAC business.

Postell and her husband own their own HVAC firm and had been a Contractor Commerce customer, which is how she connected with Paul Redman, the company’s vice president of sales. She found the process of getting the job much easier than the traditional method. Postell said sending in an application usually meant not knowing if there would be any response.

Redman understands the difference social media can make in a job search. He knew someone in the garage door business who was out of work. Redman posted about the fellow on his social media on a Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning, he was in the process of finalizing a new position.

Many traditional tools for screening applicants, such as a resumes and interviews, have been shown to have their limits when it comes to effective hiring. Social media allows employers to take the approach of targeting people who are like the employees they already have.

“Find your ideal employee, because chances are he or she is hanging out with people who have similar characteristics,” Redman said.

“I would look at recruiting new employees exactly like recruiting new customers.”
Paul Redman
vice president of sales, Contractor Commerce

Open Up to New Applicants

Postell said the traditional hiring practice often works to keep people away, especially in fields like HVAC. Colleen Keyworth, director of sales and marketing for Contractor’s Online-Access, said it’s crucial to show a welcoming workplace for everyone. For example, Keyworth said it’s a mistake for social media posts to show only men.

Colleen Keyworth.

OPEN UP: Colleen Keyworth said HVAC contractors need to show they welcome a diverse workforce when they post on social media. (File photo)

Social media recruiting involves more than just seeking someone to fill an immediate job opening. Redman said the wrong approach is creating a hiring campaign and making numerous call-to-action posts over the course of a couple of weeks. Rather, he said. HVAC contractors need to continually make posts that show the company’s culture and why it’s an inviting place to work.

“I would look at recruiting new employees exactly like recruiting new customers,” Redman said.

There are two different ways to use social media for recruiting. One is the more traditional way of putting ads on LinkedIn and Facebook. Keyworth said that’s worth a try, but she said to make sure that ad also appears on the company Facebook page. Any ad needs to lead to a landing page on the HVAC contractor’s website that describes the job, the culture, and includes the application.

HVAC contractors should have their employees share these ads as well, Keyworth said. The more exposure an opening gets, the better, even if it may seem it’s not reaching the right audience. For example, Facebook skews more toward women and those over 30. That means a 20-something male technician may not even be looking on the site. But his wife or mother may be, Keyworth said, and that often leads to an application.


Don’t Ignore TikTok or Linkedin

Redman said little perks mean a lot, like being able to take a truck home rather than having to come back to the shop. Postell said she often posts pictures of her and her husband working on weekends to let potential hires know the priority they place on their time. She said another way she conveys the company culture on social media is by posting pictures of the Chick-fil-A lunches they serve. In addition to being a tasty treat, it shows the emphasis they put on customer service, a trait the fast food chain shares.

Some social media are more effective than others. Facebook and Instagram are the main venues. Postell also recommends using TikTok, which is becoming more popular with all ages. The site now has more than 100 million users, a majority of whom are in their 20s.

“That shows your commitment to meeting people where they are,” she said.

Keyworth said more and more HVAC technicians are building their own followings on the video site. She recommends designating somebody in the office who keeps up with social media. This person can post the videos of employees dancing at office or even time-lapsed install. HVAC contractors could even post using the hashtag #careeradvice.

“You’re showing what kind of company you are and why people want to work for you,” Keyworth said.

LinkedIn shouldn’t be ignored, either, even if it seems much more buttoned-up than other social media platforms, Keyworth said. It’s an excellent source for office staff and managers. The best aspect of LinkedIn is that most the people in an HVAC contractor’s network are either in the business themselves or are in some way related. And while LinkedIn is better for desk jobs, Keyworth said not to ignore it as a source for technicians.

“Everybody is everywhere,” she said.