The methods contractors use to recruit employees have come a long way from techniques that were successful as recently as five years ago. This is because the means potential employees use to market themselves have changed drastically in that time.

Compounding this development is the fact that “The trade industry employer of today is dealing with, in most cases, a severe labor shortage,” said Marc Sampson, president and ceo of MECHdata Inc. and founder of and other industry-related sites.

“This means investigating tools to spread exposure of open job opportunities while keeping a close eye on cost per hire.”

Since the number of households with Internet access in the United States and abroad is still growing exponentially, it makes sense that increasing numbers of the workforce are using their PCs in order to job hunt.

“Armed with a bowl of ice cream or popcorn, millions of job seekers are plopping down and searching hundreds of job boards and databases before taking time to look through local newspaper ads or snail mailing résumés to preferred prospective employers,” said Sampson.

So, savvy hvacr contractors on the lookout for new technicians are increasingly turning to the Internet to cast a wider recruiting net. As a starting point, they may check out such generic sites as and

But there is such a thing as casting too wide a net.

40 million jobs posted on the Web.

The Electronic Recruitment Index, a consulting firm monitoring electronic recruitment progress, reports that 40 million jobs have been posted on the Web through more than 2,500 recruitment sites.

“Most of the sites are general in nature, catering to all types of industries and trades,” Sampson explained. “But an increasing number of niche sites are among the most effective in landing the specific talent employers are seeking.”

“In today’s marketplace, progressive companies will need to have an Internet recruitment program in place or lose out on the rapidly increasing number of skilled job seekers that are, in some cases, exclusively using the Internet for their job search,” Sampson warned.

“Hvacr technicians, plumbers, electricians, estimators, project managers, engineers, and high-level management at contracting firms, manufacturers, and wholesale-distributors are strongly represented in searching jobs on the Web.”

The question for contractors is this: Which is more efficient — searching a generic site or those that are trade-specific?

Naturally, Sampson’s view is biased, but it still makes good sense. “If you need skilled people with specific qualifications, find a job and resume board that specializes in your trade.” In other words, don’t fish in the ocean if you’re hoping to land a rainbow trout.

Targeted sites

“Look at full-service programs,” he advised, “where you can post jobs, search current résumés, post a company profile page with a link to your Web site, and push technology that will e-mail fresh résumés to you daily.”

But first, make sure you’re going to use a job board that is familiar with hvacr contracting. “Check your options out by contacting the online service, asking for references or testimonials; find out who else is using their service, how long they’ve been in business, and if they have a full-time customer service department,” said Sampson.

“More than 80% of companies with 10 employees or more are using the Internet as one of their primary recruitment vehicles,” he added. “Why? Because they have learned the workforce is getting online.

“The job seekers are there because web searches are fast, free, interactive, and provide information to infinity.”

If all you get are nibbles when fishing for hvacr technicians, “Perhaps you’ve been fishing in the wrong hole.”

Sidebar: MECHdata to provide recruiting programs

MECHdata, Inc., has signed an agreement to provide full-service, Internet-based recruitment programs to Encompass Services Corp.

“Using our three Internet recruitment services, HVACjob. com,, and, we will help meet Encompass’s recruiting needs for its four operation divisions,” said Chris Dahms, MECHdata director of marketing.

For more information, call 888-482-2562.