Mike Mayberry

If you want to hire the best people, you have to be like a bulldog. With the growing shortage of qualified people in our industry, it's NOT likely that a superstar employee will just fall in your lap. The most successful HVACR companies from across the country have accepted this reality and have adopted a bulldog approach to recruiting.

"Bulldog recruiting" means that you won't stop pursuing a potential employee until you get closure. Either they're coming to work for you or they're not!

You very likely train your salespeople to be doggedly persistent in their pursuit of a sale that may be worth $500 to $1,000 in gross profit, but you may not be willing to do the same to recruit a quality installer, technician, or salesperson who may generate $100,000-plus in gross profit every year. Why?

Treat A Potential Employee Like A Potential Customer

If you apply the rules of sales to your recruiting efforts, you'll build the best team you've ever had. Sure, it won't be easy and you'll be committing yourself to hours of hard work, but it's worth it. You have to think of your recruiting efforts in terms of return on investment (ROI). Some investments provide you with a short-term return, while others may take months or even years to pay off.

Here are a few suggestions to help in your pursuit of talent.

You Need Them More Than They Need You

Ask yourself this; if this person were a superstar, would they be desperate for what I have to offer? The answer is NO. A superstar can find a job anywhere, and they know it!

Don't just leave one or two messages for someone and then forget about them. If you believe that person could be an asset to your company, continue to call them and don't take it personally if they don't call you back. It's the ones that are easiest to reach and consistently call you that you should be most concerned about.

Sell Yourself And Your Company

Once you've determined that a candidate is someone that you would like to hire, you've got to do a great job selling him or her on why they need to work for you and not someone else. Just like sales, you've got to differentiate yourself from your competition to attract the best people.

Make A Hot List

If you talk to someone that sounds like they would be a fit, but they've just taken another job, add them to a hot list to follow up with every month. If the new job doesn't work out, you want that person to think of you first. Recruiting, just like sales, is about building relationships.

Ask For Referrals

If you miss out on a great person, be sure to ask them if they know anyone else that might be interested. For example: "Well Joe, I would really love to have you working for us, but since I've missed out with you, is there anyone else that you know that might be interested?"

Again, you probably train your salespeople to get three referrals from every prospect, so why not do the same with your recruiting efforts. Remember, it only takes one good person to fill your job.

In the years to come, finding qualified people to join your team will only get harder. If you don't adapt a more aggressive recruiting strategy now, you'll be left to pick from the "bottom of the barrel" while your competitors will employ the "cream of the crop."

Mike Mayberry is president of HVAC Agent. For more information, visit www.hvacagent.com.

Publication date: 01/26/2004