Are you hiring superstars? If you’re not, you should be.

I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking, “I can barely find bodies, let alone able bodies, how the hell do you propose I hire superstars?”

Hear me out.

I get it. You’re starving for help. You’re turning away jobs because you simply don’t have the necessary man hours. You’ve exhausted the available talent from the local trade school. Those answering your classified ads always seem to underwhelm.

Despite the urgency that exists to address your customers’ issues, research shows it pays to carefully vet each applicant rather than simply hiring the nearest monkey wrench — or is it monkey with a wrench?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30 percent of the individual’s first year potential earnings. And, according to a CareerBuilder survey of 6,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals, nearly one in three employers in the U.S. reported a single bad hire cost them more than $50,000.


Superstars boast several attractive attributes. They’re confident, intelligent, persistent, and have a perfectly balanced ego and empathy. They excel in poor situations. Give them grouchy customers, dead leads, and callback situations, and they find a way to excel.

Not only are these individuals inclined mechanically, but they’re approachable, personable, and likeable.

Despite their backgrounds or ages, stars find a way to not only get the job done but do so drenched in positive online reviews that lead to reams of referrals.

You’re nodding your head. This is not news to you. And, now you’re asking, “Where can I find one of these mythical unicorns?”


Believe it or not, these individuals exist in your community today. They can be found in lots of places, including the local hardware store, the oil change shop down the road, that greasy spoon downtown, etc. It’s your job to identify them and bring them in your doors.

In his book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” Chet Holmes outlines the 12 core competencies that have been proven to provide the main structure of truly great companies.

He then describes the hiring process and provides readers with the perfect help wanted ad.

Transposed to fit the HVACR world, the ad reads something like this:

“Superstar HVACR technician wanted. Earn $XXX to $XXX. Don’t even think of applying for this job if you are not the absolute best at servicing, selling, and closing HVAC sales.”

The first line in the ad is carefully worded to scare away weak candidates.

The low number in the salary range should reflect the earnings of your average tech, and the high number should represent the absolute maximum the top tech in your company could earn if he or she exceeded all expectations. You include this lofty number because that’s the type of person you’re seeking.

Schedule brief phone interviews with each candidate. Outside of brief ice-breaking chitchat, your first question with each candidate should be, “The ad said we are solely seeking sales superstars. What makes you think you are a sales superstar?”

Your tone should be tough.

Regardless of how the candidate replies, try challenging the interviewee with, “I only have one position open, and I’m not sure I’m talking with a superstar.”

The candidate will likely either roll over with a sheepish, “Oh, OK. Thanks for your time,” or take offense to the immediate dismissal and reply, “I disagree. I was the top earner at my previous position, despite only being there for two years. In fact, in 18 months, I outsold guys who’d been there for five years.”

You see the difference?

Would you prefer to gamble on a body simply because you need to fill a position, or is it worthwhile to patiently find the diamond in the rough destined to lead by example? You want — no, you need — individuals who exceed expectations no matter the challenge. 

In a 2015 NEWS article, Rick Tullis, owner, Capstone Mechanical, Waco, Texas, said, “The better we are at hiring, the less proficient we have to be at firing.”

Despite your immediate needs, I hope you’re willing to at least consider this advice the next time you bring an applicant in.