I am sure most HVAC contractors would attest that when hiring for your company, it is impossible to hit a home run with every new hire. Well, not only did I not hit a home run this year, but instead I had a quick strikeout.

It would make me feel a lot better if I could point to a reason for the strikeout. Some factor beyond my control that turned my hero into a zero. But there is no such reason. Nope, only all fingers pointing back at me as the reason for the disaster.

It all started when one of my editors informed me they were offered the top job at a sister publication. While it’s always nice to see someone you brought into a company growing their career, I do dread trying to find a qualified candidate to replace the current employee.

To make matters worse (and get ready for the excuses to start coming), this was during what is our busy season: January. While it is not as hectic as summertime for our contractor readers, it is when we need to produce the most content.

So, right off the bat, the interview process gets rushed. The good economy is obviously a positive, but that also means not as many candidates are applying for jobs as there were just a few years ago. I know I am preaching to the choir on this one.

Where before I might have 15-20 people I could possibly bring in for an interview, during this sequence, there was only one. Now, common sense tells me not to rush the process and to keep casting a wide net in the hopes that more candidates will emerge. Safe to say, my common sense was on a vacation that week — here is hoping my boss is not reading this. The candidate we brought in did interview extremely well. You know the type … telling you exactly what you want to hear.

To compound the issue, another publication in our company was also interested in hiring this individual, which made me want to move even faster than I already had been.

So we hired her. As you can probably guess, the story does not end well. Her brief employment at The NEWS — I think it was four weeks — was a complete disaster. I like to say she had all the negative attributes common of the millennial workforce with absolutely none of the positives. The icing on the cake is that she obviously knew she was in over her head and quit before we could fire her. Of course, in millennial true fashion, she quit via email.

So learn from my mistakes. Here are a few contractor takeaways from my story:

  • There really is not a timeline. I know there feels like there is — but there isn’t. You will not go out of business because this position does not get filled for a month. Make sure you take your time and hire the right person.
  • Have a process in place and don’t deviate from it. Multiple people should interview the candidate. Sometimes other people pick up on small items that you might have missed. Do not skip steps.
  • Do some digging. Check references. Look for their digital footprint. You will be amazed what you can learn from a simple Google search.
  • Don’t let someone else dictate what you are going to do or how fast you are going to do it. With limited amount of individuals looking to get into the HVAC field, this might be the toughest rule to follow. Just because a business down the street is willing to make an offer does not mean that this person is a right fit for your organization. Do what is right for you and your company.

Best of luck finding your next great employee.

Publication date: 7/15/2019

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