Why You Are Failing At Hiring Experienced Techs

Here’s the situation. Your customer is sitting on the couch at home, tapping at his keyboard, living the dream. Minus one thing. He’s got a problem deep in the guts of his house, a problem he can’t fix.

This is where it gets good (for you).

He’s filling out your Contact Form to have you come out to replace his water heater or A/C and furnace. Or maybe he’s chatting with your website’s HomeServiceChats, and your Chat Specialist is typing something like, “yes sir, we can get you scheduled in right now actually, no problem at all.” Boom. And cha-ching or some other money sound.

We love those types of leads.

But imagine this.

What if an entire week rolls by and the company doesn’t call that lead? Then a month. Two months…

Likelihood of converting that lead… 0%. All because you played the game wrong.

We all understand the value of a good sense of urgency. If someone has an issue, respond immediately. Within minutes if possible, and watch your conversion rates blow up and smash through the roof. That’s how you play the game well. When you do that, you’re solving the problem closest to the pain.

And that makes you a hero.

Waiting spawns two nasty villains into this story:

  1. Your Competitor. Someone else becomes the hero. Because you took too long.
  2. Apathy and Settling. The pain becomes more bearable and you miss the window. Because you took too long.

If the pain is bearable, it gets a lot easier to price shop. Then what? Yep. Now the company is in a bidding war with 5 other companies. Fun. Value is a harder proposition.

So we’ve established that a speedy response time is a pretty big value-add for our customers.

But we still make our “other customers” (our prospective employees) wait. The applicants to our jobs aren’t sitting there twiddling. They need a job. Like now.

I see it all the time. We complain about how it’s impossible to hire experienced technicians, plumbers, and electricians. We say things like “I’m just going to grow my own.”

But why not do both?

Why not be good at getting experienced field employees? Making revenue with a new guy in a month is way more appealing than waiting an entire year, right?

So let’s wack the problem already.

I think the main mistake in our approach to hiring experienced guys is empathy. You know, lack of it.

Here’s how it works.

The Tale of Ben and Jimbo  

Let’s empathize with Jimbo. Jimbo’s an experienced guy who just submitted an application at Ben’s service company.

First, let’s think of this – why is he looking for a new job? He applies because he’s burnt out. The owner of the company he’s working at doesn’t know his name. He gets no recognition for his hard work. His wife has been pushing him to weigh their options for the last month straight. Every day, or just about.

So he’s had enough of it. And it’s about to hit the fan. He musters up his courage and puts himself out there. It’s Wednesday, the 11th, by the way.

On the 25th, Ben gives him a call.

He says he’s looking for new people and that Jimbo’s application looks promising. Jimbo talks with Ben for a while to hear the pitch, but he’s probably a little frustrated. Because he applied 2 weeks ago. His wife is still pushing for him to get a better job, and he’s been stressing, for the first week at least. But the second week? Not so much. He decided it wasn’t worth it. Ben’s shown him that he has as much respect for Jim’s schedule as his current company by ignoring him for 2 weeks.

Let’s say Ben asks Jimbo to come in for an interview – Ben doesn’t want to work late, so he asks him to come in at the end of the week at like 3pm. At the time he says okay, and he really does have the intention of coming in. But then Friday happens.

He’s been working hard all week and realizes at 3, he’s wearing his uniform and driving his wrapped vehicle. He doesn’t have time to go home. Since he’s basically neutral toward Ben’s proposition up to this point, and all it takes is a couple crappy grains of rice to tip the scale in favor of ignoring him. So… he’s a no-show.

The whole thing turns out to be a trainwreck, and Ben doesn’t know why.

Let’s break down the moral of the story:

► You should call immediately, to show that you care and that you’re responsive.
► The time between the call and the interview should be a short window. You want the value you poured on during the call to resonate during the interview. Similar to a customer.
► Don’t set it up at your shop during the day. No one wants to park their work truck in front of their competitor.
► Workaround their schedule, to show that you’re willing to go out of your way to meet them.

Bonus tip time. I like to take it one step further – I don’t call it an interview, for one. And I always meet them for coffee or lunch. It’s much less stressful. Words like interview are pre-loaded with angst and change and hate, and just naturally create a lot of anxiety. We want to decrease the anxiety balloon, just like we do with customers. Meeting them in a neutral place helps too. You can talk about the value of your company without making it rigid. Ultimately, you’re selling a relationship. To be the partner you’d like to Tango with. No more stepping on feet and spilling sangrias. No more spinning your partner until they puke.

Have empathy. Respect your customer’s and prospective employee’s time.

Golden-rule it and trust me, it’ll come back to you and then some.