Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 31
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579

    I was hired by a contractor to do the recruiting, interviewing and hire new technicians. This is the first time I have been in the position of performing these duties myself and having total authority to do so by myself.

    I placed ads in newspapers, visited HVAC tech schools and made a number of phone calls to instructors. I got a great deal of response from all quarters. However, I sure have been shocked at the total lack of quality applicants wanting a position with our company.

    The number of guys attempting to pass themselves off as technicians has been amazing. Most don't know enough to perform even the simple tasks much less send them out in a service van alone.

    I taught HVAC fulltime for many years prior to taking on this new recruiting and hiring project. But I never realized how difficult it is for a contractor to find qualified technicians until I was put into the position of doing the interviewing and hiring myself.

    I am now more convinced than ever that NATE Certification is a good thing. If a NATE Certified technician was one of the applicants I would probably grab him or her up in a minute. At least I would immediately know that the technician actually knows something, can read and has enough upstairs to pass an exam. That is far more than I have found among the many applications I have received.

    I am all for NATE Certification as one tool to be used to determine that a technician is at least THAT qualified.

    What do you think?


    Norm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    Trust me, this is nothing new at all. The fact is that any qualified tech is already working somewhere. We have had some real duesies apply and it is amazing the BS they'll feed you trying to get a job.

    We don't require experience. That is one thing that has help a BUNCH! We look at the person and what they DO know and make a decision based on that. The last guy we hired for example had some experience with electronics including working for a company as a powered wheel chair service manager, and he has extensive automotive knowledge. This tells us that heknows basic wiring and has mechanical understanding. Additionally he has a clean driving record. But MOST important is he has the will to succeed. I can read people and he just seemed right. We hired him and he has been one of the best techs we have hired in a LONG time. It goes the other way to. Sometimes you hire someone that just doesn't work out and you know if it is going to work within a VERY short time.

    The days of hiring experienced techs is officially over unless you are lucky. All but 2 techs in my area are over 40, 3/4ths of them are over 50. SO.....that shows that in 10, 15, 20 years the shortage is only going to get MUCH worse. Our lead installer as well as myself are 25 and well, in no time we'll be the old timers around here.

    It will be interesting to see what the future holds. As for now I have no problem training a person I feel has the desire to learn the trade. Only time will tell.
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    I guess I could answer your question.....

    No, I wouldn't require NATE certification or use it as a tool. As you know, passing a test means you know something but not that you carryout correct proceedures. Additionally, a tech may be great but not certified as I am not since boss won't dish out the cash. He pays, I'll go pass the tests no problem.




    I will be doing some testing though. I am going to take the HVAC-Excellence exams just for the heck of it and because of cost vs. NATE. The HVAC-E.. tests are also much more readily available since there is only one time a year to take a NATE test around here and it's 110 miles away. As soon as the HVAC-E.. proctor gets the manuals for me I'll test. I thought about going without cracking a book but I'm not one for throwing away money unless it's on tools.

    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579
    Thanks for the reply "ideas". Actually I was just venting my frustrations over the entire hiring problem. I knew things were bleak but not this bleak.

    I just hired a guy with a two year degree in industrial electronics and will be training him on HVAC myself. The first thing I look for is attitude and customer presentation. Then technical knowledge and skill.

    NATE Certification is just one, but a useful evaluation tool.

    The HVAC Excellence exams are not as difficult as the NATE exams but they can also be useful. I have taken them all plus the RSES CM exam. The RSES CM exam has the greatest meaning to me.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    Originally posted by NormChris
    The RSES CM exam has the greatest meaning to me.


    I've heard they are the most difficult and in depth. Someday I'll take them but I need a few more years under my belt first.

    As far as the problem with hiring. I think a lot of it stems from high schools pushing students to get a four year degree in something and not educating thier students on the trades. I don't recall any teachers telling me I had to change my furnace filter. When I bought my first house (but I was only 18) I didn't know a furnace had a filter. Bad to say but true.

    Especially in shop class they should have people from the trades come in and talk and let students learn. We need to get to kids while still in high school and let them know that hey, this isn't a job, it's a career....for a bright future consider this....
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579
    That is another sad state of affairs. High school shop classes are a thing of the past. They have been replaced with "High Tech" classes. At least in the school districts around me.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Middletown, Ohio USA
    Posts
    571
    Hard work for low pay = technician shortage.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Yo.... Here!, I'm right here..
    Posts
    6,236

    Norm

    Welcome to the real world of hvac contracting.
    In todays world we hire for attitude and aptitude, train, and reimburse for schooling.
    The chance you are going to have a good mechanic walk in to apply is none. If so he probably has an attitude problem.

    Try offering your existing employees a nice bonus for brining in an applicant.

    Besides these guys (the good techs w/ a good attitude)already have good jobs, and their companies don't want to lose them.

    The general publics perception of anyone who works with his hands is that we are stupid, hence no funding for tech schools.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    forney texas
    Posts
    17,890
    I just took the NATE core and HP specialty, the results should arrive by mail any day now. Carrier is making it required for Factory Authorized Dealers, I will gladly let you know the results when I get them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579
    Originally posted by acmanko
    I just took the NATE core and HP specialty, the results should arrive by mail any day now. Carrier is making it required for Factory Authorized Dealers, I will gladly let you know the results when I get them.
    If you pass, you are hired. I can't even find a certified technician! I will have to start trying to lure qualified technicians away from our competitors.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,652
    Originally posted by NormChris
    Originally posted by acmanko
    I just took the NATE core and HP specialty, the results should arrive by mail any day now. Carrier is making it required for Factory Authorized Dealers, I will gladly let you know the results when I get them.
    If you pass, you are hired. I can't even find a certified technician! I will have to start trying to lure qualified technicians away from our competitors.


    Why don't you train one....I love training new guys.

    BTW.....I like the hiring away from other companies thing.....drives up the pay scale.
    There are 3 ways to do anything in life; Good, Fast, Slow: You can pick any 2.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    The Alamo
    Posts
    3,025
    The tech shortage is due to the fact that there is TOO MUCH work out there for companies to handle so they hire anyone with a pulse and label him a "tech". Usually when demand exceeds supply you have an increase in price, but not in hvacr. We just hire more unqualified people, trying to keep our costs down so we can remain competitive with other companies. Why pay a tech "x" when you can pay a "tech" "x-y" to do the same work. That is the thinking.

    Have you ever been to one of those business seminars? Mostly they concentrate on sales, salespeople and paying salespeople. Who wants to dedicate themselves to technical aspects of the trade when all the money is in sales?



    Read, read, read!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    forney texas
    Posts
    17,890
    Originally posted by acmanko
    I just took the NATE core and HP specialty, the results should arrive by mail any day now. Carrier is making it required for Factory Authorized Dealers, I will gladly let you know the results when I get them.
    Thanks for the offer, I have not recieved the results yet , they said two weeks and its now going on three, by the way where are you located.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event