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The Elusive Search: Finding Quality Employees

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Twenty years ago, while attending a construction conference, I heard one of the speakers discuss the declining trend of available construction work-power.  At the time, I had no problem finding employees. I dismissed the speaker’s predictions as perhaps a regional crisis, and a touch of “the sky is falling.”  I was completely wrong.  The latest statistics predict an HVAC industry talent shortage of over 138,000 employees by the year 2022!  In my opinion, I think this number is conservative.  

So, as HVAC contractors, how do we attract employees to our industry? 

Retain Existing Talent: 

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “If they don’t wanna work for you, nobody’s gonna stop ‘em.”  As owners and manufacturers, we must constantly look at benefit packages, perks, training, and a workplace environment which causes the employee to ask, “Why would I ever want to leave?” 

Social Media: 

This resource can be as broad and diverse as you allow it to be.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Monster, etc. provide a huge stage to promote your company along with a large audience of potential employees.  These resources seem to appeal to the younger generation.  Also, consider adding a “Hiring” page to your company website. 

Current Employees: 

Announce to your existing employees that you are hiring.  They have a vested interest in inviting the “right fit,” and typically know the work ethic of anyone they recruit.  

Community Colleges: 

Local community colleges with an HVAC curriculum are a valuable resource for talent.  Most community colleges have intern programs that work with local businesses.  These recruits have already chosen to make a career in the HVAC industry. 


The U.S. Department of Labor has a Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) www.dol/vets/hire, complete with an employer’s toolkit to get started.  Many veterans already have training in HVAC. 

Staffing Agencies: 

Staffing agencies do a great job doing the basic “vetting” (drug tests, background checks, etc.).  Be sure to interview staffing agency recruits to verify their actual experience and abilities. 

Belong to ACCA: 

Perhaps the most valuable resource for finding talent is the information you receive when interacting with other contractors.  Attending the IE3 Show will surround you with a diverse group of contractors and learning labs that allow you to make informed decisions on finding recruits.  Also, keep an eye out for ACCA’s Workforce Development Program.  This is a great time to be a member of ACCA! 

Hopefully this article will serve as a forum for other methods of finding new talent.  Please share your thoughts and any recruitment strategies that either worked, or did not work for you. 

Lanny Huffman
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Posted In: ACCA Now, Management

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