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5 Hiring Mistakes Field Service Business Owners Make

EJ B,

Apr 3, 2018 @ 4:00PM 4 minute read

So, business is booming and you’re looking to grow your team? That’s great news!

But don’t stop to celebrate just yet.

While having so much work you need to expand your team is certainly a worthy achievement, you’ll soon discover (or, more likely, already have) that hiring field service technicians comes with a whole new set of challenges.

If you’re having a hard time finding and hiring talented technicians, you’re not the only one. According to a survey from the Service Council, 32% of field service businesses are grappling with a talent shortage – and that statistic is expected to rise to 71% over the next decade.

A survey by Aberdeen found that only 59% of service businesses were meeting their employee turnover goals. That means the other 41% are struggling to hang onto their field service technicians.

The unfortunate lesson here? Hiring great people – and keeping them on board – can be hard enough without shooting yourself in the foot.

If you want to hire talented techs who will stick around and perform up to your standard, avoid the common hiring mistakes discussed below.

5 Mistakes that Kill Your Chances of Hiring Great Field Service Techs

1. Hiring someone just because they’re family

It’s one thing to hire your family member if they’re a talented professional in your field. It’s something else entirely to hire a relative solely because they’re related to you.

Whether they’re your second cousin, sibling, or in-law, hiring family members can complicate your workplace situation and strain your relationship in ways you might not expect.

For instance, family members might feel entitled to special privileges, like the best shifts or more frequent raises. This sense of entitlement can create tension among the team and resentment from your other employees.

Another concern is that, if you hire a family member who turns out to be under-qualified or a poor fit for your business, firing or reprimanding them can lead to a ton of avoidable drama. As a general rule, you should only hire people who you would be willing to fire if necessary.

If you do decide to hire a relative despite these risks, set clear expectations from day one.  Communicate that their job security is dependent entirely on their performance and has nothing to do with their blood relation to you.

2. Using a generic job description

Using a generic job description

If you don’t clearly explain the job requirements and duties in your listing, you won’t attract the right type of candidates.

So, instead of copying and pasting a generic job description, take the time to think about what skills are necessities vs. which are simply nice to have. This will help you be as specific as possible when outlining desired experience, knowledge, and qualifications.

If you want to go a step further, consider that adding a personal touch is more likely to resonate with potential candidates and get top field techs excited to work with you. You should include a few details about your business and the types of customers you serve. This will encourage top candidates to apply as well as incentivize them to put more effort into their applications, so you get a better sense of what they have to offer.

3. Skipping over the technical test

Just because a job candidate looks great on paper, doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re talking about. Sooner or later you’ll run into a candidate that has trouble applying their knowledge in practice or pads their resume with skills they don’t actually have.

The good news is that a simple written or on-site skills test can give you a clear picture of someone’s actual skill set and abilities.

A technical test can also help you narrow down the pool of applicants in two ways: only those who are serious about working for you will bother to take the test and the results will allow you to identify the most qualified applicant.

This is a crucial part of the hiring process for field technicians, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to provide on-the-job training before sending a new technician out on their first job.

4. Focusing only on technical skills

Focusing only on technical skills

Technical know-how and experience are likely at the top of your wish list for new field service techs. But here’s the thing: with the right candidate, technical skills can be taught and improved with time. However, someone’s personality traits, soft skills, and willingness to learn are unlikely to change.

So, if you have the time to train and mentor a novice technician, you should weigh their hard skills (like industry knowledge and specific technical abilities) against their soft skills (like communication, empathy, and ability to think on their feet). Most importantly, never ignore red flags because you’re smitten with a candidate’s skill set.

Remember, whoever you end up hiring is going to represent your business when interacting with clients. The way they handle themselves, the level of service they provide, and the quality of their work will all reflect directly on your business and your livelihood.

5. Overlooking the value of culture fit

Culture fit is one of the most important indicators of employee satisfaction and loyalty.

And since recruiting technicians can be quite time consuming, the longer a new hire stays with your business, the better your return on investment.

Not to mention that it can be difficult for everyone if you hire technicians who clash with your existing team members. Even if your techs typically work independently, it’s crucial that their approach and work ethic align with your expectations. Someone who respects their coworkers is more likely to stick around for the long haul, even if your business is going through a rough patch or dealing with an unexpected rush.

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