Seeing Is Believing

Open your doors to interested people

Virtually every trade contractor I know tells me that finding qualified help is one of their biggest problems, especially technicians who are either experienced or trainable. They put help-wanted ads in all the right places, attend career day events, offer recruitment bonuses, even put recruitment messages on their service vehicles. Still, it is a universal lament among the trades that the old cliché, “good help is hard to find,” holds true for their field more than most others.

If you’re one of those contractors searching for hard-to-find talent, consider another option. When you discover someone interested in one of your jobs, give them the royal red-carpet treatment by inviting them to visit your place of business. Let them spend a few hours watching the way you operate. You may even want to consider paying them a few bucks to spend a day as a helper making service calls with one of your top technicians.

The simple fact of the matter is that, except for people who grew up in a trade family and worked part-time in the business, the average person doesn’t have a clue how these businesses operate. When they have a problem they pick up the phone and sometime later a service vehicle shows up at their door. How that happens never crosses their mind. Many people would find it fascinating to observe the interaction among customer service staff, dispatchers, technicians and others who put the “service” in a service business.

Some progressive contractors hold open houses from time to time in which they invite students and other interested persons to observe their business in action, usually serving refreshments as part of the event. This, too, is a great idea for attracting potential recruits.

However, open houses demand a lot of organization and probably have to be coordinated with schools or other institutions to attract a large enough group. My message here is you don’t have to make the open house concept complicated. Get ready to strike while the proverbial iron is hot when you encounter individuals expressing interest in your trade. Show them around, explain your training procedures and what they need to learn to advance in trade skills and income.

There is nothing like personal experience to gain a positive impression. Seeing is believing.