We hear it all the time: “It’s impossible to find good people in the plumbing trade these days. I always have to settle when hiring.”
While it’s true that finding qualified, motivated, eager technicians isn’t an easy task, it’s certainly not an impossible one. Here’s the biggest issue: Most owners expect the great employees to come to them. They choose inaction over action. I call this activity “turtle-ing”—going into a protective shell instead of staying out front and being proactive.
First things first, you should never be looking for people when you need them. Instead, you should be recruiting all year long—whether you need new people are not. Not a work day should go by when you don’t do something to help you find talented people. Even if you don’t have an immediate opening, you can always hang onto that person’s resume or keep him/her in mind when you do have an opening.
Next, you need to actually get out there and do some recruiting—and that means doing more than placing ads online or in the paper. Many communities and schools host career and job fairs. Network with the various trade schools in your market. Look for young folks straight out of trade school who don’t have any bad habits!
Here’s something you may not have considered, but is the best thing you can do: Hire people OUTSIDE of the plumbing industry. Find people who are eager, hardworking, charismatic, and looking for opportunity. Have them ride along with a senior tech for a while. If he gives the new person approval, send the new person to one of the many technical schools that exist today that offer condensed classes. When the person gets back, continue to have him do ride alongs. When your senior techs say he’s ready to go out on his own, you should have an excellent employee.
Finding great employees isn’t easy, but it’s certainly not the most difficult task. You simply have to avoid being a turtle. Stick your neck out and look around for your next superstar.