New Hire Search Gone Wrong

If you’re reading this you know that applicants are hard to come by these days, whether you’re looking for HVAC technicians, installers, or sales team members.

I have a new client that owns an HVAC company in south Texas. He’s hoping to add another location in the next 6 months…

He posted a job ad for an HVAC tech and installer a few weeks ago and only received 5 applicants in 7 days…and sadly, not a single one of them was even close to being qualified, even though his job ad clearly stated ALL of the requirements that he was looking for. 

He called me and had serious doubt in his voice about the opportunities to hire any good people, and he had no idea what to do. More specifically, he wanted to know if he should sponsor the job and/or where he should spend money. Because clearly what he was doing wasn’t working.

Luckily, this just happened to be the perfect situation for me to introduce the first stage of our sourcing roadmap…

So, how do you source good candidates? 

Like it or not, sourcing job applicants is just like content marketing.

Content marketing is a way to market a product or service. You do this by creating content, text, blog posts, videos, etc, that you put out into search engines. The hope is that the valuable content will attract people to your website, usually to your blog. 

If you’re an owner or manager, you have to view hiring as content marketing. If you refuse to adjust your approach, you’re going to be making the same mistake many contractors make and will constantly struggle to grow your business with solid A and B players.

It’s likely the reason that you’re struggling to get applicants – it’s not the economy or government paychecks or even lack of talent.

Unfortunately, I see contractors making the same 4 mistakes over and over again. Many years ago, when applicants were plentiful, these mistakes weren’t a huge deal. There were enough applicants out there that most people didn’t even notice they were having this problem.

Now that the market has tightened up, talent is harder to find, skilled labor is very tough, and many are struggling to get enough qualified applicants.

Here are 4 things you need to know:

(1) Stop using old job descriptions.

This means grabbing and copying a current job description or an old one you previously posted. You slap it together and throw it out on the job boards as quickly as possible.

(2) What do you really need? 

Instead of using a requisition form or a job description to create a giant list of demands focused on WHAT the manager wants, you should focus on WHO the manager wants, and find a target employee that you’d like to clone.

(3) Give the job seeker what they want

When you make the ad all about requirements, duties, and qualifications, it’s just full of demands. It does nothing to convince the applicant to work for you. I refer to it as a relationship bank account: In order to get anything out of it (in this case, a job applicant) you have to first put into it. State what you have to offer and how you’re different from your competitors.

(4) Screening questions are like an entry gate that needs a code. 

Doing it the right way means you need screening questions in place to make sure you have the best candidates at the top of your list, which enables you to get to them quickly before they get hired by someone else.

Without screening questions, getting the most qualified people will be more difficult. There’s only so much a resume or an interview will show.

But chances are, if you’re making the first 3 mistakes, this last one isn’t a big deal because your applicant flow is already dismal.

In many of the jobs we review with contractors, the job ad was targeting the wrong people in the wrong vertical market. 

What we find is the job ad contains a giant list of requirements. By the time the applicant was done reading the ad, the good technicians were scared away. The long list caused the qualified to feel completely unqualified. 

So what happens is the only people who apply are totally unqualified. They either don’t care about being unqualified, or they see the pay as a huge upgrade with their lack of qualifications. And this is how you waste time and effort.  

So in summary, you should fix these things before you start (in other words, make the ad better) and have only 3 job screening questions in place. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually review and look at every single resume. With only 5 applicants, this might not be a big deal, but imagine if you get 40 or 50. You will be wasting precious days and miss out on the best candidates because they will have already moved on.

So in order to generate 20x more qualified applicants:

  • Identify the type of person you should hire.
    I call this the target job seeker…or who you want to clone.
  • Create a short list of the real functional requirements.
    A functional requirement is what this person will be doing on a daily basis and what it takes to be effective at the job. This doesn’t include made-up requirements like other training and certain numbers of years’ experience in a certain job title.

    Functional requirements would be stuff like being good with management field software, the ability to organize routines, or having skills using certain computer programs.
  • Find keywords that the target job seeker would actually be searching for.
    For example, an HVAC apprentice hasn’t decided to become an experienced technician, and they wouldn’t be searching using that term.
  • Focus on what the target job seeker would find appealing.
    For technicians and installers, they like to hear more about what their experience would be like on a day-to-day basis.
  • Write an ad that’s 90% about selling the job to the target job seeker.
  • Create 10 job questions that allow you to…
    Rank the applicants based on who’s most qualified.
    Filter out people who aren’t a great fit.
    Narrow down the applicant pool without actually looking at resumes/applications.

Impact on Applicant Flow

Remember, the distinction and difference can be great…generate 5 applicants in 7 days of your job being live, which is usually the case…


By following these steps, generate 65 applicants in the same number of days. If done correctly you can be well over 100 applications depending on the job! That’s 20x more than what usually takes place!

Here’s the kicker…

By doing these things you don’t have to spend any extra money.

And, you don’t have to go and sponsor the job on Indeed or anything like that.

More importantly…exercising these steps, half of your applicants will actually be qualified to do the job and its functional requirements. 

We’re here to help…

Do not rush to get the job live!

If you do it wrong, you’re not going to get the kind of applicants you need anyway. You’ll cause unnecessary frustration for yourself and your managers when you’re having to fix it after weeks of getting no applicants! You have to nail down the content part before you start marketing. 

The effort you put in at the front end will be more than worth it in the end.

Reach out to me for any questions or help with your employment needs!

Paul Vishnesky
Hire Dimensions, Inc.