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June 6, 2020

 

6 HVAC Interview Questions You Should Know How to Answer

Whether you're the interviewer or the interviewee, you need to come prepared to your next HVAC job interview. Take a look at these key HVAC interview questions.

No matter which side of the desk you find yourself on, you’ll get more out of the HVAC interview process with some advanced preparation. Interviewers need to know which questions to ask potential HVAC technicians, and how to interpret the answers they give back. Meanwhile, preparation helps job seekers make the best possible impression, increasing their chances of scoring that dream HVAC job.

You can never prepare for every single question, but practicing ahead of time can ease your nerves and help you speak more eloquently. As a candidate, you might even find it useful to write out answers ahead of time (or to practice speaking them aloud).

Below we’ve compiled some sample HVAC interview questions, as well as some general advice on what to expect once the interaction begins. Read on!

What types of questions get asked in an HVAC interview?

An HVAC interview typically consists of two parts. First, the interviewer asks questions to determine whether the candidate would fit the company’s culture. Second, the interviewer delves into the candidate’s experience, training, and knowledge in order to determine whether their skills match the requirements of the open position. Some interviews will even have a third, skills-based component, in which the candidate must demonstrate their know-how in some sort of mock HVAC repair. (As a candidate, you can always ask the employer what the interview will entail ahead of time.)

It can be easy to prioritize technical skills/questions over interpersonal skills/questions, but in an interview, both types of questions carry equal importance. After all, even the most technically skilled workers make poor employees if they lack good communication and interpersonal skills. Remember, most HVAC workers interact with customers on a daily basis. Many employers have become more willing to train a personable employee who lacks technical skills instead of a technical maestro who lacks interpersonal skills (it’s easier to evolve a skill set than a personality, after all).

Sample Interpersonal Questions

1. Tell me about yourself and your career so far.

Most candidates dread open-ended questions like this one. Interviewers use these questions to see how you react and communicate on the spot, so you don’t want to fumble and flounder for an answer when something like this comes up. If you’ve got a prepared response to a prompt like this, you’ll instantly make a good first impression.

Treat the question like a politician would; use it as a chance to talk about what you want to talk about. The interviewer already knows the basic facts listed on your resume, so this question mostly reveals your attitude and outlook. Talk about your strengths and highlight past triumphs. Do not bad mouth former employers or complain about (or even mention) how you once got fired.  

2. Tell me about a time you turned an unhappy client into a satisfied client.

Interviewers ask this question to get a feel for your customer service skills. Satisfied HVAC clients become repeat clients, and technicians hold the all the keys to creating customer satisfaction. Anyone with the right skills can fix an HVAC system, but it takes a special kind of person to make a client feel heard and at ease. 

Don’t have customer experience in HVAC yet? Don’t worry; in this case, your interviewer should not (and likely will not) ask this particular question. However, you should prepare an answer anyway. Think of some other past work experience that might impress them. Again, this is more about attitude than HVAC smarts.

Sample Technical Questions

3. Tell me about the tools of the trade.

How you answer this question will immediately tell the interviewer whether or not you’ve fudged your credentials. You should have the ability to easily rattle off the tools found in an HVAC truck if you have any kind of HVAC background. 

The interviewer may also hand you a tool, such as a multi-meter, and ask you to explain how it might be used during an HVAC job. You can clarify with the interviewer about whether he or she would like a layman’s explanation or a technical explanation. The ability to speak in layman’s terms comes in handy when talking to clients, but giving a technical explanation can show the depth of your knowledge. When in doubt, give both!

4. How would you advise a client with environmental or energy concerns?

This question gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of your industry knowledge, as well as reiterate your customer service skills. Certain clients may want to know how to reduce energy costs with various HVAC models. They could also have concerns about the environmental impact of refrigerants. What do you know about these hot topics? Can you address them with tact? This issue sits dangerously adjacent to politics, so you’ll need to find a way to talk eloquently about it without offending potential customers. Through the course of your career you’ll serve customers of every possible political persuasion, so you’ll need to tackle topics like this one without ruffling any feathers.

5. What does BTU/CAV/AHU mean? 

The HVAC industry uses many different acronyms. Do you know what common ones stand for and the concepts they represent? Your interviewer wants you to, and so do clients. Use this question as an opportunity to highlight your technical knowledge and to confirm your experience level. 

6. Here’s a scenario. How do you approach it?

The interviewer might give you a job scenario and ask you to walk him or her through the steps you take from start to finish. How do you evaluate the problem? What questions do you ask the homeowner? What tools do you use? What safety precautions do you take? How do you clean up before you leave? How do you ensure the client feels satisfied? Do you need to follow up at a later date?

Take the time to demonstrate you know how to do a thorough and mindful job while proudly representing the company.

Final Word

Of course, an infinite number of questions could come up during the HVAC interview process. As the interviewer, choose questions that pertain to the role and your client base. As the candidate, work out your answers to these questions in advance. Good luck!