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November 15, 2018

 

Use Your Skills To Nail Your Next HVAC Job Interview

Employers now expect prospective HVAC techs to demonstrate their skills as part of the job interview process.

While experts predict the HVAC job market will grow by 15% over the next few years, HVAC pros still have to find a way to stand out from the crowd when looking for a job. Increasingly, companies choose their employees through skill-based selection processes. Part of the reason for this? Companies have started using social media to help grow their presence online, and that presence depends on feedback from customers. With this interconnectedness, HVAC employers need staff who can deliver excellent customer service and do their jobs well. Fear of poor feedback has led to the growth of the skill-based application and interview. How can you nail your next application in such an environment?

Get Your Resume Skilled Up

Resumes are a contentious issue, and there are no end of “experts” out there willing to give you advice about them. For most HVAC jobs, and indeed most positions in general, employers want to know what you can do first, then see the evidence about where you developed those skills after. Classical resumes put a focus on what positions you held and for how long. The modern approach concerns what you got out of your time in previous roles. In terms of resume layout, the world is your oyster, the key thing is to ensure that whatever you pick is clear and makes the most out of everything you bring to the table. Use a template, and you can put your focus on what goes in it (instead of the layout).

Resume Basics

Look at the job description and personal specifications (if provided) and extract the most important skills looked for. Once you’ve done this, pick the 4 or 5 skills in which you have the most strength. Focus on these by producing a short paragraph about each, using the name of that skill as a heading. Briefly state how you’ve acquired that skill (for example, training course or practical experience), then state how you have used it to make a positive impact in the past.

Focus On The Skills, Not The History

Don’t totally abandon your job and education history, but put less of the focus on the positions held and courses completed, and more on the skills acquired therein. You can also include a very short bullet point section listing the other skills you possess. Remember to give special attention to any that match the stated requirements of the position.

Get Ready For Your Interview

In the past, the focus of an interview very much centered on the employer getting to know the prospective employee as a person, and painting a picture of their past experiences. While this remains important in terms of organizational fit, it has some serious drawbacks. Modern employers increasingly want to see that you can do the job in question as part of the interview. Skill-based recruitment has served as the mainstay of many forms of employment for years (teachers, for example, often get asked to teach a sample lesson) but did not traditionally factor into HVAC interviews. First and foremost, you need to go into an interview prepared to get your hands dirty while delivering answers that focus on practicalities and positive outcomes.

Tackling The Skills Of The Trade

Look online for examples of the kinds of questions employers may ask. Consider the possibility that you might face an oral version of your HVAC exams. Do not be shocked if you are asked very technical or even trick questions. Do not demonstrate any hesitation if someone asks you to fix a problem there and then. Employers may present you with a broken system that has an issue. Employers look for people with a can-do attitude. Many competing recruits will look over a system and simply explain what they’d do, but you shouldn’t stop there. Instead, ask for (or produce) tools and start right in.

The Soft Skills

Remember that HVAC is a customer-facing industry. Some employers can take an entirely different tack than what we’ve described above. Some may ask very little about practical skills and far more about how you deal with clients. Come prepared to tackle this subject. Remember; put the customer first. Talk about diffusing tense situations, turning negatives into positives, and using any other relevant training you have had (such as neurolinguistics programming).

Conclusion

While there are currently many HVAC jobs available, there is also increased competition for them. You need to clearly show employers not just that you have qualifications and experience, but that you have the specific skills they need. Putting a focus on what you can do instead of where you’ve worked helps you stand out from the crowd.

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