Hiring Humans Requires Human Interaction

HumanInteractionBy John Burwell, Jr., Service and Sales Coach

I recently had a great conversation with a plumbing/heating contractor about hiring. Let’s face it, this is not an unusual conversation and for most contractors recruiting and hiring is a never ending process.

I know many of you have a standard hiring process that may include some sort of “personality test” that is graded, categorized, and presents a likelihood of success and fit.  These are great tools and a great starting point when considering whether a candidate is a good fit for your team. And the process does not end there.

We are in a people business. Because interacting with customers is at the core of what is expected of a service technician, human interaction is also at the core of our hiring process.

3 Human Interactions To Add To Your Process


Phone conversation

Having the initial conversation on the phone allows them to be a little more relaxed so they will open up and allows for me to really listen. I am not sitting in front of them making them nervous. I’m listening for their ability to explain themselves, their degree of confidence, and their enthusiasm, attitude, and energy.

3  key questions
  1. Why Peterson Plumbing and why now?
  2. Tell me about your background in the industry?
  3. How much are you worth a year?


Onsite meeting

Have them come into the shop and meet them in person. This face to face human interaction tells you the following:

Appearance. Is this a person you want representing your company and will your customers feel comfortable with them in their home?


Dependability. Did they arrive for the appointment early, right on time, or late. Late can happen, how they handle it is where the true human side come in to play.


Pride and Cleanliness. All candidates are shown into our conference room to fill out an application. I introduce myself and tell them to let me know when they are done. I then go to the parking lot to check the cleanliness of their vehicle inside and out. This gives me an idea of how they may keep their work truck, work area, and the quality of workmanship.


Ride Along

I have all candidates do a ride along for at least ½ a day with one of our service technicians. This allows my guys to play a part in the hiring process. It allows the candidate to ask questions they may not ask me and to get a firsthand perspective from someone who is doing what they will be doing. At the end of the ride along I meet with the candidate to answer any other questions and get their thoughts on the ride along. I then follow up with our team member to get his thoughts.

These three human interactions help us get to know the person a little better and increases the chances of hiring someone who will build successful relationships with our customers.

Please share your thoughts, not only because I am interested in what you think and do, it will help our readers as well. Thank you!

  • Don

    Love the part about going out to their car to see if it is clean or not! Great Tip.

  • Kenny, I have our Ops manager, HR manager, and service manager do the initial interviews, then par the candidates down to two or three. We order background checks on these finalists, have them take a profile access test, and have them do a drug test. THEN I will sit in on the second interview and ask my questions. Then the management team and myself decide together which candidate we should hire. This has worked pretty well.