How to Develop a Highly Effective Appliance Technician Training Program

Lay the foundation of your program with these strategies for selecting new technicians.

In developing a comprehensive technician training program for your service company. Let's start with a basic question: Should you consider training “green” techs? Consider: Despite the growing number of certified service staff in the United States, the role of the appliance and HVAV/R service technician remains a very open field. The demands on appliance and HVAV/R service technician staff to be knowledgeable and efficient have steadily increased. In addition, there has been a decline in the number of accredited programs over recent years. The culmination of these issues has resulted in a open market throughout the country for trained appliance and HVAV/R service technician. This shortage of trained service staff is in sharp contrast to the overall job market.

How To Become An Appliance Technician

This staffing shortage has posed a significant problem for both large and small service companys. While some company adopt an “experienced staff only apply” stance, this position has become more difficult to maintain in recent years. While this may have been satisfactory in years past, the current job market calls for a different kind of strategy: hire appliance and HVAV/R service technician for aptitude not experience. However, this requires two things: a plan to identify applicants who are most likely to fit the demanding role, and a template for training new hires.

Who is the ideal tech trainee?

When it comes to recruiting service technicial staff, the first question is: How do you attract the ideal candidates? Before you interview, it is important to understand the qualities that will make the best fit. While the market is flooded with talent, hiring solely on the basis of intellect is a likely setup for disappointment. With so many candidates to choose from, how does one narrow the search? It's certainly not a perfect science, but we have found the following key characteristics are very important considerations to identify the ideal technician trainee:

■ Job history and work-related references: We've heard the saying often, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” When reviewing a resume, it is wise to avoid applicants with a history of “job hopping.” Frequent job changers rarely have the focus to remain in their role as a technician long enough to become truly effective. While it is easy to be taken in by an applicant's winning personality (after all, almost everyone is on their best behavior in a job interview), hiring someone with a spotty employment record places the practice at risk of forfeiting a significant investment. Taking the time to check several work references can prevent a costly mistake.

■ Customer service experience: While it may seem surprising, we find that applicants with a strong history in customer service industries, are quick to understand the “customers.” As a result, they have a clear understanding of how to treat your costomers in a competitive service market. Teaching technicial skills is a simple prospect in comparison to understanding this concept and changing someone's cultural outlook, in typical customer service environment.  We have also found that many of these applicants simply haven't yet found their ideal career path, and are motivated to invest in a position where it is possible to obtain professional credentials through on the job training. Finally, industry-leading companies often make significant investments in corporate customer service training programs. New employees from these companies often have fresh ideas and perspective in appliance and HVAV/R as service technician.

■ College graduates: Even though the importance of solid work history and references has been emphasized, we have also had success hiring recent college graduates. While trusting our gut on these applicants is a more risky hiring strategy than relying on our “past performance” criteria, we've been rewarded with some outstanding hires. Recent college graduates are often saddled with student loans, discouraged by the lack of job prospects, and are anxious to become productive in a professional career. Despite the lack of work history, this tradeoff may be worth the opportunity of hiring someone with a demonstrated, aptitude for learning and focus on a career path. In addition, we find they are not intimidated by the self study and commitment required, and are usually undaunted by the thought of taking certification exams. One caveat to consider is that employees with minimal work experience often require a stronger level of mentoring after training.

■ Aptitude: Administer the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Testto all candidates who are being considered for a position through distance learning, a good examitor is Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam – Distance Learner. While giving the greatest weight to customer service skills, that aptitude is a very important consideration with new hires. That said, do not wouldn't rule out an applicant with a low average score who has an outstanding presentation and work history. While there is no aptitude test that can perfectly predict the ability to learn, we have found this test is generally a strong indicator of a prospective employee's aptitude. It can also give valuable insight in the employee's learning style.

Don't overlook internal resources

Before beginning an outside search, consider internal resources first. Staff in non-service positions who have outstanding work records are often excellent choices for technicians. They understand the culture. think about delighting of promote from within, and reward outstanding staff with opportunity.

Reward staff for their contribution

We have received many excellent leads for new hires from our own staff. It's not uncommon for our staff to carry their enthusiasm for their careers to others. When a trusted employee makes a recommendation, we listen. We interview any viable prospect that was referred by our employees. We also believe in incentivizing our staff for their interest in developing your companys servicing team with a “finder's” bonus.

Starting a training program on the right foot begins with an investment in the team. Hiring the right trainee, one who demonstrates an interest in customer care, enthusiasm for a career opportunity, and a passion for learning, will set the stage for a successful training program.

Learning Appliance Repair is worth your time