June 22 is National HVAC Tech Day, which recognizes the service professionals who keep our homes and workplaces comfortable, our refrigerators cool and our ice frozen. The role of an HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) technician is an important one, and if you’re considering entering this profession, you may have wondered what employers look for when they’re hiring someone new.
We spoke to Scott Merritt, owner of Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning in Columbus, Ohio, to find out what he looks for when hiring a new HVAC tech. These three traits top his list.
- Computer Skills
HVAC systems are becoming increasingly complex with components that make them efficient and automated. Employers will want to hire a technician who is comfortable working with computers and software. In fact, the HVAC program at Fortis includes training in computerized diagnostics to install and repair today’s high-tech systems.
Since systems are becoming more complex, Merritt looks for techs who want to be life-long learners.
“School is step one,” he says. “We install mechanical technology, and it changes. We look for people who want to continue to learn.”
- Customer Service Skills
Part of being a successful HVAC technician is an ability to provide good customer service. This requires good communication skills so that you can explain complicated systems and procedures to customers who probably aren’t familiar with the equipment. Merritt looks for someone who is personable, professional, and honest.
“We are a residential HVAC contractor, so we are going into homes, talking to customers of all ages and personalities,” he says. “We are doctors of equipment, charging a professional rate. You must look and act professional. Our techs need to demonstrate confidence. They need to knock on the customer’s door and take a step back so they’re not intimidating. They need to be polite and listen to learn, not listen to speak.”
- A Good Attitude
Merritt says he looks for HVAC techs who are happy to show up to work. He visits the Fortis campus throughout the school year to speak, but he’s also observing while he’s there.
“I like to see if students are paying attention in class, sitting up front, and asking questions instead of the person who sits in the back of the room on their phone,” he explains. “HVAC is a serious profession You’re working on mechanical devices that can explode if they’re not installed or repaired correctly.”
Before he makes a hire, Merritt may call the instructor to get feedback on the candidate’s experience in school.
“I’m looking for excitement,” he says. “If you weren’t excited to be in school, you won’t be excited when you’re coming to work. I can teach skills—I can’t teach attitude.”
Do these traits sound like you? If you think you’d enjoy becoming an HVAC tech, Fortis can help you obtain the education you need. Visit our website for more information and to find an HVAC training program near you. Or, call (855) 436-7847 to speak with a representative today.