10 Tips for Recruiting Talented Candidates

Recruiting GRN

One of the areas where we hear companies are continuously challenged is recruiting quality people that have some experience with the HVAC industry and targeted product categories. It’s usually not too difficult to find people with specific skill sets. The challenge is finding people with a combination of the right skill sets.

And while recruitment is a challenge in many job classifications, especially warehousing and truck drivers, where HVAC distributors are competing with many other, non-HVAC industry competitors, and for manufacturers who are seeking people for skilled trades or manufacturing roles (frequently in small markets, the sales, support and management staff is where companies get, shall we say “frustrated” because once they exhaust  internal talent pools and networking contacts they then get overwhelmed with resumes from Indeed and LinkedIn that are not relevant (and hence lots of “paperwork” to wade through and time wasted.)

Recruiting “talent” from competitors, for many, is the desired approach, however, it too has risks.

The challenge becomes, how to recruit and why do people leave.

The why leave is important as better understanding this helps you potentially address issues within your company. Channel Marketing Group conducted research for GRN Coastal, a leading executive recruitment firm in the HVAC industry on this issue. GRN Coastal released a white paper on this topic last year.

Knowing finding people who can help HVAC manufacturers and distributors drive sales and profitability in 2023 is critical, I asked John Salvadore, Managing Partner of GRN Coastal, for his 10 Tips to Recruiting in 2023:

10 Tips to Recruiting in 2023

Many of the candidates we place have great reasons to leave the company they are employed with.  The list is long. The reason they leave typically becomes a key factor in what company they select moving forward. As we look out into 2023, we see a few emerging themes which we feel will become the new normal of recruitment. The top 10 items below are some tips to be aware of that can help you secure top talent in 2023.

  1. Financial: Your financial offer is always going to be important, but to secure the top talent in the marketplace you need to be very competitive. Base salary, sign on bonus, the make up of how a bonus is obtained, needs to be very clearly articulated to a much savvier candidate pool which has choices.
  2. Benefits: No one wants to wait to get on your plan thus you need a plan to bridge the time gap , some companies will pay cobra and others will pay ongoing coverage for a few months of a spouse as a expense if necessary, don’t put the burden on the candidate, have a plan..
  3. Culture and Brand: This one is super important, candidates want to work for great companies, thus your brand is always on display from the minute the candidate walks in the door. Candidates make decisions on where they want to work based on what they see, who they speak to and how the interview process is run. Make sure candidates walk out of your building with something they can take home to make the opportunity real to their family. Most offers are turned down not by the candidate but by someone at home talking them out of it.
  4. My boss: Does your leadership get involved with the interview process? They should. Candidates make decisions on who they foresee working with, what does that relationship look like, how does it feel.
  5. Location of job (WHERE YOU WORK): We see hybrid work continuing to be a popular option that candidates seek. 100% remote is also very desirable and increases your selection pool greatly. It is about trust.
  6. Location drives need for flexibility: If you have a physical location, not near a major metro area, with not a lot of competitors in the area, your available talent pool is going to be very thin. Companies must have vision and hire the best available talent and invest in some sort of internal training or risk having the role open for a longer period. Training needs to become a area of concentration in order to be able to grow local talent.
  7. Leadership: Has to be visible in the interview process and be accessible to the astute candidate that wants to hear company strategy and vision, especially on higher level, more expensive candidates.
  8. Offer stage: Put a date on your offer in which it expires or risk it getting shopped by the candidate whose talent is in demand in your market. Be aware of “fear of change or fear of the unknown” creeping into this stage. If they need too much time to decide, they may not be as committed to change as initially thought. Make sure the candidate has had all their questions answered pre-offer, let them get to know your company on the inside.
  9. Counteroffer: Be prepared and have a plan, and your counter shouldn’t be just about the money, focus on your company, the candidates career path and get the spouse involved in discussions.
  10. Retainment: Have 30-60-90 day plans in place with all new hires. Have check inss every six months to discuss their happiness in their role and the company. Have training alternatives and opportunities available to promote career advancements. You will need to have a plan in place for every employee by department head.

Other insights we are seeing include:

  • Companies that are reluctant to make decisions lose the best candidates.
  • It takes reaching out to many more potential candidates to find good candidates.
  • It is common to reach out to 200 plus candidates to reach the select candidates.
  • Reaching great candidates takes several methods and passes to initiate a conversation.
  • There must be compelling reasons to get potential candidates interested in your positions.
  • Candidates that apply because they have similar keywords to the postings are often not a good fit when vetted.
  • Candidates seem interested in a position initially but…. Is this Career Cushioning or is it fear of change when reality comes into play?
  • Companies are tentative even when a position is vital to their success, putting sometimes undo pressure on those having to cover that candidates’ contributions.
  • We need feedback from clients and candidates more often now as things change during our process.
  • Good candidates once interested in a job change and have updated their resume are now looking at many options.
  • It may take a sign on bonus to hire the best… again the candidates have options and companies need to stand out.

2023 will continue to be a candidate driven market, candidates will continue to have the power of choice. You must look at the interview process differently. It has shifted from is the candidate worthy and qualified to work for us to…… is the company worthy of having the top talent select you from many options. This philosophy will shift interview pressure more onto the employer, be prepared to fight the war on talent in 2023.


While we’re seeing announcements about layoffs from large companies, the roles seem to be tech, HR / recruiting, tech sales and other corporate support functions. We haven’t heard / seen about much of anything in the HVAC industry.  But, some things to consider:

  • The layoffs in some of these tech industries represents opportunity for tech people with different skill sets than many IT people in the HVAC industry – eCommerce, analytics, database, etc. An HR skill is an HR skill. Digital marketing skills are transferrable (but recognize, for someone who was in a tech company they were probably working with more tools that most HVAC distributors / manufacturers are away of … a good thing.) Salespeople may be viable.
  • As John mentioned, remote can work, especially for inside sales / customer service, digital marketing, quotations specialists. Outside sales and regional management are used to being remote.
  • DEI is important. Not necessarily for intentionally hiring for DEI but for broadening talent pools and enhancing culture within a company. Because they don’t think and look like you doesn’t mean they can’t do the job equally, if not better, than you. The most successful companies want diversification of thought process. This has been one of the hallmarks of SESCO Lighting, a leading lighting representative agency. They intentionally look to hire different thought processes (click here to read the first part of a recent interview we had with John Palk, president of SESCO, and here for part two where he gets into interviewing tips.)

If you are focused on driving growth in 2023 and beyond, in the words of a mentor, “you need the right people on the bus.” You need talent. If you think a recruiter can help, one of the best in the HVAC industry is GRN Coastal. Give them a call.


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