15 Best practices for hiring better

Feb. 15, 2018
Few plumbers recruit well, yet almost every plumber needs new recruits. Here are 15 best practices to help improve your recruiting.

Few plumbers recruit well, yet almost every plumber needs new recruits. Here are 15 best practices to help improve your recruiting.

1. Employee Recruiting Brochure

It is the rare contractor who uses an employee recruiting brochure. This is basic. The brochure should identify all of the benefits of working for your company. Do you provide tools? Training? Holidays with pay? Vacation? Health benefits?

It should position your company. What is your mission? Vision? Values? What makes your company stand apart from your competitors? How do you support your community?

Include pictures of employees on the job and solicit quotes from them. Quote them talking about their goals and dreams. Quote them talking about what they like to do in their spare time. Quote them talking about why they like your company. Quote them stating why the work they do is important and how they make a difference.

2. Values Based Interview Questions

Have you identified a set of shared values for your business? If not, you should. Think about the values you want your employees to exemplify. Do you want them to be honest, to care about the customer, to have a true service mentality, to go the extra yard, to be positive, and so on? Think how someone behaves when he or she possesses each value. Write questions you will ask in interviews that identifies whether a person behaves consistent with the values you seek.

3. Create Recruiting Videos

Video is rapidly surpassing (if it has not already surpassed) the printed word as a way of delivering content over the Internet. Accordingly, you should have a recruiting video. It should be short, fast, and watchable by millennials with attention deficits. A recruiting does not need to be slick. In fact, it can be better if it’s not. Instead, it should show your team in action, show smiling happy humans, and convey a sense of your mission.

4. Build a Technician Lounge

No one recruits like college football programs. They furiously compete for the best talent each year. One of the ways they compete is with facilities. The facilities of most plumbing companies leave plenty to be desired from an employee attractiveness perspective. Make them stand out by carving off a room to be a technician lounge. Give it comfortable seating. Include a place where field service personnel can complete paperwork while watching TV. Give away free snacks and soft drinks. Install a video game console. Add a foosball table, ping pong table, etc.  Like college football, a superior facility will give you an edge.

5. Define Your Hiring Process

More times than you think, a great prospective employee tries to join your company, but gets lost when the ball is dropped along the way. Define a process you will follow when someone applies for a position with your company. What is the next step and the one after that? Who is involved? What is the follow up? What happens when you find someone you want to hire right now? Later? Never?

6. Recruit Everywhere

You may recruit using a job board like Indeed or Monster. Make sure you post when you are hiring on your website, on your trucks, in your direct mail and other advertising. Prepare a short recruiting flyer that can be handed to your customers (you never know who your customers might know) with customer appropriate information about who you are looking to bring on board. Recruit in your on-hold phone messages.

7. Recruit from Craig’s List

Look under plumbing services on Craig’s List. Chances are that small one and two truck contractors can be found. Call them and see if you can hire them. Many will be struggling and might welcome a rescue from self-employment. Pay them a percentage of all of the work you get from their customer list for a period of time, plus what you pay your plumbers.

Many contractors note how difficult it is to find people who can pass a drug test today. Aside from the sad commentary on society, meet this challenge head on.

8. Use Social Media

Your social media pages, personal and business, are excellent ways to recruit. Do not overlook the potential to post positions on local community pages.

9. Keep on the Lookout in Your Daily Interactions

Prepare recruiting business cards that are short, sweet, and focused on opportunity. When you engage with someone during the course of the day who you think might make an excellent plumber, CSR, and so on, hand out a recruiting card and suggest the person call you at an appropriate time.

10. Recruit Spouses

Do not overlook the husbands and wives of your target employees. Mail information to them about what your company believes, your benefits, etc. Send them thank you notes with a gift card when you hire a spouse. Winning a spouse’s support will go a long way toward successfully recruiting a new hire and retaining the person in the future.

11. Promote Drug-Free Requirements

Many contractors note how difficult it is to find people who can pass a drug test today. Aside from the sad commentary on society, meet this challenge head on. Advertise, clearly note on job applications, and job postings that applicants must be able to pass a drug test before hiring and random tests during employment. This will reduce, though not eliminate, the number of applicants who cannot pass a drug test. It will also attract those who are clean and sober. Who wants to be handling a jetter with someone who is high?

12. Interview After Hours

Do you require people to take time off from work, just to interview with you? If you do, you are making the recruiting process more difficult. It’s okay if applicants are knocking down your door. It is not if you are struggling to put butts in trucks. Offer the option to conduct interviews at night and on the weekend.

13. Stay in Contact with a Technical Tips Email Newsletter

At the Service Nation Alliance, we create a special email newsletter every month with technical tips, written for tradesmen. Members send this to an email list that includes current field service personnel, past personnel, and any plumber who has ever applied or given the company an email address. This keeps the company top-of-mind with a recruiting base and provides an excellent way to get the word out when new positions become available.

14. Add a Website Career Page

Along with a recruiting brochure, a career page on your website is basic. Include a way to apply online, the information from the recruiting brochure, recruiting videos, pictures of your employee lounge, a message for the spouses, your drug free requirements, and a way to subscribe to your technical tips.

15. Never Stop Recruiting

Recruiting does not stop when you hire someone. Constantly reinforce the decision to join your company. Recruit people to stay as hard as you recruit new people to join. Employee retention is even more important the customer retention.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable. For more information on recruiting and other aspects of operating a successful, profitable, modern plumbing business, reach out to the Service Roundtable at, or call 877/262-3341. Be sure to check out the “Free Stuff” available for download at the website.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.

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