Although in-person interviews are much more prevalent in the skilled trades, there are different situations where a company or even a candidate, requests a phone interview as a first step in the hiring process. If you’re an HVAC professional, read below for some phone interview tips and tricks to help get you closer to your next job.
Getting Ready for the Call
If a company has reached out directly to you, find out who will be calling you and what their title is. Where possible, look them up on LinkedIn so you can learn more about the person who is calling you and what their role in the company is. This could also help you prepare for the type of questions you can expect from them in the phone interview. If it’s someone in HR, they are more likely to ask generic questions (i.e.” Tell me about yourself”) versus a Service Manager who will ask more technical questions as it relates to the trade.
Review and use spell check when replying back by email confirming the phone interview and that your response is simple and straightforward. First impressions count.
Research the company in advance (i.e. Google reviews, Glassdoor, company website, social media, etc.) to learn more about the company, their culture, their products/services, etc.
Have your phone on hand with the ringer on so you do not miss the call; and that your phone is fully charged.
Have your resume on hand, along with a pen and paper to make notes.
Have the company website and job description open in front of you for easy reference.
Practice and have answers ready for common job interview questions you may be asked (i.e. Why are you looking to leave your current job, what type of HVAC equipment and systems have you serviced and/or installed, tell me about a time you deal with a difficult customer, where do you see yourself in five years, etc.)
Phone Interview Etiquette
Answer the phone stating your full name so the interviewer knows they reached the correct person.
Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space for your interview to avoid unnecessary noise and distractions (i.e. pets, kids, TV, radio, etc.)
If possible, use headphones as this will also help cut out background noise and the interviewer may hear you better.
Sit up straight or stand up during the call to help enunciate your words clearly and project your voice.
Smile. It has been shown when you smile, it projects a positive image and changes the tone of your voice to enthusiasm.
Make sure to listen to what the Service Manager or HR Manager is saying on the other line and avoid interrupting them. If you are unclear what the question is or what they said, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or to repeat the question.
Speak clearly and slow it down. If you speak too quickly, the interviewer may miss out on important details that you said.
Avoid curse words and any slang that is not industry related. It’s great you feel comfortable and the interviewer puts you at ease; however, this is an interview and you want to remain friendly and professional.
Turn call-waiting off.
Rockstar Tips to Stand Out
Avoid eating or chewing gum, smoking or vaping. It’s difficult to be heard clearly if your mouth is full plus, if you can’t hold off on taking a puff for 30 minutes or so, it gives the wrong impression to the employer.
Unless the interviewer says to use their first name, address them by either Mr. or Ms followed by their last name.
Have a glass or bottle of water on hand so you don’t get caught with dry mouth. A quick sip can help relieve any sudden tickle in the throat or alleviate any sudden cough attacks.
Unless the interviewer brings up compensation, don’t bring it up. However, if they do ask what you are looking for, know your worth and have a realistic range in mind. This should be based on your years of experience, current wages, and any valid HVAC certifications/licenses you have. If their job posting has a range listed, you can either say you are comfortable with the wage offered or give them a specific amount you are looking for in order for you to accept.
Example: Job has wages posted for $30 – $40/hour.
“I currently earn $34/hour and I would be looking for at least $37/hour in order for me to make a move. Depending on what your overall compensation looks like, I may be flexible on that number.”
You should always look at the total compensation package and not just the base, which could include commission, SPIFFS, benefits, RRSP or 401K plan, profit sharing, OT, vacation etc.
Have some questions prepared to ask them to make sure you are making the right decision on your next place of employment
At the end of the call, reiterate your interest in the position and if they haven’t told you, ask what the next steps are.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reschedule
If something suddenly comes up or you got asked to work later than expected, make sure to call or email your potential employer as soon as possible to reschedule. It is much better to reschedule than for an interviewer try to contact you with no success and get frustrated. More often than not, they will simply take it as a sign you are not interested and will move on to the next potential candidate.
If a recruiter got this interview lined up for you, make sure to let him or her know immediately. A good recruiter will take care of communicating and rescheduling with the potential employer ensuring your place as a potential HVAC professional.
Follow Up Email
Ask the interviewer for their email to send a follow up thank you note to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the job. If you forgot to mention anything about your skill set or any relevant training, licenses, or certifications, a follow up thank you note is a great way to slip that information in.
If you’re using an HVAC recruiter, provide him or her with feedback on how the phone interview went- the good and the bad. If there is any information you felt you didn’t emphasize or forgot to mention, let him or her know and they can ensure this information is passed on to the potential employer.
Once you have passed your phone interview, you’ll most likely be asked to meet in person with the Service Manager and possibly their lead HVAC Techs or Installers. In addition to bringing your resume and any licenses or certifications you have, be prepared to answer typical questions in an HVAC interview.
If you’re looking for you’re a new HVAC/R career opportunity or need some more interview tips and advice, contact Rockstar HVAC today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-833-937-3546.