Skip to main content

Think Hiring is Hard Now? It’s Going To Get Harder - Here’s How To Prepare

Written by: Rikka Brandon
Published on: Aug 14, 2017

Training picture


If it’s hard to find the qualified talent you need now, chances are it will be even harder in 3-5 years. So, how can you start laying the groundwork to make your organization the best choice?  This can vary greatly by industry and the roles you constantly need to fill.  

I’m in Fargo, ND, and there is a serious shortage of skilled labor talent. Many growing construction and related service businesses aren’t able to keep up with customer demand because they can’t find the skilled techs they need. They post job ads, run radio ads, offer huge referral bonuses, try to recruit tech school students - even tried the bathroom wall ads - and still can’t get the people they need.    

In a competitive market, you need to think outside the box and figure out how to get to the people you want before everyone else does.  

Let’s see how this works with a real-world example:

A fireplace and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) company needs to hire at least 5 techs a year to keep up with customer demand and attrition. Their best employees have typically come from rural areas and have worked on a farm or with construction in high school.   

The reality is, most kids don’t think too much about how their homes and schools remain a comfortable temperature year round, so considering a career in HVAC isn’t even on their radar.  

This means not many kids are in the HVAC programs at tech schools, and most of those students are already “spoken for.” Often, they come from a family run HVAC business and plan to return home to work.

So, this company needs to create demand and a path for people considering HVAC Tech as a career. How can they do this?

  1. Reach out to Industrial Arts or Shop class teachers and create a play to introduce this type of work and career option to students. Can a current tech show them how to do something cool?  Is there a small project the kids can work on to see if they enjoy the problem-solving aspect of HVAC? Can they create videos for the instructor to use?  How can they plant the seed of an HVAC career before kids are even thinking of a career?
  2. Reach out to guidance counselors and offer resources about HVAC careers for kids best suited for a hands-on, problem-solving job vs.sitting at a desk. Send information about potential salaries, benefits, and any and all of the perks they get working for you so they see it as a viable career opportunity.
  3. Offer scholarships to an HVAC training program. The scholarship gives you the ability to interact with kids and if ten apply, you can choose to give them all some level of scholarship. You may even be able to pair this with work experience opportunities.
  4. Offer to pay back their student loans if they work for you and stay for a certain period of time. It’s a great deal for them, and although it may cost you $15,000 over 5, 7, or 10 years, it’s often worth much more to keep a skilled tech for that length of time versus replacing them.    


If you’ve thought about succession planning, you need to plan and build long-term talent funnels and pipelines for your business. This is just one example for one company, but there are many ways to do this. Your business and hiring needs might require a different approach, but the goal is to think long-term and take action to build relationships today.



Rikka Brandon is the author of the best-selling book Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People. She’s the creator of the Hire Power Program, an online program designed to help small businesses build a rock-solid recruiting strategy and stop settling when they hire. She’s the Founder of and  Building Gurus. Rikka is the go-to girl for growth-minded entrepreneurs and forward-thinking business leaders and is considered as the USA’s Top Hiring Expert for Small Businesses.