If hiring HVAC technicians tops your to-do list, you're not alone. HVAC business owners grapple with finding qualified HVAC job candidates in a highly competitive climate, where workers with experience clearly outnumber new recruits.
Working in the HVAC field offers numerous opportunities for job seekers, as industry experts predict more than 400,000 HVAC technician job openings in the next 10 years alone. HVAC owners need to fill jobs for HVAC apprentices, HVAC service technicians, HVAC installers, and other HVAC positions such as comfort advisors or sales positions.
Rather than racking up large amounts of debt getting a college degree, an HVAC service technician can earn about $47,000, which can quickly grow into six figures—with only a few years of training and on-the-job experience.
"New recruits can start as a tech, learn the business, then go into sales, marketing, or business ownership," says Ann Matheis, Associate Director of Brand Marketing at the Carmel, Ind., offices of Carrier, a leader in the HVAC industry. "There are a ton of opportunities, versus getting a four-year degree.”
At ServiceTitan, we want to help HVAC professionals and other contractors (such as electricians and plumbers)in the skilled trades grow their businesses with highly qualified technicians.
We compiled a list of 23 interview questions to ask potential new hires during the HVAC interview process, so you can acquire the best employees for your expanding team, with the strongest:
Technical skills: Can they demonstrate their knowledge and hands-on skills, including problem-solving ability?
Interpersonal skills: Can they communicate well with co-workers and customers?
Customer service skills: Are they comfortable with upselling to earn more money and help grow your business?
Work ethic: Does their mindset and attitude fit your business culture?
Technology competence: Do they have experience with (or willingness to use) mobile technology?
Use our HVAC interview questions and answers to help you make the right hire:
Then, read our section on how ServiceTitan’s features empower HVAC technicians to do a stellar job, help grow your HVAC business, and help you recruit more star technicians by showing them that your company has the tools in place to help them do their job more efficiently so they can spend more time doing their actual work instead of paperwork:
Want to see how ServiceTitan’s HVAC software gives you the tools to empower the best HVAC technicians and help grow your business? Schedule a call for a free product tour.
General HVAC Technician Interview Questions
Why do you want to work in the HVAC industry?
What do you know about our HVAC company?
Why are you looking for a new opportunity?
What previous experience and/or training makes you qualified for this particular HVAC job?
Why did you leave your previous job, and why do you want to work with us?
Do you have a valid driver's license and clean driving record?
Can you email us a list of references?
Common HVAC interview questions that fall in the general category typically cover the soft skills of the trade, such as showing up on time, bringing the right equipment, communicating clearly with customers, and cleaning up after themselves.
It's also a good time to assess an applicant's attitude or personality to determine whether they're a good fit for your company. For Fermin Rivera, a Los Angeles air conditioning contractor who built his company slowly over a period of several years, a qualified candidate not only knows air conditioning systems, but also aligns with the core values of his company, Red Apple Air.
Rivera says mindset often poses the biggest problem. It's either: “What's the least I can do to gain the most amount of money?” or “I want what he has.”
"If we can trigger a different mindset, I think the industry will make better use of the people we have, and also be able to recruit much easier," Rivera says.
Ask these types of questions to assess a candidate's soft skills (and goal mindset):
1. Why do you want to work in the HVAC industry?
Interviewers ask an open-ended question like this to gauge how a job candidate reacts and communicates when put on the spot. Someone who maintains good eye contact and displays confident body language as they answer with a prepared response typically does better than an applicant who avoids eye contact, slouches in the chair, or fumbles through a half-hearted reply.
2. What do you know about our HVAC company?
How did they hear about your company's job opening? Did they research the company before applying or talk to a current employee about possible opportunities? Hiring managers tend to consider applicants more seriously when they clearly demonstrate they've made an effort to learn more by scouring your company website, visiting social media sites, and talking to your current or past employees.
3. Why are you looking for a new opportunity?
Did you leave your previous employers voluntarily? Do you need to make more money? Are you looking to create a better work-home-life balance? It's important to understand a new hire's motivations to determine whether their long-term career goals fit with your company's core values.
4. What previous experience and/or training makes you qualified for this particular HVAC job?
This question often elicits a multilayered answer with details about previous jobs, education, apprentice training, trade licenses, industry certifications, etc. While applicants often include much of this information on their resume, read between the lines to detect certain skill sets for success in the HVAC industry, such as a strong mathematical ability or propensity for customer service.
5. Why did you leave your previous job, and why do you want to work with us?
HVAC job applicants who have been fired or routinely leave jobs after only a few months should raise a red flag in the minds of hiring managers. Explore their reasons for leaving to determine whether the same issues could be a problem at your company.
Understand their motivations for wanting to work for you, then use their answers as selling features in future interviews to build a strong pool of HVAC technicians. For example, an enthusiasm for sales or mobile technology.
6. Do you have a valid driver's license and clean driving record?
Technicians who work on HVAC systems for your company must drive to customers' homes in your company trucks. It's the responsibility of HVAC business owners to buy liability insurance to protect their company, employees, and customers against possible damage. Most insurance companies require HVAC technicians to hold a valid driver's license and clean driving record.
7. Can you email us a list of references?
You can assess an applicant's skills for written communication, as well as the ability to follow directions, by asking them to send references to you by email. You can also gauge how interested they are in the position by how quickly they send their references. Ask them to detail the reference's relationship to the applicant, how long they’ve known them, and to provide current contact information for each.
Behavioral/Situational Job Interview Questions
Describe a specific HVAC job where you sacrificed safety for speed.
In previous HVAC jobs, did you ever turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer?
A customer expresses anger or frustration over a bill. How do you respond?
What safety violations do you see most often, and how would you prevent them?
Here's a specific HVAC job scenario. Explain your process for handling the call.
Behavioral or situational questions give applicants the opportunity for show-and-tell, with more emphasis placed on the "show" part of the equation. Interviewers need to assess an applicant's ability for problem-solving, following safety precautions, and their overall comfort with using technology on the job.
Today's HVAC contractors utilize technology to streamline operations with laptops, smartphones, mobile tablets, and HVAC field service management software on the job.
1. Describe a specific HVAC job where you sacrificed safety for speed.
While posing this question might seem like a trick question—since HVAC safety should never be sacrificed for speed—the types of answers you glean can be very enlightening. An HVAC technician who focuses only on getting the job done fast, so they can move on to the next one, probably needs more safety training and oversight.
2. In previous HVAC jobs, did you ever turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer?
Productive and conscientious HVAC techs who go the extra mile play an important role in satisfying customers. Satisfied HVAC clients turn into repeat business, often through simple follow-up calls or word-of-mouth referrals. Techs who listen to customers, clearly explain the process, and educate them about what they need or don't need provide better customer service.
3. A customer expresses anger or frustration over a bill. How do you respond?
How an applicant responds to this question tells you a lot about their personality, attitude, and customer-service style. If they simply throw your company under the bus and take no responsibility for what things cost, rather than taking the time to explain the cost of providing professional HVAC services in detail, they're probably not a good fit and will cost you money in lost business and unsatisfied customers.
4. What safety violations do you see most often, and how would you prevent them?
Safety plays a critical role in HVAC, whether it means following proper safety protocols in a customer's home or business, or preventing injury while on the job. Assess an applicant's knowledge for HVAC safety, then use their answers to improve your company's safety training procedures or remove unnecessary rules.
5. Here's a specific HVAC job scenario. Explain your process for handling the call.
HVAC techs like to fix things and work with their hands. Give them a specific repair job and ask them to explain their step-by-step process for diagnosing and fixing the problem. What questions do they ask the homeowner or business owner? What tools do they need? What safety precautions do they take? Does the customer require a follow-up visit?
See how they would perform on the job, from start to finish, to get a clear picture of their strengths–and potential flaws.
Technical Skills Questions
What does BTU/CAV/AHU mean?
What is cooling or heating load, and how do you calculate it?
What are the different ways heat can be lost or gained?
What is relative humidity, saturation point, and the relative humidity at saturation point?
What is the difference between a heat pump, heating, and refrigeration?
A hiring manager can assess an applicant's technical ability and know-how from educational degrees, certifications, and other HVAC training listed on their resumes, but many companies also require a hands-on test to see how much a job candidate knows about ventilation and air conditioning, refrigerants, compressors, and more.
While applicants need some HVAC technical training, many companies prefer to train their own new recruits on the technical aspects of the job, so they learn their own company's best practices and get familiar with their specific equipment or tools.
Don't forget to ask an applicant if they're comfortable doing sales, says Darius Lyvers, Chief Operating Officer at F.H. Furr Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical. Techs who naturally sell services with ease help to grow your company faster.
“You’re not just assessing them for technical aptitude and personal abilities; the other side is even more important,” Lyvers says. “You can train a lot of the technical (stuff). Training sales is definitely harder.”
To get a good idea of an applicant's technical skill set, consider asking the following technical questions:
1. What does BTU/CAV/AHU mean?
Do applicants know what common acronyms stand for and what they mean in the HVAC industry? They need to know them not only to perform the job (technical knowledge), but also to explain the mechanical capabilities and benefits of your company's HVAC systems to customers (experience level and sales).
2. What is cooling or heating load, and how do you calculate it?
The HVAC load calculation shows you the exact amount of BTUs that a certain space requires for sufficient heating and cooling. It identifies the square footage of the room to determine the capacity—BTUs per hour—needed to reach the desired indoor temperature. Use ServiceTitan's HVAC Load Calculator to easily know which factors to consider.
3. What are the different ways heat can be lost or gained?
Customers interested in saving energy need to know this when considering good-better-and-best options for heating efficiency. New recruits should be able to explain how heat can be lost or gained through:
Conduction—energy transferred by direct contact.
Convection—energy transferred by the mass motion of molecules.
Radiation—energy transferred by electromagnetic radiation.
4. What is relative humidity, saturation point, and the relative humidity at saturation point?
These terms matter when trying to explain to customers how different air conditioning systems work more efficiently than others.
Relative humidity—the percentage of humidity inside a building.
Saturation point (dew point)—A system reaches dew point when the air holds its maximum amount of water vapor, and it increases as the temperature increases. When air reaches its saturation point, any decrease in temperature results in water condensation.
Relative humidity at saturation point—100 percent.
5. What is the difference between a heat pump, heating, and refrigeration?
Heating and refrigeration require moving heat from one location to another. Both involve a heat pump or a motor that transfers heat energy from a source. Heat pumps move heat in both directions—from the inside to the outside (cooling) and from the outside to the inside (heating). Air conditioners and refrigerators do not add cool air to indoor spaces, they actually subtract heat from the air.
Does your recruit truly understand the science and math behind the HVAC systems you’re repairing, selling, and installing?
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Technology & Tools Questions
How do you view mobile technology and its role in the future of the HVAC industry?
What is your experience with using mobile technology on the job?
After diagnosing the problem, what tools have you used to explain options to a customer?
While interviewing HVAC candidates, ask about previous, on-the-job experience with CRM technology and other tools. Today’s HVAC techs utilize field service technology to increase efficiencies, enhance communication, and grow ticket sizes.
Use the opportunity to learn about the candidate’s experience, ask about specific tools and software, and understand their views on how technology enhances the workplace.
1. How do you view mobile technology and its role in the future of the HVAC industry?
HVAC contractors increasingly use technology to streamline business operations and boost technician efficiency. How an HVAC applicant responds to this question tells you a lot about their knowledge of current technology and the latest trends. If your business currently uses HVAC software, asking about technological skills can help you determine whether the candidate is a good fit.
2. What is your experience with using mobile technology on the job?
This question helps you understand a candidate’s previous experience, as well as their level of comfort using technology in the field. It’s also a good indicator of the amount of training the candidate requires. HVAC techs typically communicate with dispatch, provide estimates, and collect payments from their mobile devices.
3. After diagnosing the problem, what tools have you used to explain options to a customer?
While in the field, HVAC techs must clearly describe the problem and all applicable solutions. Modern HVAC software helps techs present varying levels of service, such as good-better-and-best, so customers can understand their options and make informed decisions. A lack of experience shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate; it just means you’ll need to provide additional training.
You’ll likely realize new recruits have experience using technology and want to work for a forward-thinking company. With ServiceTitan’s cloud-based CRM technology, technicians can present service levels via a digital pricebook, quickly generate good-better-best invoices, accept payment from the field, and much more.
Jump to the section below to read how our software, ServiceTitan, helps HVAC techs work more efficiently to grow your business.
Payroll Questions to Ask in an HVAC Interview
What are your wage expectations?
Have you ever worked for a company that uses performance-based pay?
What are your expectations for bonuses or SPIFs?
Most applicants don't feel comfortable asking about pay, but salary expectations matter a great deal when considering one job applicant over another. As the laws of supply and demand drive salaries up, HVAC business owners need to be prepared to pay market-competitive salaries and offer enticing benefits to attract new talent and reduce costly turnover rates.
For instance, if your company offers performance pay versus hourly rates, new recruits need to understand how your commission and bonus structure works. If you expect HVAC techs to sell more services on every call, be sure to make that clear.
Need more help? Download our “Hire a Tech Checklist” for tips on how to write an irresistible job description and optimize your website to attract the best HVAC technicians.
Next, we’ll explain how using our software, ServiceTitan, helps draw the best techs to your business.
How ServiceTitan Can Help You Attract the Top HVAC Technicians
Using a field service software such as ServiceTitan helps HVAC technicians work super-efficiently, sell additional services, and bring in more revenue.
From the technician’s perspective, ServiceTitan saves them time. It helps them avoid laborious busywork and paperwork, so they can spend more time working on jobs rather than thumbing through pricebooks, figuring out how to contact or update customers on arrival times, or creating maintenance agreements manually.
As a result, if you have ServiceTitan, you can use it to show the best technicians how it helps give them a better work life at your HVAC company than competitors that don’t have software like ServiceTitan.
ServiceTitan is intuitive and easy-to-use, so all technicians can be trained to use its tools for:
These tools (and more) can be accessed when technicians are out in the field via our mobile app. All activities are synced centrally with office staff (via our desktop app) so everybody has all the information they need. Technicians can easily access customer data captured by CSRs, such as names, addresses, job histories, property details, and notes, via a tap-click-or-swipe on their mobile tablet.
Tools that Help HVAC Technicians Work Fast & Efficiently
Scheduling & Dispatching
Managing bookings without call booking and scheduling software is challenging for a growing HVAC business wanting to organize technicians’ workloads efficiently and give the best customer experience. ServiceTitan’s cloud-based call booking and scheduling features let CSRs handle calls quickly and professionally. Caller details are automatically flagged, as are custom prompts, to ensure all the right questions are asked to make the booking.
ServiceTitan’s scheduling software lets you organize and view all your jobs as well as technicians’ workloads. You can schedule weeks, or even months, in advance, select the right techs for specific jobs, and allocate more time for longer jobs, if needed. Membership agreements and recurring service events are automatically populated in the calendar so nothing is missed.
Technicians can view their upcoming work and all the details via the dispatch board. Notes can also be included, such as the technical spec and materials needed, or if there’s something specific they need to know about a customer.
Once bookings are made, appointment confirmations and reminders are automatically sent via SMS. Dispatchers can also communicate with technicians via SMS, for example, letting a tech know the security code for the customer’s property.
You can even use ServiceTitan’s map feature to view the locations of all your technicians and use the route information to avoid traffic delays and assign the right tech to the right job at the right time.
Optimizing your technicians’ schedules and workloads in this way means you can trim your response times and maximize your technicians’ work capacity.
Recurring Jobs & Job Automation
Technicians who are confident in signing up customers to recurring jobs such as maintenance contracts will bring guaranteed, recurring revenue to your HVAC business and generate more income for themselves. ServiceTitan gives them the tools to do just that.
Technicians can create membership agreements from scratch using our mobile three-step membership wizard. With just a few taps, you can create new maintenance contracts, apply discounts, and schedule regular appointments. Set-up is easy, and you can integrate your agreements with other ServiceTitan tools such as scheduling, executing jobs, and estimates.
As well as membership agreements, technicians can access other useful resources to help them carry out their work successfully, including:
Job Histories: Techs can view the complete job history, including existing equipment, servicing history, estimates, and notes, all from their mobile tablet, so everything is at hand.
Warranty Details: Warranty and replacement part information can be stored within ServiceTitan. Techs can access this on the fly and initiate an order directly from their tablet.
You can also trigger certain forms to appear automatically as the job progresses, such as an invoice or request for a review. For example, you can create maintenance checklists using our custom forms for techs to refer to when working through a job. This ensures that they know exactly what to do at each stage of the job, and that every stage is logged.
All these features streamline your staff’s workflows, save time, and increase productivity.
Pulling together information from disorganized pricebooks to create an estimate takes time, and it’s particularly challenging when you’re out in the field. With ServiceTitan, HVAC technicians can create estimates for new equipment or for resolving issues on the spot.
ServiceTitan’s Pricebook Pro is the only integrated, flat-rate solution that helps technicians make the right choices for each estimate and includes upgrade information and recommendations to maximize ticket sizes. In just a few taps, you can also access photos, manufacturer videos and product info and build an estimate that can be viewed by the customer on site, and emailed for sign off.
Technicians also have access to all the customer status information that may need progressing, for example, whether to follow up on an open estimate, quote for an equipment upgrade, or if it’s time to upsell to a new membership contract. This allows them to leverage the visit and maximize profits.
When invoices are created in the office, the process relies on the technician gathering the relevant information, such as details of the estimate, hours worked, materials used, etc. With ServiceTitan, you can provide your HVAC techs with our free Invoice Generator Tool so that they can generate the invoices themselves, while they’re on site.
The tool lets you input all the information into a customized invoice template, save it, and email or text the invoice to customers there and then. Our templates even let you include imaging and branding. Creating invoices in this way, in real-time, minimizes mistakes (such as typos, pricing errors or lost paperwork), saves time, and reduces paper and printing costs. Plus, your technicians will spend less time on invoicing paperwork and more time on the actual work.
Most customers prefer the option of paying for work done on the spot. It’s convenient, and it speeds up payment time for your business too.
With ServiceTitan, it’s super-easy for technicians to take payments directly from customers via their mobile tablet camera. Simply securely capture the payment by taking a snap of the check or credit card payment or send the customer a link to a personalized payment portal.
Payments will be received more quickly too. Credit cards and checks are deposited the next day, and online payments are received 2-3 times faster than traditional invoicing. ServiceTitan will automatically match your electronic payments to your bank deposits so there’s no time-consuming reconciliation to do either.
The ability to accept mobile payments is one part of a suite of features that help you streamline the financial operations of your HVAC business so that your technicians are paid efficiently and on time. We’ll discuss these next.
Tools that Help your Business Run Like Clockwork, No Matter How Many Technicians You Have
Having a disorganized payroll system where you do some or all of the work manually can lead to unhappy technicians if mistakes are made.
Payroll & Timesheets
ServiceTitan’s integrated payroll tools have been designed to help you track staff (via timesheets), pay them correctly and on time, and monitor the efficiency and profitability of your business.
With our timesheets, time spent driving, collecting materials and actually on the job are all recorded, in real-time. Overtime and bonuses can be configured in a few clicks. All staff have access to their timesheets and can sign them at the end of a pay period, so there’s no driving into the office for payroll each time.
Using ServiceTitan’s payroll and timesheet tools will save you an average of 30-60 minutes per employee each month in preparation time. Streamlining the whole payroll process benefits everyone.
Analyzing the performance of your HVAC technicians is critical for gaining insight into where improvements can be made. Doing this manually with spreadsheets is a laborious process.
ServiceTitan’s reporting software provides HVAC business owners with deep insights into every technician’s performance as well as many other key business metrics.
With our technician scorecard, you are always up-to-date on every tech’s stats, such as generated revenue, memberships sold, response times, and more. This gives you the opportunity to identify specific areas and provide coaching and motivation to your team so they stay sharp and productive.
Want to Learn How ServiceTitan Can Help Recruit the Best HVAC Techs?
In a highly competitive job market, it's important to weed out the window shoppers from the serious HVAC job candidates. Asking the right questions from the get-go can help you find new recruits worth investing your time and money in, who will stick around and grow alongside your HVAC company.
ServiceTitan helps you streamline your work processes and attract the best HVAC technicians. Our software saves them time and makes their jobs easier by minimizing tedious paperwork and optimizing opportunities to earn the maximum income from every service visit. Mentioning your HVAC business uses a field software system like ServiceTitan when you’re interviewing technicians will set you apart from other companies that don’t.
To find out more about how ServiceTitan can help you manage your HVAC business more efficiently and attract the top technicians, schedule a free demo here.
ServiceTitan HVAC Software
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.