The ultimate guide for hiring tradespeople
ULTIMATE HIRING GUIDE
 
CHAPTER
  •  
    01
    Introduction
  •  
    02
    Reviewing your business
  •  
    03
    Reviewing your team
  •  
    04
    Expanding your team
  •  
    05
    The employment process
  •  
    06
    Overcoming the trade shortage
03

Reviewing your team

Take a close look at your team.

Getting a good grasp of who is in your team and what skills they have lets you know where your company's strengths lie and where your gaps are. This will give you more clarity around which potential employees you should bring on (or be keeping an eye out for).

Getting the balance right.

Having a good balance of personality types in your team will increase the outputs and efficiencies of your business. Allison Moody's four Ps: Powerful, Precise, Peaceful, Playful personality types are a great framework for this. Essentially, it's having a mix of people who can lead, lift the quality of work, create healthy team environments, and lift team morale. Find out more here.

 

"I can't speak highly enough of Allison Moody's four personality types. It's made  the productivity of my teams skyrocket"

Ben Shearer, owner of Shearer Design, AKL, New Zealand.
 

Know your skills.

You also need to know what skill sets your team has. Most people just focus on essential skills. If you invest in developing the customer service and sales skills of your employees plus provide specialist training that would broaden the offering of your business, you'll likely improve retention as employees know they're growing, plus you'll increase the revenue earning potential of your business. The best way to think this is as a multi-tiered building.

Essential skills. The base of the building is the technical trade skills essential for completing regular jobs. For example: the ability to install, maintain, modify and repair electrical distribution systems and associated electrical equipment.

Customer skills. The second layer is the customer relationship skills vital for encouraging repeat business.

 

"Having staff find one thing to compliment your customers when they visit a job is gold. Taking note of it and bringing it up on future visits or calls is next level."

Andy Smith, owner of Dr Drip, NSW, Australia.
 

Sales skills. Acquiring new customers is something your team should always be looking out for, or looking for cross-selling opportunities when onsite. For instance, bringing up any additional work that needs or may need doing in the near future.

Specialist skills. These are nice-to-have skills that let your business offer additional services and create new revenue streams.

 

"Our best hire was someone with extensive marine electrical experience. We've since branched out into the marine industry and never looked back."

Chris Hill, Business Manager at Well Connected Electrical, NSW, Australia.
 

We've developed a scoring system from what our experts were telling us, which can help you track and monitor the makeup of your team. You can download a template here.

Simply make a list of all the essential skills in a document then score each person according to what skills they have. For customer service/sales skills, simply score each employee out of five.

You can also use this for recruiting. By completing each person, you can see how they compare with each other, and if they fill the gaps in your team. You may also see that these potential employees might be short in one area but make up for it in another. 

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A skill set scoring system.

Name Essential Skills Customer Skills Sales Skills Special Skills Initiative Personality Type Your gut feel
J Smit 9/10 4/5 2/5 NO YES Powerful NA
T Holder 10/10 3/5 3/5 NO YES Precise NA
S Bailey 10/10 2/5 5/5 NO YES Playful NA

Potential Employees

Name Essential Skills Customer Skills Sales Skills Special Skills Initiative Personality Type Your gut feel
R Lee 7/10 5/5 ?? YES YES Precise HIRE
J Tait 5/10 4/5 ?? NO NO Playful DON'T
M Mann 9/10 2/5 ?? NO YES Peaceful HIRE
C Kent 6/10 1/5 ?? YES YES Powerful DON'T

A career path worth following.

Some employees move on because they feel they can't grow at all in their company. Here's an example of a career path for an electrician that's worth noting. We've also put one together as per our business structure featured in the next chapter.

Career Path Career Path
 

"Have clear career paths for everyone in the business so they know if they do this, this, then this, they will get to here."

Ben Shearer, owner of Shearer Design, AKL, New Zealand.
 

Improving productivity.

Your staff may not always perform at their best. Whether it's caused by work or personal pressures, you need to find out what's causing it if it's really starting to affect their work. A great way to do this is to take them out of your work environment and have a chat. Here's how that chat could go:

"Hey Danny, I've noticed you haven't quite been yourself lately and I wanted to check in and see if everything's ok. I know there are times in life when we have our ups and downs. Is everything all good at work? How about at home? Is there anything I can do to help with either of these things?"

It might be awkward for you, but they'll appreciate you taking the time and asking. Once you know what the issue is, you might need to hold their hand for a while to build them back up. If it's a work related issue, try offering more training, working one-on-one with them, or simply giving them more responsibility. It could also be an incentive issue.

Incentives.

Incentives are a great way to keep your team happy and engaged. Since no one solution works best for every tradesperson, incentives have to be personal. This means taking the time to understand each employee and then incentivise them according to your findings.

 

"I do all sorts, like rewarding employees with a set of mags to letting them go home  early after finishing the job early".

Julian Verdouw, owner of Flowtech PDG, QLD, Australia.
 

There's more on incentives here, otherwise, here's a snapshot of what our experts are offering:

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Apprentices
  • Get paid. That’s all.
  • Paying fees if they pass.
  • The occasional lunches go a long way.
  • Fun days like paintballing, golf, surfing, fishing.
  • Plenty of recognition and spot thank yous.
  • Supplying bigger tools.
  • Mag wheels for impressing the lad(ie)s.
Tradespeople
  • Get paid on time. And above market rates.
  • A work/life balance. Yes that means little or no overtime.
  • Knocking off early if they finish ahead of schedule.
  • Fun days like paintballing, golf, surfing, fishing.
    Plenty of recognition and spot thank yous.
  • Weekend use of vehicle and tools for trusted tradies.
  • An overseas trip every year.
Admin Staff
  • Get paid. Yes, even your partners who carry the load.
  • Clean office and a pleasant working environment.
  • Flexible working arrangements.
  • Fun days like paintballing, golf, surfing, fishing.
  • Loads of recognition, and spot thank yous.
 

"We go so far as giving our employees an all-expenses holiday with their family every year after 12 months in the job".

Andy Smith, owner of Dr Drip, NSW, Australia.
 
KEY POINTS

Be creative and change up your incentives every three to four months.

Use smaller incremental rewards often so everyone can win.

Look at what you can offer that’s different to your competition.