What top technician employers are looking for in their next great technician
According to CNN, a bullish stock market, investments by businesses, and consumer confidence add up to a “healthy” U.S. economy. This positive economic outlook is also reflected in the lowest jobless rate in 17 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 4.1% unemployment rate, with employment gains in health care, construction, and manufacturing. This is good news for the booming field service industry and those searching for service technician jobs, as these industries rely heavily on service techs to keep them operating at peak efficiency.
Despite remarkable growth over the past several years, this mismatch between skills required and skills met has dogged the service industry for some time.
A recent AED study found that the Equipment Industry Technician Shortage “hinders business growth and increases costs and inefficiencies” for more than half of its respondents. More than 60% say they struggle to meet customer demands due to skills shortages. This presents a golden opportunity for the multi-dimensional service tech candidate who possesses the skills and personal characteristics clearly many others lack. As paradigms within the industry have shifted to service-as-profit business models, service technicians need to do far more than quick fixes. The best service technician jobs will go to those candidates with a multi-faceted skill set.
Top service employers need service technicians with the technical aptitude to:
Diagnose and solve problems
Predict and proactively avoid future issues
Build great relationships with customers
Sell service contracts
Upsell parts and labor
Here’s what top technician employers look for in service candidates:1. Educational Requirements
At the core of field service is maintenance and repair. Depending on the technical requirements of the position, certificates in a related field to the industry, or some formal education or degree may be required, but not always necessary. Many service technicians will receive on-the-job training, and do not require an education beyond secondary or vocational school.
The technical skills necessary depend upon the industry. Strong candidates will have finely-tuned technical skills within their industry which aid them in diagnosing and fixing problems that are often complex. For instance, Wind Turbine Techs will need to have skills specific to that industry including: electric and hydraulic maintenance, brake systems, mechanical components, programming control systems, blade inspection, technical writing, and more.
Regardless of the industry, there are common abilities that all great field service technicians share:
• Great organizational and time management skills
• Ability to work independently without supervision
• Efficient work practices to complete tasks on deadline
• Comprehension of technical supporting materials, i.e., manuals and diagrams
• Excellent problem-solving skills
• Good communication skills
• Ability to identify problems based on diagnostic methods and customers’ input
• Ability to adopt mobile field service tools and other technology
• Adherence to health and safety precautions
3. Can-do Attitude
Personality plays a big part in landing the best technical positions. A resistant or negative attitude can move a candidate with a stellar resume and technical qualifications to the bottom of the pile. Service organizations need to be sure that whomever they hire has a good personality for a couple of reasons. First, techs need to be cordial and professional with customers that can sometimes get frustrated by the problems they are experiencing. Secondly, salesmanship now plays a big part in the service tech’s daily responsibilities. If they perform their jobs efficiently they will earn the customer’s trust, and are therefore in a great position to offer maintenance contracts, additional parts and products.
Selling may not come naturally to a service tech. They may not even have experience doing it. However, techs displaying an open attitude and interest in learning how to sell will show employers they are trainable. Tools like mobile field service apps make it easier for techs to sell service contracts and increase overall sales. A desire to learn is what employers need to see. Conversely, a potential employee’s unwilling or ambivalent attitude towards selling will raise a red flag, tagging them as someone who will never learn to sell successfully.
4. An Aptitude for Technology
The quick-paced world of field service demands technology that helps the job get done efficiently, while providing excellent customer service, and communicating easily with the back office. It is critical for top companies to hire employees with a desire and readiness to work with new and innovative systems and tools. Does the candidate have experience working with mobile devices? Will they be able to perform job functions while learning new processes such as capturing field work in a technician mobile app simultaneously? This is a fluid process, as technology is constantly evolving and advancing. The most desirable techs will possess a proclivity for — and capacity to – master technology.
5. Customer Service
Competition is stiff among service organizations. Differentiation in field service often comes down to providing excellent customer service. Since field service technicians are often the only person a customer will interact with, customer service skills are vital.
Interpersonal skills are also a differentiator among service technicians. Great people skills will allow the tech to connect with the customer. Being able to communicate effectively is necessary in order to diagnose problems, explain resolutions, build trust, make sales, and retain customers.6. Being Part of a Team
Although field service technicians work independently for the majority of the time, certain jobs require collaboration. Techs may have to work with a colleague or even in groups occasionally to share technical expertise or perform job functions requiring more than two hands.
It’s important that any new hire gels with the rest of the team (in the field and back office), and adds to the cohesion of the mobile workforce. This is especially helpful when the workload increases. Compatibility is a two-way street. If the tech feels comfortable, they will be happier on the job, and become a long-term employee.
Doing Your Homework Pays Off
Finding a great service technician job requires research beyond searching through job listings. Happiness on the job has a great deal to do with how well an employee fits in with the company’s environment, management style, and corporate culture. It’s important for both the tech and the organization to know ahead of time what they are looking for. Asking the right questions and doing research will help find the most compatible working relationship for everyone involved.