If you’re nearing the completion of your HVAC certification program, you may be wondering what to expect from the job searching process. Tracking down openings and filling out applications can be time-consuming, and preparing for your first job interview can be even more nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never held a professional job in this industry.
Fortunately, most HVAC professionals are looking for similar qualities and skills in an employee, so learning more about the types of questions and problems you’re likely to face during your first job interview can help you give the best possible answers. Read on to learn more about some common interview questions you may be able to expect when applying for jobs in the HVAC industry.
#1: Tell Me About Yourself
This open-ended question is a favorite of interviewers in just about every career field. However, it can be easy to throw off the entire pace and tone of an interview by giving a rambling or irrelevant answer, so you’ll want to do a bit of extra preparation for this question.
When an interviewer asks you to tell him or her about yourself, what they’d really like to hear is a brief snapshot of who you are as a person and why you’d be a good fit for the job you’re seeking. You may want to devote just a few sentences to your birthplace, your training, and when or where your interest in a career in the HVAC industry began, then moving to the requirements of the job and why you think you’re the best candidate.
If you notice your interviewer begin to lose eye contact or start nodding in a methodical manner, that may be a subconscious indication that it’s time to wrap up this question and move on to the next one.
#2: What Experience Do You Have?
This question can sound simple but often seeks a multi-layered answer. Even if you haven’t held down a paying job in the HVAC field, your education can provide you with some relevant experience. You’ll also want to point out any certifications you have and how and when you acquired them.
Often, prior experience in a different industry may still be relevant in an HVAC job interview. For example, if you previously worked in a retail or food service position, you’ll be able to play up your skills at customer service; former cashiers can discuss how their HVAC training helped hone already-strong mathematical skills.
#3: How Would You Handle a Difficult Customer?
Your job in the HVAC field won’t only involve installing and servicing heating and air conditioning systems; you’ll also be required to confer with homeowners, answer questions, and, in some cases, deliver unpleasant news. By demonstrating that you’d be able to politely and ably handle even the angriest customer, you’ll inspire confidence that you can be sent into the field without causing worrying about future customer complaints.
#4: Can You Show Me…
Many HVAC interviews will include a hands-on component where you’ll be required to demonstrate your skills or knowledge in a genuine HVAC repair situation. This can often be the most nerve-wracking part of the interview—it’s one thing to try your hand at HVAC repairs in a classroom or lab situation, but quite another to perform these repairs under the watchful eyes of your potential future boss.
It’s important to take your time during this process; while you may be tempted to rush to prove that you’ll be able to keep up with even the most experienced technicians, doing so can often lead to sloppy mistakes, lowering your value in the eyes of a potential employer.
#5: What Salary Are You Seeking?
Often, a question about your salary requirements may take you aback. Even if you’ve given some thought to the income you’d like to generate from your first HVAC position, you may feel somewhat uncomfortable being the first person to put out a number. Doing some research into the average starting salaries for HVAC technicians in your area can give you a better idea of what to expect and what your skills are likely worth.
You don’t want to price yourself out of a job by throwing out a too-high number, but it’s also important to negotiate for a fair market wage; otherwise, you may find your pay lagging for years after you’ve acquired your first post-certification job. By arming yourself with information prior to the interview, you’ll be able to give an answer that demonstrates you’re aware of your own worth but are also willing to put in the necessary work to be promoted up the ladder.
Performing some introspective thinking before your interview and even practicing answering a few of these questions in a mirror can leave you feeling prepared and confident, helping you secure the technician job you’ve spent years training to perform.