Complete List of Most Common Field Technician Interview Questions

By Cristina Maria

Posted On: Posted In: Productivity

sign saying hiring in the field service industry to improve productivity

You can’t increase productivity without good employees. But how do you start hiring new technicians? What questions do you ask in an interview? We’ve reached out to Nick Ouillette, Service Delivery Manager at recruiting firm TalentBurst, and put together for you a quick guide on how to hire for your field service business. Read all the way through to discover our list of field technician interview questions!


Click below to skip to what interests you most:

  1. Where to find good technicians?
  2. How to write a job ad for a field service technician.
  3. How to spot red flags on a resume.
  4. Should you do a Skype interview?
  5. What to ask in a job interview?
  6. List of technician interview questions.

First and foremost, where do you start? Are you planning to simply post your job ad in the local newspaper? A job board at the library? How about trying some of these tips:

1. Where to find good technicians?

If you need to hire technicians but your competitors are snapping up all the good ones, get first dibs on talented prospects while they’re still in school by connecting with local vocational schools.

However, there’s more to it than asking instructors if they have any students about to graduate who would like a field service job. In an article in Columbus CEO, Melissa Kossler Dutton writes that employers “must address some of the challenges career and tech schools face. The schools need clear directives about what skills businesses want, access to the equipment that manufacturers use, internship opportunities for their students and help attracting students with the right aptitude for the work”.

If you have the resources to groom techs at vocational and technical schools through internships or mentorships, this can be a great way to build a pipeline of talent as your field service business grows.

Make your job ad stand out!

How do you write a technician job ad? First, you have to describe your company and make sure that you let them know it’s a great place to work. Maybe you can’t lure techs with wads of cash, but money isn’t the only thing employees are looking for.

Let’s say a technician is deciding between a high-paying company that’s got a rep as a bad place to work and a lower-paying company that employees rave about. There are no guarantees, but the lower-paying business has a pretty good shot at landing that person.

Right now you’re probably huffing and saying, “Yeah, making the ‘Top 100 Companies to Work For’ list sounds very easy”. But according to this Huffington Post article, it mostly comes down to being nice. Treating employees fairly and helping them with their career growth may seem like a no-brainer to many field service business owners, but you’d be shocked at how many employers don’t even do that.

Other benefits trump cold hard cash as well. For example, an article on Truckinginfo says that “offering benefits such as tool allowances, tuition reimbursement and discount programs can tip the scales in your favor”.

Then there are the little extras that simply make a company a fun place to work like contests, magazine subscriptions, thank-you notes for a job well done, and holiday parties. For more inspiration, check out the 101 ideas for incentivising employees without spending money on American Express’s Small Business site.

A friendly office manager, skilled co-workers, top-of-the-line devices, and holiday parties are all great—but these perks won’t help you attract the best technicians if potential hires don’t know about them. That’s where the job ad comes in.

man confused about how to automate reviews

2. How to write a job ad for a field service technician.

First, let’s get the basics down; an ad that’s missing key elements will scare away job-seeking technicians. The Yesware website suggests creating an ad template to make sure you have all the info you need, starting with key questions like these:

  • What’s the exact job title?
  • Where is the company located?
  • Is the job full-time or part-time?
  • Who is your ideal candidate?
  • What does your company value?
  • Who will the technician be working with?
  • What will the technician’s responsibilities be?
  • What skills, experience, or abilities, does a potential hire absolutely have to have?

Once you have the facts down, infuse your ad with personality. Big companies tend to write bone-dry ads that sound like 1950s business memos; you can compete for skilled technicians by creating job ads that showcase your business’s values and character. Don’t be afraid to use humor, be extra-transparent about what it’s like to work for your company (“Things can get chaotic at times”), and brag about the work environment (two words: Pizza Fridays).

One issue that is sure to come up is the salary. Some employers will write down a range and add “dependant on experience” while others would rather keep it private as a negotiation advantage. However, experts at Forbes and The Balance Careers agree that transparency is key, especially if you’ve already bragged about how open your company is. List your salary range to ensure that you’re not wasting your own time on candidates who look and sound fantastic but end up refusing the position because the pay is not what they expected.

man avoiding trap holes at the workplace after he automate reviews

3. How to spot red flags on a resume.

Now that you have your resumes coming in, how do you go about sorting them? Nick Ouillette recommends that you look at:

  • Skills. Do they match this role 100%? Are they 80%? 50%? Are they a ‘no’?
  • Experience level. If you need a technician with five years of experience, how close do they come to that?
  • Budget. Are you able to get someone who’s only an 80% match, but they’re $5 below your budget—or do you have a perfect fit who’s only a couple of dollars above your budget?

Then there are definitely other factors, like location. For example, maybe the candidate is a perfect fit with skills, experience, and cost, but they need to relocate. Another factor is gaps. Do they have a two-year gap in their experience, and can they explain it? Do they work one month on a contract and then jump to another and another, or are they fulfilling six- and 12-month contracts? These factors tie into how you sort the resumes, along with the three categories.

Pay attention to red flags, however. For Nick, gaps are one of the most obvious. “If we have a role that’s a 12-month contract or a permanent role, how likely is it that they’ll want to stay with our company?

A second, more immediate red flag that you see is flexibility—the applicant’s ability and willingness to interview. If we request a job interview for next week and they say, ‘Well, I’m not available then’ or ‘I’m available to interview, but only from 12-12:30 on Wednesday’, I can take that red flag two different ways. One is that they’re in demand. The other is that they’re pushing us off because they have another offer.

Another red flag is attention to detail—simple things such as spelling errors in their resumes or disorganised resumes with seven fonts and crazy highlighting. If they’re not showing attention to detail with this, how are they going to be on the job site? But if they have the experience—if they fit those three buckets of skills, experience, and budget—it’s not as much of a concern. At the end of the day, you can’t expect a tech to be a graphic artist too.”

4. Should you do a Skype interview?

The answer to this question should pretty much always be yes. You don’t have to think of yourself as a tech-savvy company to ask people to do an online interview first. These are easy to set up and don’t have to take more than 10-15 minutes. They will not screen candidates for skills but more for personality and general attitude.

It’s difficult to get a perfect picture from a resume so you can take this opportunity to ask for clarification (on gaps, for example!) and discuss the company’s expectations. If it turns out that this candidate cannot work on weekends and you need someone more flexible, then you’ve saved yourself and them a few hours by not scheduling a face-to-face meeting.

5. What to ask in a job interview?

Your field service technicians are on the front line with customers all day, so it’s essential that they be able to present themselves well, handle difficult customer situations, work independently, troubleshoot common problems, and think on their feet. Asking the right questions during the job interview can help you figure out if a candidate has what it takes—and asking the wrong ones can waste everyone’s time and saddle you with a nightmare employee. (No pressure!)

Position-Specific Questions

Position-specific questions let you know whether the candidate has the basic qualifications for the job. For example:

  • Do you have a clean driving record?
  • What kind of training or certifications do you have?
  • What’s the first step you’d take when diagnosing a fault in a customer’s boiler?
  • What’s the most common type of plumbing issue you’ve handled?

Motivational Questions

Finding out what motivates candidates and what their goals and ideals are can give you a sneak peek at their future performance, according to Geoff Hoppe in his article 5 Essential Field Service Interview Questions on the Capterra blog. While this article is for field service job candidates, you can borrow the questions for your own interviews. Motivational questions include:

  • Describe your ideal boss.
  • What would a major ‘win’ look like for you?
  • What did you like best about your last job?
  • Where would you like to be in the next year (five years, 10 years)?

The way a candidate answers motivational questions can reveal just as much about them as their actual answer. For example, if they can’t find a single positive thing to say about their last job or they need five minutes to come up with an answer to a question, they may not be the right field service technician for you.

Behavioural Questions

In their article, Workable suggests asking questions that reveal the candidate’s personality and how they would handle various situations in the field. Behavioural questions include:

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with an angry customer. How did you handle their complaints?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far as a field service technician, and how did you handle it?
  • What new skills would you like to learn as a field service technician?

Listen carefully to the answers. For example, does the candidate sound excited about the idea of learning new skills? Do they handle customer conflict well? Can they deal with problems in the field without having to ask for help?

Curveball Questions

Hiring employees is time-consuming and expensive, and it stinks when it quickly becomes clear that your newest hire won’t work out.

“We can blame eighty-nine percent of hiring failures on a poor cultural fit”, says Erika Andersen of Forbes. Asking curveball questions during the job interview can help head off this problem by revealing whether the candidate will jibe with your company culture. Thus, some oddball examples:

  • What’s the first thing you should do in a zombie apocalypse?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer. (This one is from Jobsite’s article on curveball questions.)
  • What’s something you believe that no one else agrees with you on?
  • Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses? (Whole Foods interviewers ask this question, according to Glassdoor.)

The candidate’s answers to curveball questions—and also the way they react when they’re hit with weirdo queries like these—will show whether they have the confidence, humor, or smarts to make it as an employee in your business.

how to answer negative reviews on a laptop screen field technician interview questions

6. List of field technician interview questions.

Feel free to add your preferred questions. However, if you’re looking for a standard interview when you’re hiring for your field service business, then this is a great start:

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself.
  2. I have your resume here but I’d like you to walk me through your work experience.
  3. What kind of training or certifications do you have?
  4. Now, let’s talk about how you deal with jobs. What’s the first step you take when diagnosing a fault in a customer’s boiler?
  5. What’s the most common type of issue you’ve handled?
  6. If you’re faced with a problem that you don’t know how to solve, what do you do?
  7. Tell me about a time when you dealt with an angry customer. How did you handle their complaints?
  8. What new skills would you like to learn as a field service tech?
  9. If you had to fight a Transformer and you could take one tool from your van, what would it be and why?

All this great new talent has produce some great results! Click below to download your free field service KPI spreadsheet and take your business to the next level!

free download spreadsheet to calculate KPI
 

Related Blog Posts