How to find a new job by highlighting your aptitude

How do you find a new job by convincing an employer that you can do the job when you don’t have all the experience? In turn how does an employer successfully recruit attitude and aptitude? This article focuses on recruiting attitude and aptitude using a recent hiring example.
Sean Marshall started his career as a Test Engineer for Hubbard Products Ltd. He now works as an HVAC Engineer at Sapphire Cooling Service Ltd having convinced Lee Oliver, the Operations Director that he had the aptitude to do the job.

Sean Marshall HVAC Engineer and author of How to find a new job by highlighting your aptitude working with his father, Mack Marshall
Sean Marshall HVAC Engineer working with his father, Mack Marshall

How to successfully recruit attitude and aptitude

Sean Marshall, HVAC Engineer


Have you always been interested in how things work and how to repair them?
From a young age I’ve always been very hands on. For example, playing with Lego and then working on motorbikes and bicycles. Now I am restoring a 1984 Land Rover Defender replacing every bolt seal and almost every piece of metal including adding an engine that was originally from a Mercedes. I’m also renovating a property that I purchased almost 2 years ago.
Everything mechanical and electrical has always intrigued me; knowing how it works and why it has to do certain things.

Working and finding a job after college

How quickly did you adjust to finding a job and working full time after college?
I adjusted very quickly due to personal circumstances. That’s because I had left college early and so I had almost an anger to make a name for myself and progress.
Has there been a particular person who has been an inspiration or mentor to you?
A big inspiration for me was my father who originally helped me to get a position at Hubbard Products just as an assembler. He’s dedicated his life to working for a better life for my family and moved us all from Zimbabwe to come to the UK. One year once we were in the UK, he spent 311 nights away working. He did this so that my family could have a better life and be where we are today.


What types of equipment did you test?
I was testing commercial refrigeration units ensuring they operated correctly within strict tolerances and would be safe to work with when installed later.
Can you describe the most difficult job/project you worked on?
The most difficult project I worked on was building a CO2 refrigeration unit on my first day of work. I was working alongside my father, and we built it within 24 hours even though it had been scheduled to be built in 60 hours.
What was your favourite piece of equipment? And why?
For me it would be the CO2 booster range because of the cascade system. The cascade system is two systems working together to produce two outcomes. This would be my favourite because of the complexity and diversity of the equipment variation.

CO2 booster range
CO2 booster range

Apart from technical experience, what other skills did you learn or improve?
My time at Hubbard Products improved my planning and also how I handled pressure to meet deadlines.

Finding a job in the field

Why did you want to change roles and find a job in the field?
I’ve always wanted to progress and working in the field was my obvious next step. After being promised for almost a year that I would be furthering my role and knowledge, it seemed to be becoming increasingly less likely. I think it was because I was becoming increasingly more important to the factory.
Why did you think you were the right person for the role of HVAC Engineer?
As I had experience in refrigeration, knowing how the systems work and why they do certain things, I felt I had just enough experience to move forward within the industry with some determination and hard work.
How did you impress Sapphire Cooling Services during your two-day trial?
I’ve always been told to do my best or nothing at all. So, I put my boots on carried my tools and got to work doing whatever work was put in front of me to the best of my abilities.
Why do you think they offered you a job? What did they see ‘in action’ that they could not see on your CV?
It is very hard to portray how hard working and dedicated you can be to a certain role on your CV.

Sean Marshall commercial refrigeration units testing

HVAC Engineer

How are you learning your new role?
I am going in under a trainee position. I am hoping to further my knowledge and as well to apply experience from the trade of being a refrigeration test engineer.
How much of the time are you out onsite? Do you think this is the best way to learn?
I am expecting to be onsite the majority of the time. For me hands on experience is the best; seeing the equipment and how it’s all operated and installed.
Who do you go to within the company for support or advice?
I would follow the chain of command, whoever I’m working with going up to Gary Smith and Lee Oliver.
Do you think it is easier to learn when you are enjoying a job? Why is this?
I completely agree with the statement.
It’s much easier to run to your destination if you enjoy running compared to just enjoying the destination.
It’s a lot easier to do a job that you see as a hobby but a hobby that pays you.
Why would you recommend working as an HVAC Engineer to other people?
It’s a trade that is very sought after. A lot of the younger population don’t know it exists so there are always opportunities open and the chance to progress.
What sort of people are ideal for this work?
Ideal people would be energetic, outgoing, and determined with a methodical personality.

Lee Oliver, Operations Director, Sapphire Cooling Services Ltd

Lee Oliver Operations Director, Sapphire Cooling Services Ltd and contributor to article - How to find a new job by highlighting your aptitude

You have grown successful teams during your career and have interviewed many people who are trying to find a new job. Can you explain your process from interview to trial?
I interviewed Sean and his determination, attitude and maturity really impressed me. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t have on-site experience, so I was considering what to do.
Sean was very determined to convince me that he was the right person, to the point that I agreed to give him a two-day trial.
What happened during the trial?
Sean worked with engineers with decades of experience who aren’t people who give their approval easily. However, he gained their confidence, and I had no hesitation snapping Sean up.
What is happening now he has joined you full time?
He will undergo intensive “on the job” training to learn the trade and build on his skills.
I’m so glad I gave Sean the opportunity to showcase his skills. At one time or another we all need someone to take a bit of a chance on us.

Further reading

Life of a Field Service Technician at Fisher and Paykel
Meet a UK HSEQ Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality Leader

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  1. It was a good level headed and progressive idea to give him a chance to prove himself. The world needs more employers who will give a new “kid” a chance to shine.