Energy Job Hunters: There Has to be a Balance

March 12, 2011

Career, Energy Job Hunters

Recently, I posted a hiring manager’s suggestion for breaking into the energy efficiency industry. Today, dear readers, I bring to you a recruiter’s experience in hiring energy professionals.

Robyn has been recruiting energy efficiency professionals since 2008. She has recruited and hired over 100 energy advisors, energy engineers, program managers, and project coordinators in this booming industry over the past few years. Robyn has great insight into the struggles of finding qualified candidates to fill the many openings in the energy efficiency industry – and she was kind enough to share those with you here.

Me: What area(s) do you find to be the most lacking across the pool of candidates you see? … In other words, what things would you love to/need to see more of in your interviews?

Robyn: My ideal candidate can spend time walking through facilities “selling” the program, and then also spend time in the office calculating the energy savings for various technology upgrades.  What I have typically been finding are very technical candidates who aren’t comfortable talking with people, or candidates with a lot of sales experience who can’t grasp the technical side of the position.  There has to be a balance, and it can be very difficult to find.

Robyn couldn’t be more accurate about the need for balance in this industry. There is a huge need for technical aptitude and there is also an equal need for those who can effectively interact with customers.

For those of you who are engineering or technical geniuses, I suggest you brush up on your people skills. Learn to talk about the human side of energy efficiency – selling case studies, anecdotal evidence, and empathy. Being able to communicate with an array of people is essential for success in an industry where conversation is the biggest sales opportunity.

For those of you who are people-savvy smooth talkers, spend some time with the numbers. There are lot of great resources available to help you beef up on your technical aptitudes, but one great text is Guide to Energy Management. It’s chock full of a ton of awesome energy efficiency applications, financial calculations for energy upgrades, and energy savings math problems. If you’re great at selling, you’ve also got to be great at the technical background and math behind your product.

The bottom line: diversify your palette. Do what you need to do to ensure your technical knowledge and people skills are well-balanced. Whether it’s in the energy efficiency industry or on a charter fishing boat, you will edge out your single-faceted competition every time if you bring it… and bring ALL of it.

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4 Comments on “Energy Job Hunters: There Has to be a Balance”

  1. Tom Says:

    Yeah Robyn! I agree with you and Meg both. You gotta have both skills for sure…really!


  2. Mark W. Says:

    I briefly looked over the ‘Guide to Energy Management’ handbook from the Google Books site. I had no idea the breath and scope of the energy management field! I’ll check it out later when I want to do some light reading. 🙂 I now have to believe there are specialties within the industry as I noticed there are numerous contributors to the book besides just the three authors.


    • Madam Energy Says:

      Mark, the book is seriously amazing. I used it as a textbook for two classes and now I refer to it very often (mostly for the financial calcs these days). It’s one of the books used in the training course for Certified Energy Manager tests.



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