Samantha Barrette had zero experience taking apart and repairing appliances when she started the Appliance Service Technician program at Herzing College.
Just eight months later, she landed her dream job as an appliance technician with Trans Global Service. Trans Global is Canada's largest appliance service and installation company, with 300 employees and operations all across the country.
And she got that job even though Trans Global had announced a hiring freeze and wasn't officially looking for new technicians.
We interviewed Samantha last week to find out how she landed such a great position and how things are going in her new job.
We also got her opinion on Herzing's Appliance Service Technician program, what it's like to be a female technician, and her daily life on the job.
Here's what we found out.
Q: Samantha, when did you first realize you wanted a career in the trades?
Samantha: Any career options I’ve ever thought of pursuing have always been hands-on. When an opportunity presented itself to take an appliance service technician course, I applied without a second thought.
Q: What inspired you to choose appliance repair?
Samantha: I was rethinking career choices a year and a half ago when a friend of mine was talking to me about his appliance technician program. Every time I heard about the program, it intrigued me more and more.
Q: How did you end up at Herzing College Skilled Trades Training?
Samantha: The friend that had gotten me interested in the appliance program had been going to Herzing College at the time. His admiration for his instructor, Charles Reid, was a compelling factor for me.
Q: What was your favourite part of Appliance Service Technician training...and what was the most challenging?
Samantha: I really liked the program overall, so it's difficult to pick a favourite moment. Though if I truly had to choose, the hands-on portion of the program was quite enjoyable.
As for what I found most challenging, though very amusing, would’ve been discovering how to take apart the appliances without any prior experience
Q: Did Trans Global hire you straight out of the Appliance Service Technician program? What was the process?
Samantha: Trans Global Service hired me about two months after I had graduated. When I had first contacted them, they were on a hiring freeze but seemed interested. I followed up with them a month after and was offered an interview. Less than one week after my interview I was offered a position.
Side note: We spoke with Christine Azevedo, Associate Director of Career Development at Herzing, about the hiring process at Trans Global. She explained that although Trans Global had a hiring freeze when the appliance service technician class was graduating, she kept calling them, trying to get interviews for grads:
"After continuing to call and check in with them for several weeks, I discovered that even though there was an official hiring freeze, students could follow up with Trans Global directly and still get interviews. Sometimes companies do this to see which candidates are truly interested...like a test. We always encourage students to call companies directly, even if they say they're not hiring. Several of our appliance service technician graduates ended up getting interviews, including Samantha."
Q: Samantha, what's your job like at Trans Global? What's a typical day for you?
Samantha: Trans Global Service is a very good company to work for. A typical day in the life of an appliance technician is to service approximately eight calls a day.
In the morning, we start by calling customers to give them time frames for when we'll be coming by, receiving parts, and returning parts.
I go into the customer’s homes to inspect and diagnose the problems they’re having with their appliance.
If a new part is required, I return after we have received the new part and replace it. After that, the unit will be tested to make sure everything is up to manufacturer standards before I’m on my way.
Q: What are the most important skills for appliance service techs? What does it take to really stand out and impress your managers?
Samantha: It’s hard to choose between problem-solving and customer service. The technician needs good problem-solving skills to diagnose properly what is wrong with an appliance.
It is crucial for when the work is not covered under warranty, or it may cost the customer or the business a lot of money. Therefore, diagnosing it right the first time is ideal.
Customer service is also very important. On every call I do, customer service comes into play. Sometimes things go wrong, such as the wrong part is delivered, the part is faulty, or the part is damaged.
In situations like these, you need the ability to calm down a frustrated customer, professionally and politely.
Q: What's it like being a woman in this field? What are the biggest pros and cons for you?
Samantha: Being a female in the field, I get all kinds of reactions. Some customers are surprised, though I haven’t found too much backlash. I do get a lot of women saying “girl power!” as they pump their fist in the air.
I would say the biggest pro is that a lot of the female customers seem to be excited and really enjoy the experience. On the other hand, as much as I would love to view myself as strong, I have a smaller build, which makes it difficult to move certain appliances.
I always say “if there’s a will there’s a way,” but once a fridge gets stuck between tiles, the difficulty level really increases. So to me, that is a big con. The challenge of moving heavier items was also a con while training at Herzing, although I had a great class partner to help me with those struggles.
Overall, being a female technician spikes a lot of attention from customers. Thankfully, it's mostly positive.
Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What's your dream job in the appliance repair field?
Samantha: In five years, I see myself still working for Trans Global Service. Going into the program, this is the exact job I had wanted. It was never my dream to open up my own business and I’m content with my position.
Q: Any last words of advice for future appliance service technician students?
Samantha: For future appliance technician students, I advise you to take advantage of the appliances in the Herzing shop.
Discover how to take everything out and off of the appliances and put them back together. This has helped me on many jobs.
I don’t need to look online for instructions or use up too much time trying to tinker around in someone’s home on their appliance, because I have the experience. It saves time and boosts your confidence.
Thank you Samantha for taking the time to talk with us. We're very proud of your performance in the Appliance Service Technician program and your success at Trans Global Service. We know you'll have a long and rewarding career in this field.
Learn More About the Appliance Service Technician program
Herzing College offers a comprehensive 24-week appliance service technician program.
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