Calling all techs...
The lifeblood of any auto repair shop, talented techs can make or break your business. Finding these exceptional employees can be difficult; it’s enough to keep you up at night. With an aging workforce and decreased interest among younger workers, the shortage of auto techs is not going away any time soon; hiring will continue to be a challenge.
Not too long ago, hiring a new tech meant putting a help wanted ad in the newspaper and waiting for the applications to roll in. To keep your shop staffed with skilled technicians, you need to consider using new strategies. Changing up your approach to hiring can produce powerful results. Remember, if you continue to look in the same places or use the same methods for hiring, you’ll get the same results.
It’s no secret that your next tech is likely looking for job opportunities online, so meet potential candidates where you know they’ll be searching. Start by posting your opening on job boards like indeed.com, careerbuilder.com, monster.com, linkedin.com and job.com. Also advertise job openings on your shop’s social media pages. Not only can you reach potential employees, but they get a chance to get to know your company and its culture.
Don’t forget about your shop’s website. Is there a Careers or Jobs section with job openings posted? Can interested applicants apply for an opening on your website? Be sure to test out your site making sure it is easy for prospective employees to find and apply for job opening on your site. Work with your website developer to address any issues that keeps the application process from being easy and intuitive to complete.
Institute a referral incentive
Your best advertising for your shop are your current employees, customers and vendor partners who know you best. Establish a referral incentive program where you provide a monetary reward for each successful job candidate lead that you receive. Make it a powerful incentive; you need to make it worth their time and effort.
Rather than paying the standard $100 per lead, consider upping the ante. You could increase the payment and pay out ½ when the technician starts and pay the other half when they complete their probation period or another set timeframe.
Grow your own employees
Contact local high schools to search for a co-op student. Even if the schools in your area don’t have an automotive vocational program, you still might find an interested student to bring on board. Doing this has many advantages. First, you are exposing a young person to the industry that otherwise may not have considered becoming an auto tech as a career. Introducing young workers to the auto industry will go a long way to reducing the tech crunch.
If the student is a good fit, you can give them more and more responsibility. Basically you are training them for a future position with your shop. It’s your chance to teach them how your shop operates; no bad habits from other shops. After graduation you’ll have the opportunity to offer them a full-time spot.
Search local community colleges and tech schools
Is there an automotive tech school in your area or does your local community college offer an auto program? These can be a great source of potential employees. Attend campus job fairs and consider hiring an intern from the program. Like a high school co-op student, it can be a win-win for both parties. They get valuable real-word experience and you get a person with some training that could develop into a full-time position down the road.
Once you have hired an intern and attend the job fairs on campus, take the relationship to the next level. Maybe you host a class in your shop for some hands-on experience or become an advisor who helps shape the curriculum. You get the chance to not only meet more of the techs of tomorrow, but also help improve their training.
Build a professional referral network
Strategic partnerships can also work for hiring. Just interviewed a terrific candidate that isn’t the right fit for your shop? Refer that person to a shop in your professional network that you think could use them. In turn, that business will keep you in mind the next time they interview a talented tech that would be a better fit in your shop. These professional alliances can help ensure that capable techs don’t leave the profession.
Remember our veterans
Returning members of the military can be a great source of talent for your shop. Many of these veterans have skills and know-how that fit well in a shop environment – they just need someone to give them the opportunity to put their talents to work.. Recruitmilitary.com is a site that connects employers and veterans together. Post your job on their job board, search through thousands of profiles, or attend a job fair to find the right candidate for your job.
Don’t completely write off traditional media. Evaluate each type of media to ensure that it is giving you good return on your money. Is your local newspaper popular? It could pay off to put a help wanted ad in the print and online editions. Same goes for your local radio stations. Trade publications could also be a good place to advertise your job opening. With an audience interested in the automotive industry, you can be assured that you are reaching your intended targets.