How To Hire Auto Technicians In An Aggressive/Competitive Market

If I've heard this once I've heard it 1,000 times. "We've tried all the traditional means to find techs, from dangling 'We're hiring Techs' banners out front, to newspaper ads, to radio spots, to online job postings, to auto specific job boards. We've even tried offering finder's fees to our internal employees, but we JUST CAN'T FIND ANY TECHNICIANS AND NOW we just don't know where to turn, so we heard about your company and figured we've tried everything else so what do we have to lose! Tell me about your Tech Finder Program."

I must admit, it's not the most warm and fuzzy way to start out a conversation, but I certainly do understand our dealers' frustrations and can definitely hear it in their voices. 

Rest assured there is a way you can successfully recruit technicians WITH, or WITHOUT our company alongside to help you. There are a couple key things you must have in place in order do this with any level of success. In addition, you must also have a strategy and a process to follow.

Two things you must already have in place at your dealership:

  1. A fast on boarding process. We recommend seven days from start to finish. From the time you first meet the applicants until the minute they punch their own time card should be less than seven days. Don't be discouraged if you don't have that in place yet. It's easy and very important to implement which is why it's the first thing I mentioned. We have some clients who have a three week on boarding process and they lose upwards of 50% of their total invites over that twenty-one day period. Why work so hard to have applicants apply only to give them 3 weeks to go back to their shops and start talking about their job opportunities to anyone who will listen? When the boss finds out, he'll just offer him/her a raise and your back to square one. (Ask me about our contingency job offer agreement. I'll provide it to you for free and it works to make sure you can offer a job, but contingent upon your background, drug test, DMV, and other pre-employment checks you must do in order to say someone actually works for your dealership) That way you can offer them a "job" on the spot and still be legal. Just make sure they sign the contingency agreement!
  2. You must have someone like the General Manager, Service Director, or Service Manager agree to be available whenever a candidate has agreed to come in or to do a phone interview. Also, you must have that candidate begin the interview process within twenty-four hours of their initial application. Twenty-four SECONDS would be preferable for first contact and I will be discussing how you can get 24 second notice every time an A+ player applies to work for your dealership. But for now let's tackle one major issue at time. Just know that after a full day has passed you begin losing candidates exponentially every twenty-four hour period. The key is to move quickly with those applicants and not wait around and let them get cold sitting in your HR rep's in box. Sorry HR, but in most cases, it's true. The fix to quick response time is much easier than you may think! One of my next articles on that will be titled, "The 24 second applicant response time: Why it's important and how to make it a reality in your dealership." I know it's not a very creative title, but it is accurate, self descriptive and true, and when I post it I think you're going to want to read it!

Now, let's talk strategy and process.

  1. High volume access to a large number of technician candidates: Access isn't the most important thing in the world, but when it comes to tech finding it does rank right up there with oxygen! Why? quite simply because every technician worth his/her weight in tools already has a job and is not actively seeking employment. This means that they are NOT ACTIVE job seekers: They are PASSIVE job seekers and must be sought out and contacted by you in order to know you're even offering a tech job. They're not looking up, going to, or responding to any job postings, newspaper ads, career fairs, social sites, or stopping at your dealership because they saw a sign out front. So, whether that means you get access to them through resume campaigns, or harvesting them from the internet, or you acquire a robust and viable list somewhere and then reach out to them by phone or email you've got to gain access. OR, you can simply have us do it for you. (which of course is much faster and easier)

No matter how you get there, you MUST have access to passive candidates. Right now in these market conditions, passive applicants is just about all you've got to work with. There are very few if any UNEMPLOYED techs out there BUT, there ARE plenty of UNDER-EMPLOYED ONES! Get to them and your battle is half over. You might say, "wow, that was insightful, Kevin...Thanks for nothing. We already knew that, but no one knows where they are!" WRONG ANSWER! They're out there and you CAN find them! Just not with big job board companies and their subpar source and screen services. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not a fan of Careerbuilder at all! They're trying to duplicate programs we create that should be run by recruiters. They're getting it wrong, taking market share from those of us who do it right, and to top it all off they are under performing and lowering our dealer's expectations. I wrote about that in an article called "In Their Own Words." I imagine I will have to expound on this in coming articles. Sourcing applicants is a combination of art and science and candidate access is king! Let me know if you would like more info on that and I'll tilt my hand a bit more in coming articles. At some point if you're going to try this on your own you need to get your hands dirty in the candidate access mine field. For a quick fix and access to 60 million applicants a month, you can also read my article on LinkedIn at "How To Recruit Top Talent For Your Dealership From Craigslist" or you can find it on our web site at:

  1. Once you access to the applicants you must have a CALL TO ACTION to get their attention. This is the other half of that battle I was writing about earlier. Here's one of the ones that we use and it works pretty well at getting the candidate's attention. "Guaranteed pay raise with job offer!" You have to give them a reason to be interested in looking further into this opportunity. Just getting an email, or phone call to them is not enough. The call to action must motivate them to WANT to know more and start to follow the information trail you're creating for them. An added advantage to the dealership offering a guaranteed pay raise with a job offer is that the applicant must disclose to the interviewing manager what they are making (NOT ILLEGAL) if they want a the raise, and that means no guessing games for you! If they prove their income and it's too high for your dealership's pay plan then you simply don't make the job offer! Keep the relationship and when the time is right they may be back around. Once you have all this in place you simply keep it going. Keep sourcing for candidates on a daily basis to keep your pipeline full, and yes, even though I know you know it's coming... We can do that for you for a very low monthly fee. Much less cost with much greater success than you can do it on your own. If that were not the case I assure you I would not be writing this piece.

In summary, attracting and recruiting technicians to work for your dealership is possible. You just need to make sure you have the right tools. You need a rapid on boarding system at the dealership already in place. Feel free to reach out to me if you want our assistance with that part as well. We can help you in more ways than you can possibly imagine, and yes I already know how dealing with HR can be like swatting a hornet's nest. We can empower you with tools so you can navigate even the toughest HR director. You also need to deploy a good strategy and process that includes a call to action, and a quick intro to your hiring manager. Once your applicant flow starts coming in you'll begin to make smarter LESS DESPERATE choices about who you hire. The good techs ARE out there people. You just have to know how to get them to your door. This should help!

©TK Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2014 General inquiries should be directed to our offices located at 1482 Bloomingdale Ave. Valrico, FL 33596 P:813-571-2200 Email: Author and Owner of this content is Kevin Bradberry (President/CEO) TK Worldwide, Inc. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by the TK Worldwide, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or re-transmission other than a full article share, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission by the author. Any violation of copyrights will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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