Hiring technicians today is more than putting bodies in service bays. These team members have to have the right skill set, possess a strong work ethic, be able to get along with others, and understand customer needs. This comes at a time when there’s a tight talent pool, constant training requirements, and high turnover.
It’s challenging for fixed operations managers and service department heads, many of whom have realized that a strategic approach to hiring is necessary. Let’s explore what this involves.
Take a comprehensive hiring approach
There’s an art to hiring (and hiring the right people)—here are the steps to consider.
Use clear recruitment ads
A well-crafted help wanted ad saves everyone time because candidates can self-select if your dealership offers the right position and workplace. Be certain to include a detailed job description.
Establish a referral network
Job boards only go so far in attracting talent. Create or expand relationships with trade schools and vocational programs to get early access to job seekers. Assess if your employee referral program could use a revamp. And create networking events that highlight your dealership to outside technicians.
Create a structured interview process
Being consistent during interviews minimizes bias and ensures fairness. The questions should cover experience, skills, and cultural fit.
Build a strong employer brand
In many markets, qualified technicians have their choice of employer. Creating a strong and inviting brand separates your dealership from the competition.
Highlight values and culture
For most technicians, there’s more to work than life in a service bay; these professionals want to feel supported and welcomed. Use every opportunity, including job listings and social media posts, to highlight how your dealership’s mission, values, and culture make it an ideal workplace.
Emphasize career advancement opportunities
Top technicians are attracted to opportunities to expand their skills and professional growth. Showcasing training programs and career development initiatives demonstrates how technicians advance at your dealership.
Offer competitive compensation
No matter how inviting your business is to technician candidates, its appeal will fall flat without a competitive pay and benefits package. Be certain that salary, incentives, insurance, retirement, and other offerings are at least on par with the competition.
Look for essential skills
Technicians must possess a fundamental skill set to work in today’s fast-paced service departments. Here’s what to look for when hiring.
A qualified technician needs a baseline ability to diagnose problems and fix them. This comes from a comprehensive understanding of automotive systems through training and industry certifications.
Critical thinking and problem-solving are essential traits of high-performing technicians. Any candidate under consideration should be able to readily apply creative solutions to new work challenges that arise.
Attention to detail
Poor-quality work affects customer satisfaction scores. The most effective way to avoid these issues is by targeting technician candidates focused on accuracy and precision.
Evaluate soft skills
While a technician may be proficient at repairing cars, their abilities will fall short if they’re not well-suited to your dealership’s workplace and culture. Measure how their soft skills mesh with your service department.
Today’s technicians can’t survive with grunts and one-word sentences. They need to communicate with supervisors and co-workers and explain technical issues to customers. Sharp listening skills are equally important.
Successful technician candidates understand how collaboration leads to a smooth-running service department. They can’t spend their workday isolated underneath a car. There has to be a willingness to support co-workers and contribute to team spirit.
Thriving technicians can roll with the punches. This adaptability is vital as automotive technology constantly evolves and workplace challenges surface every day.
Assess customer service skills
Every dollar generated by fixed ops comes from service. So, hiring those with a customer service mindset is vital. Even if a technician has minimal interaction with the public, having these skills will help in the long run.
A well-rounded technician will empathize with each customer’s plight and understand their concerns. Being able to see things from the customer’s perspective helps deliver a complete and satisfying service department experience.
A technician with a professional demeanor and courteous technique for customer interactions will help your service department shine. This approach should be the rule, not the exception.
Problems arise in every service department. However, the way these issues are handled makes a difference. A technician should be able to address customer concerns and find a remedy in a timely manner. Follow-up skills are especially vital, even if this only involves providing updates to the service advisor.