Recruiting technicians is never a hard job. The real difficulty is recruiting technicians worth your money and time. Too often in my career as a technician was I forced to work with new hires that had too little skill and knowledge to even be safe to work with. One nearly dropped a car on me, and another blew an engine when he thought he could just use pure water instead of coolant. Most shops that avoid these issues do so by using a few basic rules in their recruitment and onboarding processes.
Recruitment. It’s a process.
For recruiting, it follows common sense to go where knowledge is found. Try to start programs and make connections with high school shop classes and vocational schools in your area. I received my first tech job at a dealership when the service manager called my teacher at Lincoln Technical Institute looking for talent. He also called the UTI campus across town and found two more. The other two still work there 6 years later and went from general service to mid-level techs that are well worth all the dealership invested in them.
After you find a few schools to gather resumes from, it’s time to start the interview process. Look for resumes that are relatively local, reflect a comfort with technology, and appear well thought out and organized. Once you have your short list of candidates, begin your interviews. You will want candidates who respond promptly to schedule an interview, and who do not need more than one reschedule (we all make mistakes, right?). For the interview, ask questions about their character more than trying to assess their knowledge and skill. If they have gone to school, they will know as much as they need to perform general maintenance and clean floors. Ask questions such as “Why do you wish to be an automotive tech?”, “How do you handle stress/conflict? Give me an example of this.”, and “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” These questions will help you understand how the candidate is motivated, how they view team members, and how they view themself. Also, make sure they have their own tools. They don’t need a giant Master Series box from Snap-On, but they should own a wrench if they want to turn them for a living.
Now you have them, you need to keep them.
Most importantly, invest in the new recruits. It’s not enough to find talented and knowledgeable technicians, you also need to help them be a member of your team. A great onboarding process is the key to success here. Do a walkthrough with your new recruit, introduce them to their new coworkers and show them all of the safety equipment first. Bring them to the area they will be
working in and show them how to safely operate the lift they will be using, and let them settle in with their new team. Over the next two weeks, keep checking in with them to make sure they are fitting in well and understand the flow of the shop.
Try not to overload them with too much information in one day, and remember that it will take them about two weeks just to remember people’s names and where to put shop equipment. Once they are eased into the workflow and processes, begin training them for the next position. Employment is a two way street, and if you stop investing them, they will stop investing in you.