Running a Shop Hiring Human Resources

Writing an Effective Job Ad

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It’s no secret that young, talented students graduating from technical schools are in high demand. But shops don’t always do an effective job of selling themselves in job advertisements. Dave Schedin, principal consultant at CompuTrek Automotive Management Systems, says owners need to get better at addressing the factors that make their business attractive to work for, and not just the basic requirements.

Schedin, who coaches and trains shop owners through the hiring process, outlines his top tips for writing an effective job ad.

This process is more than placing an ad. It requires that the owner truly understands what they want in that person. You have to understand what you want out of the position. The ad’s No. 1 purpose is to make the applicant want to pick up the phone and call. 

In the past, ads used to be limited in their word count because they were generally print ads. In today’s market, newspaper ads are going by the wayside with the advent of Craigslist and Angie’s List. You are now able to put more verbiage in the ad without a huge expense. We don’t want the ad to do all the selling for us, but we want it to create value. 

Let’s start with the basic set of information that every ad should have. We have found that job advertisements that do not include the following basic details tend to get skipped over: 

  • Creative Job Title. The job title is the first thing that people look at. Although repair shops tend to have fairly standard titles for shop positions, I do encourage owners to get more creative with job titles. Try to be as specific as you can. For example, while nobody really knows what an “advisor” means, “customer relations service consultant” is more specific and also communicates the values you’re looking for. 
  • Specific Qualifications. In addition, you will want to list the exact type of technician and skill set you need and any minimum experience requirements or qualifications. Think critically about this: Do you have the time and resources to help grow a new tech with little experience? 
  • Job Specifics. I would also mention how employees are paid, work hours and if a background check is required. These basics will eliminate people who are absolutely not right for the job.

Now we get into explaining your culture. It goes without saying that new hires can have a large impact on the culture of your business. Make sure to include specific personality characteristics you’re looking for in applicants and explain your core business philosophies. Talk about what the shop has created or is trying to create. The traits you choose will also inherently reveal the culture you’re looking for.

Selling the candidate on your shop starts with highlighting your differentiators. You want to make the candidate curious about your shop. Start by making a list of all the things associated with the specific job or your shop that would make it appealing to others. That could be details of the benefits package, days off, financial assistance for additional training, a tool allowance, or ownership structure. The point is, you want to show applicants that you care about your employees and want to help them further their careers.

All candidates want to see that there is forward momentum at your shop. You need to show why your shop will offer better job satisfaction compared to other locations. 

To start, you have to show job security and financial strength. Let candidates know how long you have been in operation, your average monthly car count and growth you’ve experienced. You may also want to explain your work mix or if you specialize in certain makes, and tool investments you have made. Highlight the various types of new equipment that your facility has, which will show that you like to remain on the cutting edge. 

Another thing you will want to consider is the location of your shop. If you’re in a metropolitan area where there are a lot of people to draw from, the typical ad will work well. But if you’re in a rural area, you will have to sell the lifestyle of the community in which you live in the ad. For example, highlight the great schools, peaceful environment, lack of commute, family friendly. Having a moving bonus is another way attract people. We have found that many people are willing to relocate, but you need to show that you are serious about taking care of them.

Finally, you need to keep your ad fresh. If your ad has been up for two or three weeks, it’s time to switch up the wording. If applicants notice that the ad has been up for a while, they will assume you haven’t hired anybody yet and that it must not be a great place to work. Do not let an ad sit for more than 30 days before refreshing it. 

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