Find Your Next Star Technician
Last month, I took a look at how one shop approaches recruiting. But one of his other sources leads into another part of our story on a company that is trying to solve our recruiting issues. That company is Find a Wrench, which Jay Goninen founded. Jay grew up working in his family’s automotive shop in Wisconsin. He found his skillset to be better served in the management roles, but he kept coming into issues regarding recruiting good technicians. He tried recruiting companies, which was a good solution for other businesses but the pay rates and knowledge needed for properly recruiting in our space always led to frustrations on both sides. Jay knew from recruiters that the need for boots on the ground, industry knowledge and the fee structure prohibited owners from really being able to utilize this opportunity. Jay then decided to combine industry knowledge, high-quality recruiters and an affordable fee structure to found the company called Find a Wrench.
With the industry knowledge and experienced recruiter knowledge they found that a one-size-fits-all strategy was not the right answer. Therefore, they looked at how technicians of all ages and expertise looked at information or found new jobs. They created a combination program of boots on the ground, Facebook, texting, automotive sites, career sites and proactive calls to go into a market and actively recruit for the technicians needed for shops.
One of the best tools they found was through Facebook. According to Jay, there are over 2.2 billion active users each month and using ads that grab people’s attention has been one great solution for recruiting in their communities. They work to target the right demographic and get consistent results with the right campaigns. However, many shop owners will spend money in the wrong areas and take time away from much-needed operations.
Jay said that many shop owners start by not putting out ads or employment opportunities on their own websites. Today, most valuable potential employees will start their research of your company on the website. If there’s not an easy way to apply or find open positions, then the search will end right here. The second biggest mistake that shops make is that they stop recruiting when they are slow and start recruiting when they are really busy. This is the worst approach to take. You need to be recruiting all the time but especially when all shops are slow. This is when technicians are looking because that’s usually when they may not be getting the hours they want and are more willing to look at other options. If you are busy and your competitors are busy, the technicians you want are probably getting more than enough hours. Also, when you are finally blown out, you don’t have time to recruit or train the right way. So, you are potentially setting up a new technician to be thrown in the fire and possibly have cultural issues along the way, which will perpetuate a bad reputation in the area and kill future recruiting (we all know it’s a small world).
Jay said that if you just plan to recruit with a basic focus on, “what do you want to make,” then you probably won’t recruit well in your area. All techs want a fair pay plan with great opportunities for a lot of hours. However, they can get that anywhere; so why are you different? Technicians want options for pay on billable hours, benefits, days off, great reputation shop, investment in training, engagement to grow the business, fair pay for hard work and more. The main thing to remember is that you need to know all pay plans, reputations and benefits that are being offered in your area, find out what’s important to each of the potential candidates you are talking to and then figure out how to think outside the box to help them accomplish those goals at your business.
Jay does suggest that you should be involved in your community and in front of future talent. You should be a known face at tech schools, unemployment office, the military recruiting groups in your area, and at some vendor training programs. Each community is different, so by being active in all facets, you will have a chance to touch every possible manager and technician in your area.
Finally, beyond using Find a Wrench’s full recruiting program, owners can take advantage of the new assisted self-recruiting program.” This hybrid plan means they will post ads on all networks, weed through the candidates and only provide owners with resumes that meet minimum qualifications.
The main thing to remember is that recruiting never ends and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Employees are different ages, have different goals, come to you from different places, and want different options. If you are active in your community, consistently recruit every week, offer flexible pay/benefit plans based on technicians goals, then you will probably be better than 60 percent of the shops in your area. However, if you plan to engage your team, train your team, get involved in the community, and become the place where people want to come to work, then you will be in the top 99 percent of shops in your area and recruiting issues will be a thing of the past.