Recruiting: The #1 issue any and every business owner is facing today. Across each industry, owners are struggling to attract, keep, and train new talent. To be successful in today’s job climate, a business needs to be laser-focused on and constantly putting work into their recruiting practices.
DRIVE client Jimmy Holman of Earhart’s Collision & Automotive Service has been part of the recruiting game for as long as he’s been in business. Earhart’s is family owned and known for its culture, it’s a place their employees and others want to work at. The shop is located in Wenatchee, Washington the gorgeous north-central part of the state. Known as the apple capital of the world for its many beautiful orchards, Jimmy and his crew know they’re lucky to live in such a picturesque city. It’s a dream for a nature lover, with two rivers on either side and an abundance of hiking trails.
One of the biggest tools Jimmy has when it comes to recruiting are his relationships within the community. He has worked hard to maintain and develop his network. As a member of the advisory board for both the local community college’s automotive program and the high school’s vocational technology center, he has the inside scoop on which student could be his next promising hire. Over more than a dozen years, he has been able to create a bond with the instructors and see the students who are “really there” to make a career in the repair and collision industries. From there, his mission is to help them along anyway he can.
Hiring younger technicians often comes with the responsibility of on-the-job training, which can be a great incentive for those new to the industry. By promoting your shops training program, you’re showing potential hires you not only care about your business’s growth – but their personal growth as well. Once you show your employees you care, you can start cultivating loyalty! Another plus side is the ability to mold them into the perfect technician for the exact position you need for your shop. Jimmy shares, “Although there is a lot of training involved, we understand that up front. They just want a chance. If we don’t get more new young techs in this industry then it’s going to be hard to find older techs in the future.”
Knowing your audience is the next step in recruiting. Those in Generation Z and Generation Alpha are starting to make their way into the workforce, and they’re always ready to do their own research. One of the other important factors during this process is maintaining the shop’s image. Owners should be cognizant of what their business looks like, both in-person and digitally. A great future team member will research the shop before the interview by checking you out online and driving by.
The younger future techs in these new generations have grown up with a smartphone in their hand. Before the interview with your shop, they will have already googled you and checked out your social media platforms. So, make sure your image reflects how amazing your shop truly is. Your social media platforms should be active, your website should be up to date, and have reviews that reflect how great your shop is. When your business looks busy, productive, and well-run you’re more likely to attract terrific crew members!
Make sure to reevaluate your pay structure as you continue to grow your business. Even before Jimmy started working with Earhart’s Collision & Automotive Service, he knew his fellow shops as he was an estimator with a major insurance company. Since then, he has worked hard to maintain those connections. So, talk with your other local businesses and see how they compensate their staff. Ask them how much they pay, if they pay hourly, and how they handle bonuses. Once you understand where your shop stacks up in your local market, from there you can adjust your compensation model to be a competitive one. With so many positions open, future team members now have the luxury of being selective. Paying people well and fostering a healthy environment will ensure you get the cream of the crop.
Company culture is an increasingly important part of recruiting no matter the industry you’re a part of. When your employees feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to sing your praises to promising hires. Word of mouth can be your friend! Just by catering lunch or taking your team out for coffee, you can create a friendly and favorable environment around your business. When your employees love the place they work, it shows in their performance!
In Jimmy’s professional experience, one gesture can go a long way. His shop had recently hired a new member to fill a detailer position. This was their first job in the industry, but it didn’t take long for Jimmy to see the potential in them. As always, Earhart’s Collision was busy. Jimmy thought his new hire would be up for a challenge, so he gave him a bumper cover job on a Honda Accord that had been overbooked. After accessing AllData for the procedures, the newly hired crew member had to borrow the shop’s tools. When the job was completed, the employee fell in love with similar jobs and was eager to continue finishing these new challenges. As Christmas approached, he was still borrowing the shop’s tools. So, as an end of year bonus and gift, the shop gave him his very own basic tool kit. When Jimmy presented it to him, he nearly had tears in his eyes. Present day? It’s a few years down the line and he still works at Earhart’s! Now, he is averaging over 15 hours of work a week on these jobs along with his detailing work.
The final tip for recruiting in today’s climate is to never actually stop recruiting, even when you’re fully staffed. As a business owner, you never want to be in a position where you have to scramble to fill a spot. When that happens, you’re usually left with an acceptable applicant, when you’d much rather have the perfect one. Jimmy shares that this used to be his most common recruiting mistake. His advice? Owners should, “act quickly once you realize, let them know you’re thankful they tried the position out but it’s just not working.”
Always continue to take applications and resumes from potential hires. You could even have them come in for an interview! While they’re there, be honest with them. Let them know while you don’t currently have a position available, they will be the first you call when you do. Save a stack of resumes of hardworking people that are enthusiastic not only about the job, but your shop as well.
A successful business is one with a competent, eager crew that is always willing to get the job done right the first time. When shops are able to recruit good employees, they are often able to create a positive and cohesive environment. So, take up these recruiting practices and see a difference today!
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Prepared by Chase Clough