In a recent episode of Aftermarket Radio Network’s “Remarkable Results Radio” podcast, Technician Find CEO Christopher T. Lawson shared several approaches shops can take in today’s market to find and hire automotive technicians.
While Lawson’s focus was on automotive repair shops, specifically recruiting mechanics, the tips can easily be applied to collision repair shops and echo what collision industry leaders have recently shared.
During one of three OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit sessions held by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) in November, TechForce Executive Director/CEO Jennifer Maher said 232,000 techs were needed in 2021 across automotive, diesel, and collision but schools were only graduating 42,000.
TechForce Foundation, Carlisle and Co., Collision Engineering, and I-CAR agreed during the session that shops should get involved with recruiting at schools by hosting hands-on events to let students mix paint and work with technicians, which gets high school students excited about the industry and will help change the perception of the industry.
“Independent shops from coast to coast continue to struggle to stand out among the masses,” Lawson said, in the podcast. “I’ve never seen a more challenging labor market for repair shop owners. They are frustrated, and fearful of the future because it seems like finding automotive technicians is on par with climbing Mount Everest these days. But it’s not impossible. It just takes time and a different mindset that occasionally requires stepping outside of your comfort zone.”
Lawson said “proven” strategies he’s seen shop owners use to fill vacancies include:
- Polishing the shop’s online presence;
- Ways owners and employees can monitor and control the online narrative about their shop;
- Strategically using shop features and benefits in for-hire ads to attract talented techs;
- Where shop owners need to be searching online to find experienced techs;
- The importance of “passive” recruiting strategies; and
- How to launch a simple social media campaign.
Lawson noted that the first thing most technicians will do after they see a for-hire ad is Google the shop. He recommends shop owners open an incognito, or private, tab in their web browser once a week and Google their shop to see what potential employees are seeing. It’s also a good idea to Google other shops in your market, he said.
Using social media as a recruiting tool, especially passively is also a great strategy, according to Lawson.
“If somebody is a good technician and they want to work, they’re working,” he said. “In order to get in front of them, you have to have the right message and you have to go to where they hang out. If things are OK and they’re not really looking then they’re not going to be on Indeed. …They’re not going to be on Zip Recruiter looking around. Where they are, is they’re on social media.”
To conduct passive recruiting on social media, Lawson said shop owners can “share the story about what you’re all about” on their social media pages.
“You share the story about your culture. You share pictures when you fix up the waiting room for holidays. You show pictures of when customers bring dogs into the shop. You show pictures when you’re having birthday parties or birthday celebrations or when you’re going bowling as a team. …When you show those enough, it gives everybody that views your page a really good idea about how much you care about your employees and what it’s like to work for you.”
Shops can also take advantage of free online training and on-demand podcasts to attract top talent and add them.
The full podcast episode featuring Lawson is available here.
Featured image credit: Technician Find
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