Good mechanics are an asset for any auto repair shop. They can, quite literally, make or break your customers’ cars, and in turn, your shop’s image. A good auto mechanic can increase customer retention and boost your brand image, so it’s important to hire the right people.
While finding the right candidate can be a grueling process, especially because of the auto technician shortage, it’s one you should get right. In this article, we discuss five things to consider while hiring an auto mechanic.
1. Know what traits matter in an auto technician
An ideal candidate would know their way around a vehicle, but that’s not all it takes to be a good tech. Here are a few things to look out for when recruiting new auto mechanics:
- Knowledge: Technicians need to understand the technical expertise required to handle cars coming into your shop. Nowadays, it’s more important than ever since the use of electric vehicles is rising. Additionally, new systems such as advanced driver assistance features (ADAS) have risen in popularity, leading to a demand for techs who know their way around such technology.
- Problem-solving capabilities: At an auto repair shop, there are times when things don’t go as planned, and you can’t be there to ensure smooth operations. There needs to be someone who can take charge and tackle the situation so that you don’t lose business.
- Attention to detail: A minor fault in a car can become a huge problem when left unchecked. The best techs would quickly pick up on these problems and inform the customer of the required repairs. Using tools such as digital vehicle inspections (DVI) to boost the average repair order size, techs can visually show customers what’s wrong with their cars. This can also help build customer confidence in a generally untrusted industry.
It’s no easy task getting hold of someone who has all these traits. Even if you recruit a certified tech, you may find it challenging to give them hands-on training unless they have a good learning attitude.
2. Give a detailed job description and fair compensation
Your job description should provide enough information about the work to ensure only the technicians suited for the job are applying. If you’re looking for a body repair tech, make it clear in the application. It’ll help save your time by reducing applicants from techs from other fields.
Here’s what you should include in your job description:
- Job title and description: A clear sense of what qualifications a technician should have comes under this. Diagnostic workshops or businesses working with electric vehicles would have a very different set of requirements from a tire shop.
- Business name: Help applicants identify your business. This helps them research your shop and ask about you in their network. Knowing that a shop’s culture aligns with their expectations can help reduce employee turnover.
- Job Location: Knowing how far techs have to commute can be the deciding factor if a tech wants to work at your shop. Additionally, providing details about the nature of the job and the commute required is also important. For instance, are you recruiting for a mobile mechanic role or a technician who will work from your shop?
- Daily/weekly workload: It’s important to mention how many cars a technician will work on in a day. Some techs might even prefer to work overtime to make extra money, so the last thing they’d want is to work at a shop where business is slow. On the flip side, others might prefer working on fewer cars every day.
- Wage rate and benefits: With inflation increasing, money has become a bigger motivator for everyone working. Mention a wage rate that you’ll be comfortable paying. Avoid using high values for your shop since this can earn you a bad rep if you can’t pay techs that much. Similarly, do not offer rates below other shops in your area as you’ll have trouble finding suitable applicants.
- Work hours: Most people value a good work-life balance. Highlight what a day at your shop looks like in terms of the hours technicians have to work.
- Company Contact Information: You’re almost there—all that’s left is adding your shop’s contact details. This includes any websites you have, phone numbers, and email addresses. Remember that you want to leave a positive impression on potential employees, so reply to your applicants promptly and treat them with respect while answering their questions.
It’s a good idea to be honest with the applicant about everything listed above—that’s how you attract the top-quality auto mechanic candidates to your shop and match their expectations.
3. Advertise in the right places
Posting newspaper ads saying you’re looking for a mechanic is a good idea, but that’s not all you should do. Younger technicians are more likely to use social media to find jobs and evaluate a business. An effective social media strategy can attract more customers to your store and go a long way in making your store attractive to new techs.
Some online platforms you can use to advertise openings are:
Looking for potential recruits at local tech schools can also be a great way to attract up-and-coming talent.
4. Recruit from your network
Strong networks will help you out greatly in recruitment processes. According to CNBC, 70% of all jobs are not published publicly on jobs sites, and as much as 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections. Recruiting through a trusted mechanic or shop owner adds credibility to the tech’s abilities—similar to how a recommendation letter can do the same for a student. In an industry where trust is historically strained, a credible technician can be one of your greatest assets.
5. Incentivize people to work at your shop
You could tick all the right boxes to market your shop as a great place to work, but how do you ensure new employees don’t switch jobs? Here are a few ways.
Offer on-the-job training
On-the-job training can be invaluable for your techs—and yourself. The benefits for new technicians are obvious, there is nothing quite as valuable as hands-on experience, but the benefits to your shop can also be tremendous. Let’s see how.
- Better service: Technicians will have to get their hands dirty, so you’ll need to make sure they can do it without messing anything up. When you offer hands-on training, techs will get real-world experience in a supervised setting, making sure they’re ready to take on more responsibility.
- Less supervision is required in the long run: The sooner your techs take charge of the job, the less you’ll be required to supervise them in the long run. Once you’ve taught them how to take care of a job, you can start letting them take responsibility earlier. This can greatly boost employee morale and give you more time to focus on your business.
- More attractive to new technicians: Offering hands-on training will make your shop more attractive to new technicians. This is the best way to get a hold of new talent, many of whom would love to get experience as soon as they can. According to Lorman, 87% of millennials believe learning and development in the workplace are important.
Provide a work-life balance
Not everyone has the same mentality. While some people embrace the grind and are happy to put in extra hours to learn and become better-rounded, others prefer maintaining a work-life balance. How does this help you as a shop owner?
- Better morale: If your employees come in every day with a smile on their faces and a can-do attitude, they’re likely to be more patient with customers. They’re also likely to put in their best work to contribute to your shop’s growth.
- Fewer mistakes: Working with cars can be exhausting, and a lapse of judgment can be catastrophic. Make sure that technicians aren’t exhausted, so there are fewer chances of mistakes. Any mishaps that happen with customers’ vehicles can harm your business in the long run.
- Employer branding: A tech would appreciate having an employer who empowers them without micromanaging, appreciates their work, talks to them respectfully, and allows them to disconnect from work after hours. If you can check all the boxes, your employees will talk positively about the culture at your shop, which is one of the best ways to attract new talent.
Recruiting new mechanics can be demanding, but it’s worth the effort. Good decisions in the recruiting process will definitely pay off down the road, so it’s worth putting in the extra time and effort at this time.
If you’re looking to make operations at your auto shop even easier, you can check out the latest in auto repair software to make managing your shop a breeze.