10 Reasons Your Dealership Can’t Make Auto Tech Hires

Recent Hireology research showed that 60% of dealerships say that auto techs are their hardest positions to hire for — and considering that the automotive industry has squeaked by on a deficit of 642,000 auto techs for the last four years, it tracks that the majority of dealers would find it difficult. 

As dealers across the country are facing a world where consumers aren’t buying as many new cars as they were in the past, fixed operations like services and repairs become critical to maintaining budgets — but you can’t do that without the right hires. 

10 reasons you can’t hire the auto tech talent you need

Read on to learn more about the top 10 reasons dealerships can’t hire the auto techs they need, along with actionable advice to gain a competitive edge in this hiring market.

1. Vendor consolidation

At first glance, consolidating your applicant tracking system (ATS) and payroll provider seems like a budget-friendly way to hire auto techs — but the long term costs far outweigh any short term benefits. When you get an ATS as a freebie, you’re getting what you pay for in terms of power and performance. 

For a financial breakdown, consider this: a single bad hire can cost a dealership an average of about $15,000 in hiring and training costs. Not great, but not horrible, right? Well, most dealerships have an average of about 63 employees — and half of those will be replaced in 12 months. What was once $15,000 is now $450,000 that’s drained from your bottom line.

Broken down like this, it’s easy to see how an all-in-one ATS and payroll solution ends up costing dealerships more through bad auto tech hires, training costs, and other incidentals than investing in their own hiring power with a standalone ATS.

2. Ambiguous HR analytics at best

You can’t change what you don’t measure — and a lot of dealerships aren’t measuring any HR metrics at all. By a lot, we mean 32% of your competitors hiring for the same auto tech talent as you are hiring blindly with no insight into how long their average hiring process is, where they make the best quality hires from, or how much they’re spending on job advertising. 

With clearer HR metrics, you can make data-backed decisions on how to optimize your auto tech hiring so you can spend your hiring dollars wisely. Not all ATSs provide this data for free, however, so be sure to check with your provider if you can easily access this data. Hiring and HR platforms like Hireology provide this data to its members as part of their subscription so that dealers can easily identify bottlenecks to create a smoothing hiring process and fill open roles faster with better talent. 

3. Leaving your best auto tech recruiters untapped

At this stage in the hiring market, employee referral programs have been adapted as a recruitment channel by 61% of dealerships — but they’re not doing enough to capitalize on this powerful strategy. When established correctly, employee referral programs are the best recruitment channel for driving ROi as they’re fairly fast and inexpensive to set up. Plus, employee referrals are the number one source of quality auto candidates for dealers nationwide, tied with sponsored job posts.

Despite this, only 1 in 5 dealers are satisfied with the performance of their employee referral program. If you’re manually tracking referred candidates and payout schedules in spreadsheets like a third of those dealers are, it makes sense as to why you’re not happy with your results. In order to passively recruit from your existing workforce, you need to do more than rely on just word-of-mouth to share your open positions; you need to incorporate SMS text and email messages into your promotion strategy as well to increase the chance of your staff participating. You should also keep the submission process simple by just asking for the name and contact information of the person they would like to refer since you can gather all of that information from the candidate later.

4. Not following hiring best practices

While hiring is unique to each employer in a lot of ways, your dealership doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to make great hires in this labor market. You can make better hires faster simply by following general hiring best practices

“But will it work when I’m trying to recruit an auto tech?”

Yes, these strategies will work for auto tech recruitment. Generally speaking, better hiring practices equate to better quality hires made faster. When dealers follow hiring best practices, they improve their overall hiring process while also making positive impacts to their bottom line. The hard work has already been done for you — just take the advice of hiring managers and recruiters who have gone before you to reach more quality talent and speed up your hiring process.

5. Poor employer branding online

When you first meet someone, your brain automatically forms an opinion about them within the first seven seconds. You have little to no say in this first impression in-person — but online you have considerably more control about how you (and your dealership) appear. 

Your online presence is the first impression potential auto tech candidates will have of your dealership. In fact, according to a LinkedIn Survey, 75% of job seekers will research an employer brand to take it into consideration before they even apply to your open roles. When it comes to wrangling your employer brand, the first place a dealership needs to begin is with their careers page. Follow employer branding best practices to first determine your brand identity and then build a solid foundation on your careers page. 

6. Playing into stereotypes about the industry

The modern workforce of today is diverse and not easily put into the same boxes as they were 30 years ago. A common issue that dealerships have to contend with these days is breaking away from stereotypes about the automotive industry and the position of an auto tech in particular. 

Dealers that only consider “traditional” auto tech candidates are ultimately doing themselves a disservice, as they’ll miss out on plenty of qualified talent. With many dealerships offering training programs to supplement their own talent pipelines, this out of the box thinking needs to be extended to expand their talent pool — and to how they portray their dealership as an inclusive work environment online and in-person.

7. Acting as an island in your community

No man is an island — and neither are businesses. All too often, dealers abandon relationships they built with local technical and vocational schools, further isolating them from fresh auto tech talent. Instead, dealers need to nurture established relationships with these institutions to gain a competitive edge in hiring new graduates.

But dealers can’t take talent without giving these schools something in return. There are a variety of ways that dealers can lend their support to local technical schools, including:

  • Offer to sponsor for new equipment in learning bays
  • Create scholarships for students interested in becoming auto tech
  • Allow quarterly “field trips” to your service bays
  • Have senior auto tech give presentations

8. Avoiding paid job posts on general job boards

To be clear: general job boards are an important recruitment channel — but they can be optimized to recruit auto tech candidates. Instead of just posting a job description and hoping that someone looking for an auto tech role will scroll by it, dealers can improve the likelihood of the right candidate seeing their vacancy by sponsoring the job post. 

When a dealer sponsors a job on Indeed, for example, their opening is pinned at the top of the job feed for applicants. This placement ensures that more people will lay eyes on the job opening, and statistically improve the chances of quality talent applying. This strategy has found great success for many dealers, which led it to tie with employee referrals as the number one source for quality automotive hires.

9. Moving too slowly

Recent Hireology data showed that 93% of dealerships have been ghosted by a candidate during the interview process over the last year — but interestingly enough, only 4% of these dealers believe it was due to a slow moving process. 

Hireology went right to the source to ask automotive job seekers why they ghost potential employers and they were quite open about the matter. The top three reasons they gave for ghosting during the hiring process were as follows:

  • Lack of communication and transparency from the dealership 
  • Hiring process taking too long
  • Recruiter not replying to application fast enough

As you can see, failure to move quickly only opens the door for auto tech candidates to find employment elsewhere, so moving quickly throughout the process is key to adding top talent to your team. 

10. Cold shouldering candidates

We just gave you the top three reasons candidates suddenly drop out of the hiring process, but can you guess which was the number one reason candidates ghost? If you said lack of communication, you were right! 

One of the biggest mistakes dealers make when trying to recruit auto tech candidates is that they do the opposite of keeping the candidate warm — they really only contact candidates when they have something to say. In today’s hiring market, you need to engage candidates throughout the entire hiring process, even if you’re waiting on a final decision and don’t really have an update to give them. You need to remain top of mind for auto tech applicants if you want to add them to your dealership’s team, so reaching out every day or so is key. You can’t assume that candidates will still be looking for a job when you’re ready to talk to them again, so continue communicating with them to see where they stand and if anything has changed since you last spoke.

Want to create a hiring process that drives auto tech hiring?

Auto tech talent is in short supply and dealers across the country are relying on these critical workers to maintain fixed operations (and budgets). If your current ATS doesn’t empower your decentralized multi location business to make better hires faster, it’s time to talk to a solution that does. Schedule your free demo to see the difference Hireology has made for 1 in 4 dealers nationwide!



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