Hiring and retaining quality auto technicians is increasingly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing the retail automotive industry today. According to a report by TechForce Foundation, the US will be short approximately 642,000 automotive, diesel, and collision technicians by 2024 if the current trends continue.
Baby Boomer auto technicians are retiring faster than younger professionals are entering the field, however, the pandemic has made technical jobs more appealing to those out of work. And when businesses are fully operating again, there will be an increased need for automotive technicians, says Automotive News. With the right recruitment tools, your dealership can have a leg up on attracting those auto technicians open for work.
If your dealership is lacking in quality technicians, you risk overworking — and burning out — current employees and turning away service work, meaning customers will take their service business to your competitors. Consider the following recruitment tools to hire and retain auto technicians at your dealership.
Host virtual job fairs
In a time when nearly every encounter is virtual, some dealerships might be surprised to learn job fairs are still an extremely effective recruitment tool. Napleton Automotive Group owns and operates over 55 retail automotive dealerships across the US. In order to adapt to the current climate, they’ve hosted virtual career fairs to drive awareness of their open roles while promoting a safe environment for their team and prospective candidates.
A job fair can help you attract engaged auto technician candidates, get to know potential employees and give them a taste of your culture before the official interview process. Have one or two of your top auto technicians to talk prospective candidates through a day in the life at your dealership, and discuss long term career opportunities.
If you don’t have the time or resources to host your own job fair, look into local career fairs on the calendar. For service roles specifically, build partnerships with local high schools and technical schools, so your dealership can be in the know each time a job fair or career day is scheduled. You can easily set up a virtual booth to provide a similar opportunity for you to get to know candidates, even if it’s not directly hosted by your dealership.
Build out a defined career path
Many job seekers have the misconception that auto technicians have limited career prospects beyond entry-level service roles. On the contrary, starting out as an auto technician offers countless opportunities in growing dealerships. Some technicians even rise the ranks as far as dealership group vice president, including a top group vice president at Toyota Motor Sales, who started his automotive career at a Toyota Service Department in Cleveland, Ohio.
When it comes to promoting a defined career path, your career site can be one of your best recruitment tools. Most candidates today, no matter the role, do much of their research online, so outlining a career path can help you get prospective employees excited about the opportunities beyond entry-level service roles. On your career site, highlight success stories of auto technicians who have risen through the ranks and include examples of potential career paths for various positions.
Provide training and continued learning opportunities
Job applicants value career training and continued learning on the job, and are more inclined to work for companies that offer both. According to the 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study from Accenture, 80% of 2016 graduates said they expect their first employer to formally train them on the job. Your dealership should embrace training and employee education as key recruitment tools for attracting quality applicants.
For auto technicians specifically, you can offer initial training up front to help them hit the ground running, and set aside budget for continued education. For example, consider offering reimbursement for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) classes, which enable aspiring technicians to become certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Not only will supporting continued learning make auto technicians feel valued by your dealership, but it will help your dealership offer improved service and increase the likelihood of retaining technicians who have been certified.
Support a simple hiring process
Once you’ve gotten potential applicants excited about the possibility of working for your dealership, it’s important to keep them engaged throughout the application and hiring process. Since most job-related research is completed online, your dealership should support simple online applications directly on your career site.
If you’re still running your hiring process using outdated, paper applications, it will likely turn potential candidates away. Once an applicant makes it to the candidate stage, move them through each step of the hiring process as quickly as possible — including offering skills assessments, scheduling and completing interviews, and completing background and reference checks. If candidates get held up in certain steps of the process, your dealership risks losing them to a competitive offer. And when it comes to offering a candidate a full-time position, the offer letter they receive should be personalized and include all necessary information so they know the ins and outs before sealing the deal.
Beyond hiring, the digital, paperless process should continue with onboarding and other HR-related tasks. Dealerships need to have a paperless process to onboard auto technicians — and other employees — including receiving the company HR handbook and signing tax documents electronically. That way, your new hires can confidently navigate digital onboarding, ultimately making them better prepared for a productive first day on the job, rather than sitting in the HR office filling out paperwork.
Hiring your next automotive technician doesn’t have to be an arduous task. With the right tools, you can attract, hire, and onboard your new employees with ease. To see how Hireology can help with your hiring process, schedule a demo here.