Hiring and retaining quality auto technicians is increasingly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing the retail automotive industry today. Between fewer young job seekers opting for careers as auto technicians and Baby Boomer auto technicians starting to retire, there is a shortage of quality talent on the market. But with the right recruitment tools, your dealership can have a better chance of overcoming the industry challenge of attracting auto technicians.
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 the competition. Consider the following recruitment tools to hire and retain auto technicians at your dealership.
Follow AutoNation’s Example and Host Job Fairs
In an age of online job research and applications, some dealerships might be surprised to learn job fairs are still one of the most effective recruitment tools. AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in the U.S., hosted a nationwide hiring day in January, complete with job fairs across 15 cities. 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. Consider asking 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 booth which will provide a similar opportunity for you to get to know candidates, even if it’s not directly at 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. But this isn’t the case and starting out as an auto technician offers countless opportunities in growing dealerships. Some technicians even rise the ranks as far as dealership group vice presidents, 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 job candidates today, no matter the role, do much of their research online, so your career path can help you get prospective employees excited about the career 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.
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 applicantions, 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.
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. Today’s auto technicians 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.
The auto technician hiring challenge shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. For more tips on building the best team at your dealership, download our automotive hiring guide, “Overcoming the Struggle of Hiring Auto Technicians.”