Hiring the right auto body technicians for your shop can be a challenge. The candidate list seems short to begin with, since there's a shortage of technicians out there. Plus, you need to make sure that the person you're hiring is skilled enough to do the work to your standards and has the right attitude to fit in with your shop.
So how do you do it? Hiring the right techs requires a two-pronged approach:
First, attract great prospects.
Second, pick the right one.
Getting Great Applicants
If you’re not getting enough qualified candidates, take a closer look at your hiring process and think about ways to widen your net. Are you advertising in the right spots? Consider who you’re targeting and be sure you’re showing up where they are. That might mean posting your job openings on social media sites, general job forums online or schools' job sites.
How about your job description? Is it accurate and compelling? There’s an effort in the industry to open up auto body technician positions to non-English-speaking employees. If that scenario can work in your shop, post your job ads in multiple languages.
If you have great benefits or extra perks, be sure to advertise those on your job posting, too. Don’t have anything that will help you stand out? This might be the time to consider adding something. As more shops compete for fewer applicants, extras that go beyond base pay can help catch candidates’ eyes.
Picking a Winner
Once you have some candidates in the funnel, it’s time to start narrowing them down. Of course, you can eliminate anyone who’s just not qualified for the job. Beyond that:
Get your best employees involved. Don’t leave the decision solely up to a hiring manager or someone who’s removed from the day-to-day work on the floor. Ask your high-performing employees to weigh in on applications and sit in on interviews. They’ll likely have questions and considerations others don’t. Leverage their insights to help choose the right person for the job.
Look for a personality fit. Especially if you’re looking at potential hires with little or no experience, taking personality traits into consideration is a must. Think about what personality types are successful in your shop. Do you need someone who loves to work at a fast pace? Is continued education a must? Craft interview questions related to the traits that are important to you, and keep their answers in mind as you make a decision.
Be honest about pain points. Of course, your ultimate goal is to retain the employees you hire. Being candid about challenging aspects of the job will help you both evaluate whether a candidate is a good, long-term fit. Think about what causes the most frustration in your shop (or just ask your techs), and then ask candidates how they’d handle a similar scenario. Evaluate whether their answers show some adaptability and problem-solving skills. Those are the types of employees and co-workers people love to have around. Ultimately, you want a team player that you, and the others in your company, can rely on.
Once you’ve settled on the perfect match, you’ll need to develop a plan to help them be successful. Your training process should be comprehensive and ongoing, and be sure to pair them with an employee who you hope they’ll emulate.
When you make a great pick and train them well, your other auto body techs – and your customers – will thank you.
Looking for some training tips? Our free checklist will help you make sure you have your bases covered.
This content has been updated to reflect current standards. It was originally published on February 23, 2016.