The beginning months of the year are a prime time for technicians to look for new opportunities, whether for personal growth or career advancement. However, considering the ongoing technician shortage, hiring efforts have become a year-round focus for shops, not just a seasonal effort.

So, no matter the time of year, here are some best practices on how your shop or dealership can improve your technician recruiting strategy.

Recruiting Tips for Shops & Dealerships Looking to Hire Technicians

Evaluate and Pivot, if Needed

Dive into your business and see what is working and what isn’t working for your shop. As an owner or manager, it can be hard to take a step back and work on your business instead of in it, but it is necessary to get a clear picture.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is my current technician retention rate?
  • Does my current technician pay and benefits compare to other shops in my area?
  • What can I do to make my technicians happier?
    [Tip: Consider surveying your technicians to see what they want or using valuable data like the 2023 Voice of Technician Survey Summary to gain insight.]
  • How does my shop stand out from competitors as a top employer?
  • How is my shop’s hiring process?
    [Tip: Make sure your shop is offering valuable information to technicians before they apply, like with a Top Shop page.]

Even better, involve your current technicians in the evaluation process. Survey them, invite them to one-on-one meetings, etc. Hear directly from your people about where your shop can improve. This allows them to feel heard and valued as an essential part of the business as well.

Set Goals & Assign a Champion

After evaluating where your shop is at, start making goals for hiring that you want to achieve within the next month, year, five years, or ten years. It is important to have something to strive for and push towards to ensure that it remains a priority.

Next, make someone accountable. A champion is a person who takes ownership and leads a project or initiative in a company. A champion for recruiting technicians is typically someone in HR, admin, or someone on the service side of the business.

In a service center, a lot of people wear different hats, but technician recruiting has to be on the radar of someone on your team constantly. Technicians don’t stay on the job market long, and if they are applying to your shop it’s likely they are applying to others so it is important to have someone take ownership of responding to candidates quickly, scheduling interviews, delegating tasks, tracking metrics, and more.

Grow Your Own

The best recruiting starts with retaining and growing the technicians you have. Growing your own talent—from young interns or apprentices to your most seasoned technician—is the best investment shops can make both in terms of recruiting, and for their business as a whole.

Investing in the growth of your employees is not only more cost-effective than bringing on a new hire, it greatly increases the satisfaction level, productivity, and loyalty of your employees. In fact, a recent survey showed 81% of technicians said it’s important that their employer have a well-documented career path. When your technicians have a clear path for how they can advance their career in your shop, they are less likely to put you in the position to have to recruit for their replacement.

Refresh Materials & Messaging

In a WrenchWay Shop Talk poll, more than 92% of the technician respondents said they look at everything they can find online about a shop before applying for a job. Make sure your website, social media, job descriptions, career page, Top Shop page, and other recruiting materials are up-to-date.

Beyond making sure information is accurate, make sure your shop is standing out as a top-notch employer. Don’t just say, “We have a fun work environment.” Actually, show it. Show off pictures of your staff at the latest company outing or explain fun ways you celebrate team members. Showing versus just telling is always better, especially when trying to stand out and attract young, Generation Z candidates.

Proactively Engage Candidates

Because most technicians aren’t actively looking at job boards, it is so important to actively engage passive job seekers. In fact, a LinkedIn survey showed 84% of recruiters said that engaging passive candidates is becoming important in lower and middle-level roles and for bringing top talent into the funnel.

Shops and dealerships need to be actively recruiting in a variety of different places, including:

Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

As you’re looking for technicians, focus on diversity and inclusion. Diverse teams bring in various perspectives—enhancing creative problem-solving and giving shops a competitive advantage. In addition, a majority of young professionals highly value diverse workplaces, making it an increasingly crucial factor in attracting new talent.

In particular, more shops and dealers are focusing on how to attract more women into the industry. While the number of females in automotive and diesel is growing, it’s still largely male-dominated. A continued focus on developing a diverse and inclusive work environment in your shop is going to attract not only more women, but people of all different social and ethnic backgrounds.

You’ve Got This!

Hopefully, these tips above will help inspire more ideas or at least help get your shop started. Every shop’s recruiting strategy looks a little different; most learn as they go, and that is ok! Don’t be afraid to try a new recruiting idea and see how it goes. In a saturated market of job openings, it can be easy to get lost in the mix so remember to stand out, set goals, assign a champion to make it a priority, and mix it up!

Need more technician recruiting tips? Check out our recent webinar where we discuss the challenges shops and dealers face when hiring technicians and the best practices for attracting and hiring technicians in 2024.

Download the webinar, Technician Recruiting: Everything You Need to Know for 2024