This article was originally published on the Shop-Ware blog.

Hiring for one auto repair shop is hard enough. But, hiring for shops with multiple locations? Even harder.

Between navigating customer relations, hiring, training, managing employees, overseeing inventory, and maintaining compliance standards, service managers have a lot on their plates.

Hiring, although very important, is only one part of their job.

This is exactly why many multi-location shops centralize parts of their recruiting and hiring process. Centralized recruiting comes with its own challenges for HR teams, such as:

  • Managing relationships and communication with service managers
  • Tailoring recruiting efforts for different labor markets
  • Recruiting for different shop cultures

We’ve compiled a list of recruiting tips below to help streamline recruiting efforts for multi-location shops.

How to Improve Hiring for Shops with Multiple Locations

When a shop is in crisis mode either because of natural attrition, trouble recruiting, or because multiple people have left unexpectedly, the very first thing they should do is to secure their current team.

Oftentimes, shops will focus on how they will get someone in the door (i.e., expanded pay range, sign-on bonuses, etc.). However, what they forget is current staff will see the job post or talk to the new hire. It never stays a secret. There are many steps to a truly effective employee retention program, but step one is the most important: Give the existing team the same market-based compensation that you are willing to give a new hire.

1. Centralize what you can.

Not every aspect of recruiting can be left to a centralized HR team. But, by working closely with service managers, HR teams should be able to handle a lot of the work that goes into attracting candidates to apply. Some examples include:

  • Market research
  • Posting on job boards
  • Reviewing applications
  • Phone screening
  • Facilitating communication between the candidates and the service managers

2. Do not use one job posting for multiple positions.

When hiring for multiple positions at different locations, it can be very tempting to just lump them all together into one job posting. While this may seem efficient and cost-effective, it often backfires.

Job boards use search engines and advanced analytics to display the most appropriate job for each potential candidate. An ad that has different types of jobs, or uses phrases like “all positions” or “multiple openings” is rarely specific enough to give the search engines enough keywords to frequently display your post.

3. Don’t just rely on job boards when hiring for shops.

Only about 5% of candidates are actively looking at job boards. This means if your recruiting strategy begins and ends with job postings, you’re missing out on the majority of candidates.

Of course it is important to post on all the major job boards, but don’t forget about the other places candidates might hear about your shop:

  • Social media
  • Employee referrals
  • Shop website
  • Industry forums
  • Recruiters and agencies

4. Showcase each shop’s unique personality and culture.

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to share a shop’s personality and culture in a job posting or on a careers page. HR teams need to make sure they spend time with each location manager to understand the unique culture at their shop. Then, they need to figure out how to convey that shop’s personality to candidates.

One of the best ways to showcase a shop’s culture is to create videos. Video is an easy and effective way to explain how different processes and procedures work at the shop while highlighting the people who work there. Then, be sure to include the videos in job postings, on social media, and on your Top Shop page.

5. Make sure candidates are receiving timely responses.

We get it; everyone is busy, However, it is pointless to put the time, effort, and money into recruiting and interviewing if the candidates are not being followed up in a timely manner. If the HR team is centralized and sending over the applicant, they also need to be responsible for making sure the service managers are following up promptly.

Communication is Key

In summary, the key to a successful recruiting strategy for multi-location shops is really communication. Centralizing a lot of the recruitment efforts will certainly help. However, the communication between HR and service managers is what is going to make for a successful recruiting strategy.

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