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Rethinking recruitment

Source and promote employees using the examples set by the nation's Top Shops
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 08:00
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Source and promote employees using the examples set by the nation's Top Shops

Traditional recruiting routes

Certainly, not every experienced hire is looking for a substantial pay hike. Many want a change of scenery or a better opportunity. Top Shops reach these recruits by many conventional means, such as job ads in newspapers, Craigslist and other online employment sites, and their own Web pages. Classic visits tech schools and invites students to apply.

Trey Perdue, general manager of CSI Collision Specialist in Houston, reaches out to current employees and vendors for referrals. He also tries to promote from within. Looking throughout an organization for employees interested in new careers paths can pay off.

Callister raves about the success his company has had developing employees from entry level positions. "We've had more promotions from the washing bay than anywhere else." he says.

G&C draws painters from its prep workers who complete the transition by hitting 12 successive goals:

1. Mask vehicle for refinish and sand panels.

2. Take EPA 6H training.

3. Prime and block repair work.

4. Polish.

5. Spray all jambed parts and interior parts of car (for example, rear body panel and radiator


6. Spray sealer on exterior panels.

7. Spray clear on exterior panels.

8. Spray base on exterior panels.

9. Attend paint vendor school for color matching.

10. Mix clear and sealer for Lead Refinish Technician

11. Mix base for Lead Refinish Technician.

12. Tint color.

Each task must be mastered before the prepper can train on the next. G&C manages the career transition by mandating that the shop's schedule not be interrupted. Preppers must perform all regular duties and clean their work stalls before receiving additional training.

Constant qualities

Before an employee can be considered for such a promotion, or an outside worker brought in, shops need to take steps to determine they've identified the right person for the opportunity. In the case of the latter, Top Shops like Classic run thorough background checks. They also look for a stable work history and a willingness to buy into a new system, adapt and commit to long-range employment.

When evaluating current employees, some shops place a premium on attitude over experience. They'd rather hitch their wagon to employees with mechanical or other aptitude and an interest in learning versus a 25-year industry veteran who is unwilling to grow. D&S Vice President CJ Paterniti prizes a strong work ethic coupled with enthusiasm: "That person who finds a way to stay busy, who will empty waste baskets and do whatever it takes to help," he says.

Other Top Shops search for skills that can be utilized in shop areas outside of repairs and painting. For example, organizational skills can be put to use in a parts department. Ellison notes that focusing on these under-appreciated skill sets also opens the door to valuable outside work pools shops could be ignoring.

For example, former military members often have organizational and leadership abilities that can be molded into a number of shop positions. Ellison's business already has discussed ways to bring in these workers. (ABRN's May 2015 edition features a full list of resources to help shops hire members of the armed forces.) 

(Photo courtesy of Chantilly Auto Body) Estimating and administrative duties offer career paths for new outside hires not interested in repair work. (Photo courtesy of G&C Auto Body) Comfortable, clean break rooms and work spaces demonstrate a shop's desire to create an employee-friendly environment. Retention efforts like these are also a component of recruitment programs.
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