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Baby boomers are sinking your shop

Monday, October 15, 2018 - 06:00
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If you think it is tough to find people now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. From today on, this is a 20-year challenge. My guess is that up to 25 percent of the current shops out there will go out of business for no other reason than they can’t find qualified staff. I bet if you give it some thought, you can think of one or two shops that have already closed for this same reason. Will you be next? The bulk of the rest will hang on by their fingernails and survive. But there will be a smattering of shops that see it coming and will do something about it. These are the shops that will thrive during this time because they have figured out they can’t keep doing the same things they did 20 years ago to find staff. The world around them and their challenges have changed, and so must they.

There are many things that must change, but there are two very important things that any shop must consider if they want to be one of those shops that thrive, not just survive, during this mass exodus from our industry.

Most shop owners make the mistake of only advertising when they have a position to fill. You place an ad or two online, or in print. Maybe you talk to the tool guys or other industry people when it occurs to you. This may have worked in the past, but it is unlikely to work now. All it will do is attract the leftovers. The ones you don’t want. Remember, the ones you want already have good jobs. They aren’t looking at those ads. You need to find other ways to attract them.

Recruiting vs. advertising

The first way is recruiting. There is a very big difference between advertising and recruiting. Recruiting is the act of attracting, engaging, assessing and onboarding talent. The key is in the attracting and engaging. This is time consuming though. It is not one interaction. It could take months or even years of networking and staying in touch with any potential candidate before they decide to come onboard. I’m sure you have experienced something like this in your career already. Ask yourself, was it deliberate or did it happen by accident. I’m suggesting that you make this deliberate. Go look at qualified past applicants, call them up periodically, and stay in touch. One day, something will happen in his current position and he will think, “I’m out of here.” When he does, who’s he going to call?

The second thing is a big shift that is hard for most. You must learn to stop looking for people only when you need them, but to always be looking. If you have embraced recruiting in the manner I have suggested, then you will have many opportunities for interviews. Interview everyone, especially when you’re not hiring. This gives you the opportunity to start the recruiting process and stay in touch with the ones you like. This also gives you another opportunity. If you’re asking the right questions in your interview, you will also find other potential recruits through the relationships they have. If done right and done consistently, you will easily be able to grow your bench, and before you know it, the best of what is left will find themselves on your team.

Help them get what they want!

Now I must be clear about one very important thing. What I have suggested here will only take you so far. You must have a shop environment that attracts the people you want. These are good people that are fed up with the way their current employer runs his shop and the way they are treated. They are looking for something better. The money that has been thrown at them time and time again is no longer adequate, because nothing has really changed. Promises have been broken too many times in their current position. Promotions, raises, equipment and the lists go on! You must provide a path to what they are looking for and they will find it easier to make that change. You must discover what they really are looking for through the interview process and they need to see you as that solution. If they do, it is only a matter of time before they decide to come aboard.

Technician recruiting questions to always ask!

Many shop owners get frustrated with the interview process. One reason for that is the difficulty in knowing what questions to ask to get the person you really want. If you skip these questions you run the risk of hiring the wrong person, which will cost you more money in the long run than turning down work today. These questions will work for hiring advisors, managers, book keepers or technicians. Let’s make it easy for you. Simply go to for a limited time to receive the questions that make the difference in finding that “right” new employee.

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