One of the challenges that shop owners have faced for years is finding and hiring qualified technicians. Here are 5 of the most successful techniques that I used to find the superstars when I was still operating shops.
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1. Make an offer that is hard to refuse. Go to your local dealerships, introduce yourself to the service manager, and say something like this: “Larry, the reason I wanted to speak with you is I am looking for a superstar technician with ___ experience. Now for the purpose of clarity, I’m not looking to recruit any of your employees; that’s not my interest Larry. What I’d like to do is speak with any of the superstars who have worked with you in the past, and for whatever reason, are no longer working with you here at your dealership. They may have gone on to another shop or dealership, and who knows, at this very moment they may not be very pleased with the company they’re currently working for. Now if you’re able to provide me with their names and contact info, or if you just reach out to them and have them contact me, this is what I’ll do for you… If I hire them, I’ll give you $2,000 on the first day they show up for work, and if they’re still with us after their 90-day probation, I’ll give you another $2,000. In essence, Larry, you can earn up to $4,000 for doing nothing more than putting me in touch with one of the superstar techs who has worked with you in the past, or that you may know of in our community.”
Now before you jump to the conclusion that you’d never pay $4,000 as a referral fee, consider that not only is it an insignificant amount when you consider how much you’ll be paying a top tech, but just think of how much it will cost you if you hire the wrong tech. I have always been intrigued how so many people will not lay down a single dollar for a lottery ticket where they could win ten million dollars, but as soon as that jackpot gets to 100 million, you guessed it: People line up to buy the tickets. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s as though they’re saying “I’m not interested in ten million dollars, but when you offer 100 million, now you are talking real money, so you have my attention!” I have learned over the years that it’s the same with referral fees. The reward you offer has to be large enough to not only capture their attention, but it has to have that wow factor that brings results.
2. Ask every applicant for leads. When you have a tech or advisor filling out an employment application, always ask that they list two great techs they’ve worked with, or presently work with, as references. Not only can those references serve as a good source of info when you are performing your reference checks, but if you build relationships with the references during your calls, they may very well become employment candidates as well.
3. Sponsor a tool raffle. Tell your local tool truck driver that you will sponsor a raffle for a specific tool set, test equipment, etc. that has a value of $500. Now here’s how it works: You pay for the tools, the driver is able to sell raffle tickets at $5 each, and gets to keep all the ticket sales as well. The techs fill out each raffle entry with their contact info, and you get their names, phone numbers and email addresses.
4. Go to where the techs in your community go. Since techs are likely to have a quick lunch somewhere near their shop, consider grabbing a bite to eat at the fast food restaurants that are close to the shops and dealerships in your community. When the techs walk in at lunch time, all that you will need to do is introduce yourself to them, and strike up a casual conversation. Then you’ll just need to tell them you are looking for a superstar tech, hand them a business card, and the process has started.
5. Turn your employees into recruiters. Just like the offer you made to the dealership service managers, make an attractive offer to your employees as well. “Guys, you all know we need another technician, and I’d love to find someone that can not only produce, but someone that all of you enjoy working with. Now as you can imagine, I can invest a good amount of money in a recruiting campaign, but I’d rather see the money go into your pocket than into recruiting campaigns. So here’s what I’ll do: I’m sure you guys know other techs in the community, and I know that you meet them at training courses as well, so if you refer a really great tech to me, and if I hire them, then I’ll give you $2,000 on the first day they show up for work, and if they’re still with us after their 90 day probation, I’ll give you another $2,000. In essence, you can earn up to $4,000 for doing nothing more than helping me find another superstar just like you guys.”
In closing, the superstars are out there. All that you need to do is connect with them, then share your goals, your Mission Statement, the culture of your company, and how you can provide them with what every superstar is looking for: An opportunity to grow with an amazing shop, and help a lot of people along the way.