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Tips on Hiring Service Advisors and Technicians in Competitive Times

Shop Management

Bob Cooper

by Bob Cooper , President

By Bob Cooper

One of the single greatest
challenges shop owners face today is finding and hiring the superstars.
Regardless of whether you are looking to hire technicians or service advisors,
here are some tips that will help you hire the stars.

1. Accept the fact that with rare
exception, the stars you are looking for are already working, and are
reasonably satisfied. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be open to a
conversation with you, because many of them will be. It’s your responsibility
to identify those stars, and then reach out to them. Even if there is little or
no interest on their part after speaking with you, you still win, because you
have started a relationship. Not only may the time come when they reach back
out to you, but I have learned over the years that the stars know the stars, so
they may be able to provide you with the names of some other good candidates
who would be interested in your offer.

2. You should never offer someone
a job, but should instead offer them an opportunity to join a company like
yours. Beyond just a competitive wage, you will need to provide a compensation
and incentive package that includes paid vacations and holidays, paid sick
days, uniforms and ongoing training. In addition, you will need to provide the
opportunity for growth and income advancement, security, rewards for tenure
(such as retirement programs), and of course, leadership. Bear in mind that
anyone can offer them a wage; what you need to offer is a package that shows
that you really do care about the people who work with you. The rule that I
have lived by for decades is that if you put out peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.
The stars produce profits, whereas the monkeys produce debt.

3. Whenever there is a shortage
of skilled labor, you not only have to make the candidates an attractive offer,
but you need to remove as many barriers as possible. Change is scary for most,
especially if they have been with the same shop for years, so you need to be
well aware of their fears. No matter how good a tech or an advisor is, one of
the greatest concerns they’ll have is that you’ll be unable to deliver. A
method I’ve used over the years is providing a really attractive guarantee for
a number of months. Most shop owners are hesitant to do so because they fear
that if the employee doesn’t produce, it will cost them a fortune. What they
don’t realize is that if they do a better job of qualifying the candidates, and
if they accept the fact that they can always terminate an underperformer, their
concerns should diminish dramatically. As business owners, we need to
both set our fears aside and reduce the fears of the candidates. At Elite we
are open and upfront with all candidates by telling them that on a predetermined
date the hefty guarantee will be reduced to $XXX, and that we have every
expectation that by the predetermined date they will be earning well more than
the guarantee.

4. We should never forget the
rule that says, “When we hire Larry, we get Mary.” Simply put, if the candidate
has a significant other in their life, with rare exception, they will be
involved in the decision making process. This is why we strongly encourage you
(whenever possible) to meet with the significant other as well as with the
candidate. If Mary is sold on you and your company, then there is a really good
chance that she will sell Larry on joining your team.

5. Last but not least, you should
let the candidates know about the culture of your company. The stars you are
looking for may have well-paying jobs, but there is a good probability there is
a vacuum when it comes to the culture of the company they are working for. If
you let them know that you are committed to ethics, and that you and your
entire team live by a principle that you will never put money ahead of people,
you will discover you are able to hire the superstars you’ve been looking for.

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