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How can I get quality job applicants?

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My shop is short-staffed and I’m looking for a new body technician. I have had employment ads out for months without any response. How can I get quality job applicants?  

John Shoemaker, president, JSE Consulting:

The number of available technicians is very low, and most are content with their current employment. Employment ads have not proven to be fruitful in most markets, and they are very expensive as well. So finding good technicians is difficult, but it is not impossible.

For the same amount of money you’re spending on employment ads, you can generate some very valuable leads by giving incentives to the people around you. Using people around you as recruiters for your shop works well because you generally get a higher quality applicant.

Your technicians can be great recruiters for your business. That’s because technicians know other technicians, and will tell you about the ones they want to work beside. Doing this benefits both of you because the technician will help to find a new worker that they respect, and you’ll get a good technician as a result.

Offering a financial bonus as an incentive helps motivate your technicians to bring job applicants to you. Create bonuses that are equal to what you have been paying for employment ads. You might want to phase-in the bonus you offer. For example, if a technician refers a job applicant who ultimately gets hired, give that technician 25 to 50 percent of the promised bonus at the time of hire. Then give out the remainder of the bonus after the new employee has been with the shop for six months.

Another source to acquire job applicants is from your tool man. They are in shops all the time, and you might be amazed at how well they will recruit for you for a little cash in return.  

It is hard to offer new technicians a higher hourly rate as a tactic to lure them to your shop. Using a sign-on bonus can provide financial appeal without costing you a decrease in labor gross profit

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