It should come as no surprise that young, talented students graduating from technical school collision programs are in high demand. One of the biggest struggles that many shop owners face is finding and recruiting new talent, says Dave Schedin, principal consultant at CompuTrek Automotive Management Systems.
And that process starts with advertising your job opening properly. It’s not enough to have a perfectly written, great-looking ad if no one sees it, Schedin says.
“The volume of resources and sites available can overwhelm both shop owners and job seekers, making it difficult for your job to stand out,” he says.
In addition, best practices for advertising job openings have changed thanks to the Internet.
“Newspaper ads just don’t seem to cut it,” says Schedin. “They’re very expensive and are an ultra-bullet point list where you’re paying for every letter. The younger generation that we’re attracting wants more information. They want to know about the job.”
Eddie Francis, a job recruiting consultant for Caliber Collision, says that shop owners need to get creative with how they advertise their openings.
“I think you have to realize that it’s a brave new world,” he says. “No longer is this an industry where you just walk down the street and get somebody to work in your shop.”
By properly maximizing the use of new platforms and resources, shop owners can save time and money during the hiring process. Francis and Schedin outline the best places to post job openings, how to correctly use available resources, and how to make sure your ad doesn’t get lost in the mix.
The Best Resources on the Web
Utilizing the Internet is the easiest way to reach those actively looking for a job. However, deciding where to invest your money among the numerous online job boards can be tricky. Here are Francis and Schedin’s top four picks:
Craigslist. Hands down, they agree that Craigslist is the best resource for attracting local talent to a facility. The site receives some 20 billion page views a month, meaning the volume can’t be beat. The site is extremely affordable. Craigslist only charges for “help wanted” ads (a one-time cost of roughly $25) in select major U.S. cities, while all other ads are free. Finally, the site does not impose a word limit, allowing shops to create a post of any length and include images, videos and links.
Here are a few tips for making best use of the site.
Because of the sheer volume of posts, the job posting must be specific, especially the title.
Rather than “Looking for body techs,” Schedin recommends phrasing it as, “Looking for an experienced, master-level brake technician.”
The titles should be short enough to fully display in search results, but long enough to be descriptive. Schedin says you should add keywords and job categories that maximize your search engine optimization (SEO) potential, as well as use common, recognizable language.
Another trick to making your Craigslist post stand out is understanding the lifecycle of an ad. Because Craigslist ads fall lower on the list every time a new ad is posted, Francis says that your ad can become buried quickly. If you’re posting for a job that will have business hours, Schedin recommends putting the ad up early on a weekday morning and avoid posting on Fridays.
If an ad isn’t attracting the attention you expected, Schedin also recommends taking the ad down for a while.
“If you keep the ad up there, it becomes stale and moves to the back of the list,” he says.
Instead, wait a week before re-posting and before doing so, change up the language of the ad.
“If you keep renewing the same ad, people will think that nobody wants to work there,” he says. “Keep the language fresh and write a
LinkedIn. Francis says that in recent years, he has found more and more collision repair professionals using LinkedIn. He notes that there are two ways of utilizing LinkedIn: posting job ads to LinkedIn job boards or actively recruiting technicians who have posted their résumés to the site.
Francis says that more than any other social media website, LinkedIn has the reputation of being professional, so shop owners should take pains to show that their shop is professional and serious about attracting talent. He suggests creating a company page for your shop and taking advantage of the site’s capabilities by seeking endorsements, uploading pictures and updating your status.
“I think a lot of folks could benefit from LinkedIn by using status updates to talk about what their shop is doing,” he says. “Upload pieces of information like awards or recognition, and upload pictures of your shop or the work that you do. That sort of information is very helpful and it gives somebody who is looking for an opportunity a very positive image of your shop.”
Francis also recommends joining forums or discussion boards specific to the collision repair industry, which can often provide opportunities to post jobs and directly reach additional potential candidates.
Facebook and other social media. Schedin says that social media sites have one significant benefit: Your connections are the people who know your company best, he says. That means your employees, customers and business partners.
That being said, he cautions that social media sites may not be the right fit for every shop to post job ads. First, he says that you already need a substantial social media presence before posting a job opening. Then, when you have a job opening, put your network to work.
“When you’re placing an ad on Craigslist, you’re specifically going after someone who is looking for a job. On Facebook, you’re enrolling your friends and followers to engage in a conversation for you and for your benefit,” he says. “Why should they tell somebody to work at your shop? What is the incentive for them?
Schedin recommends providing an incentive for Facebook followers to refer a potential candidate by offering a gift card or other reward. Francis says that job openings can also be posted to Facebook Marketplace.
“They are great sites for professionals to upload their résumés and also great sites for shops to look for talent,” Francis says. “However, they are often woefully underutilized.”
Francis says he has had some luck finding talent through the sites and recognizes the potential. He encourages shop owners to post openings and professionals to upload their résumés to drive more traffic to
Following Up After the Posting
Francis says that one of the keys to successful recruiting is treating the talent like talent.
“Customer service does exist in recruiting,” says Francis. “In recruiting technicians and painters, they really appreciate being addressed like professionals. They love a professional delivery and voice, and they love feeling like they’re being recruited.”
What that means is properly following up with every single job applicant. First, create an uncomplicated application process. Either allow candidates to send their résumés/applications via email, or embed widgets from Career or Monster on your website so applicants can apply with their pre-existing profiles.
After receiving an application, send a quick email letting the candidate know that his or her application was received and the date by which you will get back to them. If you choose not to interview an applicant, send a short email saying, “Thank you for your interest. The job has been filled but we will keep your résumé on file.”
“When a shop breaks contact with someone they’re actively recruiting, that sends a bad message about the shop itself,” says Francis. “That one-sentence email can make a big difference. You never know if they could be the right person for your next job opening. Or they may be willing to pass the word along to someone they know who is qualified.”