Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Three Most Overlooked Hiring Hacks

"Sometimes what you want is right in front of you. All you have to do is open your eyes and see it."Meg Cabot

Are you frustrated by your recent recruitment results? Heather, the owner of a European imports shop, felt the same way. She posted technician ads that consistently generated responses from the most talented, qualified, and experienced forklift drivers in New Hampshire! She decided to shift her focus from hiring someone skilled in diagnostics to bringing in an entry-level technician to groom. Henry, a general service tech working at a local shop, responded to her ad and arrived at the location for the interview. This was when things got interesting.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Fishing

Henry received a text message and replied to it right in the middle of the interview! “This is my friend Mark who works at Audi, asking me how things are going,” he said. To which Heather replied, “What does Mark do for Audi?” “Oh, he’s the top producing master technician.” “Would it be OK if I called him as well?” she asked.

He gave her the phone number and texted Mark, letting him know to expect a call. Heather was so inspired by Henry’s cooperation that she made a hiring decision. She decided to hire Mark, the Audi technician, and pass on Henry! Heather learned that asking your current interviewee about whom they know is an overlooked but effective hiring tactic!

In the book Triggers: Creating Behaviors That Last, author Marshall Goldsmith wrote, “one of our most dysfunctional beliefs is our contempt for simplicity.” In other words, it’s our natural tendency to overlook simple solutions in favor of more complex strategies.  

The lead to your next great employee may be within your four walls right now! What simple tactics have you been overlooking in your search for an “A” player? Keep reading, and your eyes will be opened.

Motor Supply Co | Driven to Save

Have a Visible Career Tab

Many of the shop owners I work with have a career opportunities tab on their site. Great! The problem is that most of these links are difficult to find because they are either hidden under other headings or buried at the bottom of the page.

According to research conducted by,  55% of website visitors will spend fifteen seconds or less on your site. This means the majority of technicians who stumble across your website will overlook your career opportunities link.

I recommend making your “careers” tab a major heading the same way you would have “home,” “about us,” and “contact us” listed. Under this heading, have subheadings for each position in the shop listed to include benefits and position descriptions and a simple online application. Making this change will keep your openings from being overlooked and position you to always be hiring!

Offer a Referral Bonus

You’ve listened to our hiring webinar and have now decided to implement the referral bonus with your people. Excellent! You may have overlooked that the “up to $1,000” bonus can also be a powerful tool when networking outside of your shop.

According to a recent industry study, 80% of shop owners reported finding their last great hire through some type of network. Consider the following referral bonus tactic to enhance your networking opportunities:

For shops that conduct tool raffles, ask the participating technician if he knows of anybody looking for a position. I love this question because it puts you in a win/win situation no matter how he responds. It’s a great time to ask, and you can recruit him or his friend without coming across as being pushy.

If he’s looking, he will let you know. If he’s not, remind him that you will pay up to $1,000 to anyone who finds you a good technician. This same question can be asked of your tow truck driver, vendors, and candidates you reach out to on LinkedIn. The bonus is paid out at $250 per quarter with the understanding that the referred employee has to be employed for the referring party to collect the payout.

So, there you have it. Going fishing, having a prominent career opportunities tab, and using the referral bonus question, are powerful hiring tactics that can be easily overlooked. You’re only a text message away from finding that “A” player!

Non-ATI Members: At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.