Tips on Hiring the Superstars in Competitive Times
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.
Since 1990, Bob has been the president of Elite Worldwide Inc. (www.EliteWorldwideStore.com), an ethics-based company that helps both struggling and successful shop owners take their businesses to new levels through one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top experts. The company also offers service advisor training, along with sales, marketing, and management seminars. You can contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 800-204-3548.