Finding qualified shop personnel can present a challenge, especially today. The unfortunate problem that many businesses face today has to do with finding people who want to work, and finding people who have a work ethic and are willing to roll up their sleeves and commit themselves to a job...any job.
While “stealing” technicians from other shops has been and always will be an option, consider forming an alliance with local trade schools. Offer your shop’s facility in the form of an “open house” event, inviting students to tour your shop, with your techs on site to provide a face-to-face with the students. Give the students a chance to see your operation and your shop’s daily routine. This gives them an opportunity to see how a shop runs its daily affairs in the “real world,” including shop maintenance, typical repair jobs, diagnostic work, etc. Your resident technicians can discuss, one-on-one, how the shop operates, how to deal with customers, and the range of duties and skills that are required. They can talk about everything from entry level to master tech positions, along with opportunities for advancement. This type of open-house event can take place after hours or on weekends when no customers are present, which allows you to invite groups of students.
In addition, separate programs consisting of small groups (perhaps three to five students) can take place on a workday, where students have an opportunity to see how service writers and technicians interact with customers. Keeping such groups small allows you to expose students to a typical workday to observe, without getting in the way, much like medical residents in small groups are allowed to observe hospital practices.
By allowing students to closely interact with your shop’s technicians, your techs may be able to motivate them by describing exactly what they do and the satisfaction they get by seeing a job to completion. One-on-one casual conversations can work wonders for students who previously may have only attended classroom sessions and have never been exposed to “real world” scenarios.
Creating this type of program provides valuable insight for trade school students who are considering the automotive repair field as a profession, and it gives you the chance to meet (and evaluate) potential shop employees. At worst, you may gain absolutely nothing for your efforts. At best, you may encounter a few select people who appear to have a sense of purpose and potential and deserve consideration for future employment.