Fleets have been struggling with the technician shortage for years, and it doesn’t look like there will be a silver bullet to solve the problem anytime soon. However, there are some things you can do to improve your odds of getting the technicians you need.
1. Get active
If you are like most fleets, you are probably relatively passive in your recruiting efforts. This means you use job postings when you have a position to fill. According to Paul Nowicki, director of sales and operations at TransTechs, a technician staffing company, “With passive recruiting you are just waiting for folks to find you from whatever you put up from an advertising standpoint.”
On the other hand, active recruiting is a multi-tiered approach that says, “I am going out and searching for and connecting with candidates that may not be looking to switch jobs but are open to a next opportunity,” Nowicki explains.
Active recruiting means having a dedicated recruiting team that is actively searching across the country for eligible individuals and that keeps an up-to-date contact list so when a need arises they have candidates at the ready. It also includes tapping into current and previous staff members to get referrals from their networks. Consider offering referral bonuses as a way to encourage existing employees to recruit on your behalf.
2. Shift focus
Too often, recruiting has focused on the employer saying to the candidate, “I have this job and let’s determine if you are a good fit.” Today your approach needs to shift to what the technician wants and finding out what he or she is looking for in a job based on their current experience and expertise.
And while pay is certainly a big factor in attracting job seekers, other things are also important. Many technicians, especially ones who are beginning their careers, are also interested in knowing what their career path is. You need to spell out training opportunities, certification programs, etc., that are available to technicians and tell them about the benefits they will receive for completing such programs. “When technicians see how they can progress in the company, that goes a long way when it comes to retention,” Nowicki says.
3. Look outside
One of the biggest impediments to active recruiting is internal manpower, according to Nowicki. An outside recruiting firm addresses that issue and has dedicated staff looking for potential candidates who keep their pulse on your market area especially when it comes to pay rates and benefits.
Nowicki says in today’s technician recruiting environment there is a sense of urgency. An outsource recruiter keeps in close contact with potential candidates to inform you about other pending job offers, letting you know if you need to move quickly to make an offer to your preferred candidate.
“More often than not if someone has good job skills and good networking skills, they will be able to find multiple job offers in a very short period of time,” Nowicki says. “If you think you have a week or two to get somebody on board, you don’t.” Today’s job candidates expect frequent communication during the hiring process, and an outside recruiter can provide that direct contact.
Another benefit of using a recruiter is they can offer a “try before you buy” option. Also known as a working interview, this temporary-to-permanent option allows both you and the technician to work together for four to six months to see if it is a good fit before committing to a full-time position.