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I know this sounds the same, I have a shop in Florida Panhandle , I have had very little turnover the last 35 years but more the last 3. How do you guys get qualified techs to apply. I have run some ad's and get the driveway worker. My business is growing so fast I could use 2 lead techs now, I have 3. I always have paid just straight commision start at 37% highest one is at 40%. I had one guy turn 6800 last 2 weeks. I have 3 to 4 weeks car waiting. The money is there , I just do not seem to know how to get these good techs in here. I have paid for ad's , free craigslist. I know there is a shortage. I also know I am the highest paying shop in our area. I need some outside the box ideas. Thanks guys David

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I guess that is the ethical part of me I have a hard time hurdling, I am in such a small town although I feel it is coming to that. I am not saying it is unethical, I guess it is time to change my thinking. Funny I just had one of my 30 year customers tell me the same thing you just did. Have a good one.

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Food for thought-

 

This is how I hire -

 

No experience necessary.

 

Experience, as in years doing a job means very little. You can spend your whole life doing things incorrectly. So you can be experienced at being a bad mechanic, carpenter, lawyer, accountant, etc. So spending alot of years doing something does not make you good at it.

 

I hire and test personality, intelligence, aptitude, and reading comprehension.

 

So anyone and everyone that applies MUST take a personality, IQ, aptitude and reading comprehension exam. NO EXCEPTIONS. Good people want good fair pay. "Mechanic" or not, if they have ALL these traits with the willingness to work hard you have a winning team. In my experience this is 1 out of 150 resumes. I have 250+ resumes on hand from the past 2 months. The majority of people are ok IQ wise, are 50/50 personality wise. Where they really go south is on the aptitude test and reading comprehension.

 

The aptitude test I give is not very difficult I feel, yet there is a 95% failure rate. I thought WE were grading them wrong, so I called the company to verify the correctness of the grading and sure enough the applicants were failing. People suggested it was too difficult, so I had my wife take it exactly as anyone else applying and she scored a 94 and she has no mechanical ability that I know of but she has the aptitude to do mechanical actions if necessary. That it is what I'm looking for.

 

Yet the biggest test failure I found is reading comprehension. People read words and have no clue what they are reading. They can read you a whole repair manual section, pronounce every word perfectly aloud and still have no clue what they read and therefore can't proceed in the proper doingness.

 

The reading comprehension shows that they can comprehend what they are reading and the aptitude test shows that they can comprehend what they read and do the actions necessary and properly from what was read and comprehended.

 

So instead of hiring "mechanics" which was my long standing error I changed the ads to - "We are recruiting hardworking, ethical, intelligent people who enjoy working in the mechanical industry for great pay."

 

Don't limit yourself to "mechanics".

 

What's really needed and wanted, at least in my shop are hard-working, willing human beings with the personality, IQ, aptitude, and reading comprehension to do the job. I guarantee you that when hire in this fashion with ALL these criteria you will make money and have efficient technicians.

 

When you hire a "mechanic" by his sweet talk or demeanor, now you have an unverified and probably invalid claim of ability. But most people learn this lesson the hard way as I did. Hiring and realizing that I just threw my hard earned money away to support a shop liabilty(mechanic) that has created more chaos and bad products than his apparent worth was .

 

This does not mean that a current mechanic does not meet the criteria but it does mean that if he does not meet all the criteria you more likely than not have a liability more than an asset on your hands.

 

So I would post a "now hiring" ad for hardworking, intelligent people for those who love working on cars. And test the above stated criteria and you will get a ton of resumes. Maybe none of them have previous experience but if they have a great personality, a high IQ, a high aptitude, good reading comprehension they are worth hiring on probation for 3 months to demonstrate they are hard workers, learn quickly and willing to do the job and deserve high pay. Since they also meet that criteria we automatically know that they can read, learn and apply the data to use a lift or piece of equipment, diagnose a vehicle properly, fix a car or piece of equipment, etc.

 

And if they claim they cannot or are unwilling well they're fired for being lazy. The only test I have for determining if someone is a hard worker is to put them to work and see what they produce by statistics. But that's a different topic.

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That's a pretty interesting a approach. What do you do about tools for your new hires if they're from outside our industry?

So I hire one person at a time now, there was a time I would put 3 people on at a time and cut out the unworkable but it was much harder to manage plus the dynamics were too unpredictable.

Even experienced mechanics that would come in would work out of my tool box which is 15/16 Snap On and 1/16 Matco. I do not want anyone bringing any tools for at least 2 weeks because I don't know if they're a keeper yet. Sure it will slow things down in the beginning a bit, but you get a great feel of who's who and what's what. Who's organized and who's scatter brained. Typically by the time they made it through the testing they are solid with the only unknown being, will they work hard.

 

As for out of the industry new hires, they use my tools initially in the now known as "the community tool box". I find that new hires are eager to accumulate tools and a box. I guide them accordingly to not get in over their heads and to buy only what is necessary. NOT WHAT LOOKS INTERESTING or is being promoted. But people make their own financial decisions and we are not the tool police.

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I second that question and also ask that you fill us in on the testing your use.

There have been 2 testings I've used. One was from ATI and one was from Management Success from a company called MasterTech. I believe I paid around $1000. to $1500. for it. But the tens of thousands I must have saved in wasted time and nonsensical claims is priceless to me. The latter is the one I currently use and I find it to be all encompassing.

 

 

Personality, IQ, Aptitude. The reading comprehension exam I use is the entry level exam from the local community college. People especially these days must know what they are reading, understanding and what they are doing. It is amazing to give people these exams and see the results. But you now have a good picture of what you will be working with instead of finding out on the dance floor that your partner can't dance. Predictably of a person's intelligence and capabilities is always better than guessing and hoping and finding out 10 cars down the line that they are all comebacks.

And ability to study, learn, understand and apply is senior to "experience" because we know we have someone that at least meets the bare minimum qualifications of learning how to do things and can follow directions with the predictability of doing a good job.

 

I'm sure there is other testing out there, but not testing and relying on hope that the person is what he says he is without verification of any kind I think is nuts. References are good but that per someone else's definition and standard of good. Though I do check references always.

 

In my belief, the fact that the majority of shops probably don't test and allow any warm body through the door is a main reason we are looked at as grease monkeys and not professionals. I would bet 1/3 of our work force in the aftermarket repair industry are professionals while 2/3 are dabblers.

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There have been 2 testings I've used. One was from ATI and one was from Management Success from a company called MasterTech. I believe I paid around $1000. to $1500. for it. But the tens of thousands I must have saved in wasted time and nonsensical claims is priceless to me. The latter is the one I currently use and I find it to be all encompassing.

 

 

Personality, IQ, Aptitude. The reading comprehension exam I use is the entry level exan from the local community college. People especially these days must know what they are reading, understanding and what they are doing. It is amazing to give people these exams and see the results. But you now have a good picture of what you will be working with instead of finding out on the dance floor that your partner can't dance. Predictably of a person's intelligence and capabilities is always better than guessing and hoping and finding out 10 cars down the line that they are all comebacks.

And ability to study, learn, understand and apply is senior to "experience" because we know we have someone that at least meets the bare minimum qualifications of learning how to do things and can follow directions with the predictability of doing a good job.

 

I'm sure there is other testing out there, but not testing and relying on hope that the person is what he says he is without verification of any kind I think is nuts. References are good but that per someone else's definition and standard of good. Though I do check references always.

 

In my belief, the fact that the majority of shops probably don't test and allow any warm body through the door is a main reason we are looked at as grease monkeys and not professionals. I would bet 1/3 of our work force in the aftermarket repair industry are professionals while 2/3 are dabblers.

This is very interesting, I watch and talk to techs all the time about how something works , example lets check that bad fuel pump or cut a ac condensor apart and ask them how the system works. It blows me away at some of the answers and questions a "what I thought" good tech will ask. I am not the smartest tech or shop owner by any means although I want to know how it works ,most have no clue. I personally feel like once you understand the way it works it is a lot easier to diagnose and repair. I have 1.5 alignment guys , 1 has been with me for 30 years ,started on gauges and toe stick. The other .5 guy is a young guy that worked a Honda dealership , he has absolutely know idea how to align a car with a camber gauge and toe stick , me and the older tech tried to explain to him how alignment works , basic older techniques , he cannot get the fact you start level u actually could use a tape measure for toe in and a level for camber. Did not even go to camber. I watched him tell a customer about some torque keys and it would make his truck ride real bad, I went outside and called him out and said do you really know what you just said. It all has to do with how much you torque the rod not necessarily the key. He looked at me like a deer in headlights and says boss your wrong. I let him go a few weeks later. I will screen better. Knowledge is so powerful and professional , it always shows in the special shops . You guys have some great ideas, i am glad I found you. Have a good day

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Wow, that is an impressive recruitment process you have setup andresauto! We do something similar, but not quite as impressive, haha. We also make our techs take a written technical exam as well as a practical exam that our lead technician conducts. For the written exam, it is very similar to what an ASE test would be like and entails all 8 sections, 2 questions from each section for a total of 16 questions. The practical exam, we rig one of our employee cars with a MIL light (Check Engine, Air Bag, etc.) and analyze how the technician uses wiring diagrams, scan tool, and All Data to diagnose the issue. The practical exam gives us a good idea of the tech's thought process in resolving issues. I will say that after starting this 2 step testing, we have weeded out a number of technicians that we would not have known would not succeed here otherwise based on the number of years they have been tech's.

 

The other question about actually getting techs to apply, that's a whole different story. We, just like most shops, have a hard time finding new technicians that are knowledgeable. We use Indeed.com and Craigslist to post employment ads. I do think the other posters have good idea's in regards to talking to tool truck guys, asking your local parts vendors, and recruiting from other businesses.

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Wow, that is an impressive recruitment process you have setup andresauto! We do something similar, but not quite as impressive, haha. We also make our techs take a written technical exam as well as a practical exam that our lead technician conducts. For the written exam, it is very similar to what an ASE test would be like and entails all 8 sections, 2 questions from each section for a total of 16 questions. The practical exam, we rig one of our employee cars with a MIL light (Check Engine, Air Bag, etc.) and analyze how the technician uses wiring diagrams, scan tool, and All Data to diagnose the issue. The practical exam gives us a good idea of the tech's thought process in resolving issues. I will say that after starting this 2 step testing, we have weeded out a number of technicians that we would not have known would not succeed here otherwise based on the number of years they have been tech's.

 

The other question about actually getting techs to apply, that's a whole different story. We, just like most shops, have a hard time finding new technicians that are knowledgeable. We use Indeed.com and Craigslist to post employment ads. I do think the other posters have good idea's in regards to talking to tool truck guys, asking your local parts vendors, and recruiting from other businesses.

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Andre, let me make sure I have this straight. You are using two tests! One U.S. A reading comprehension exam and the other is the Mastertech exam! Am I correct?

 

Joe, does elite offer any employee testing.

That is correct, I am using the MasterTech tests for aptitude, IQ and personality. Separately and from the local community college I am using there entry level reading comprehension exam. The reason I started doing reading comprehension exams which are not associated with Mastertech is because, people were failing the aptitude test left and right. I could not figure out why. I initially thought we were grading them incorrectly because it was not very difficult as far as I was concerned. So when I was looking it over I realized these people are not fully comprehending what they are reading. It's like they are speed reading and not understanding what is being asked of them to do. So I decided to get a local community college entry exam, which I felt minimally they should be able to have that level of reading comprehension to make a decent employee. High school to college reading comprehension I felt was a fair estimation and requirement of ability.
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We need to create and have an educated industry. We need to be known as the magicians of the society. We need to be professionals in manner and aptitude and do professional quality work. Anything less than that is regarded as a financial burden of an inconsistent hack industry. I don't want to be regarded as a hack and I'm certain the majority of shops owners would agree that they want to have professional employees, do professional work and have a professional shop atmosphere and environment.

That starts at the top of the chain of command. But every time we hire or allow an unable body into the shop without valid and verifiable evaluation we are taking a huge risk toward our business, our morale and our industry.

 

Put it this way, not everyone that wants to be a doctor can be a doctor without passing a basic standardized exam for that field. Another example, I had a friend who failed his BAR exam 3 times. Would I want him as an attorney, unfortunately no. And he is a good friend but I don't believe he has the ability to represent me. To become a stock broker you must pass a Series 7. To become an accountant or enrolled agent you must be able to pass the tax law and finance exams.

 

To become a "mechanic" you walk in, tell your heroic tales and if you make a connection with the owner or hiring manager you're in and your under the hood of some poor unsuspecting customer's car that may or may not need to come back 3 times for the same problem.

 

There needs to be a standard. And standardly every mechanic should have a professional attitude and manners, a decent IQ, a high aptitude, but most importantly good reading comprehension to understand what he/she is doing, supposed to do and understand what is needed, wanted and required on the job.

 

The field of mechanics has changed tremendously from my point of view over the last twenty years and the mechanics of today will be outdated like the mechanics of yesteryear if they don't have these basic qualities and abilities.

 

WE NEED TO ENHANCE OUR INDUSTRY WITH STANDARDIZED ABILITIES AND REQUIREMENTS!

 

The whole industry will be better for it.

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I agree there should be a technician license one must get to go to work. Like an electricians license in many states - pass the exam, pass the schooling, pass the apprenticeship program and then go out into the field. There's too much liability for learning impaired people to be tinkering with peoples brakes and steering systems. I've seen "professional" mechanics put 20' of rubber fuel hose in cars secured with hose clamps. Not on a 50's 2psi Studebaker but a 2007 65psi system. This particular case had the lines tie strapped 1/2" from the cat. Of course it flunked inspection but that kind of ignorance reflects on all of us.

 

I'm not suggesting the mechanic test be as difficult as a MD exam because not everyone has the means to succeed at that level, but something is better than nothing.

Edited by alfredauto
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I agree there should be a technician license one must get to go to work. Like an electricians license in many states - pass the exam, pass the schooling, pass the apprenticeship program and then go out into the field. There's too much liability for learning impaired people to be tinkering with peoples brakes and steering systems. I've seen "professional" mechanics put 20' of rubber fuel hose in cars secured with hose clamps. Not on a 50's 2psi Studebaker but a 2007 65psi system. This particular case had the lines tie strapped 1/2" from the cat. Of course it flunked inspection but that kind of ignorance reflects on all of us.

 

I'm not suggesting the mechanic test be as difficult as a MD exam because not everyone has the means to succeed at that level, but something is better than nothing.

I agree, you don't think that ASE tests are enough? You find the guys that say those tests are junk and you don't need them. I found the reason they say that is because they can not pass the tests. If you know what you are doing and are competent, then you should have no problem passing the tests. I also agree you should be licensed to work on cars, every other job even a plumber needs a license why not mechanics? If they did, I am sure it would really weed out the street mechanic and also show the real worth of an honest true trained mechanic.

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I have noticed the shade tree mechanic in Florida Panhandle disappearing quickly, we had them on ever corner few years back. The shops in Florida are regulated by Dept of Agriculture but we have no car inspections on automobiles whatsoever. Go figure that one . I agree with some kind of standardized testing for techs, I just do not think it will ever happen. I really do think the public is starting to understand just how complicated and complex automobiles are today. I have preached to my customers the importance of correct diagnosis for years, funny how some customers are just not upfront about everything. You get what you pay for, I hear the stories down here everyday.

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We need to create and have an educated industry. We need to be known as the magicians of the society. We need to be professionals in manner and aptitude and do professional quality work. Anything less than that is regarded as a financial burden of an inconsistent hack industry. I don't want to be regarded as a hack and I'm certain the majority of shops owners would agree that they want to have professional employees, do professional work and have a professional shop atmosphere and environment.

That starts at the top of the chain of command. But every time we hire or allow an unable body into the shop without valid and verifiable evaluation we are taking a huge risk toward our business, our morale and our industry.

 

Put it this way, not everyone that wants to be a doctor can be a doctor without passing a basic standardized exam for that field. Another example, I had a friend who failed his BAR exam 3 times. Would I want him as an attorney, unfortunately no. And he is a good friend but I don't believe he has the ability to represent me. To become a stock broker you must pass a Series 7. To become an accountant or enrolled agent you must be able to pass the tax law and finance exams.

 

To become a "mechanic" you walk in, tell your heroic tales and if you make a connection with the owner or hiring manager you're in and your under the hood of some poor unsuspecting customer's car that may or may not need to come back 3 times for the same problem.

 

There needs to be a standard. And standardly every mechanic should have a professional attitude and manners, a decent IQ, a high aptitude, but most importantly good reading comprehension to understand what he/she is doing, supposed to do and understand what is needed, wanted and required on the job.

 

The field of mechanics has changed tremendously from my point of view over the last twenty years and the mechanics of today will be outdated like the mechanics of yesteryear if they don't have these basic qualities and abilities.

 

WE NEED TO ENHANCE OUR INDUSTRY WITH STANDARDIZED ABILITIES AND REQUIREMENTS!

 

The whole industry will be better for it.

yes The shop is only as strong as the weakest link.. Just like a dog sled team It can only go as fast as the slowest dog.

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ASE tests are a good indicator of a tech that knows his stuff, no doubt. If a guy can't pass the test then the tests have trick questions, or theres 4 right answers, or they didn't correct it properly. Lol I heard it all.

Yes all kinds of excuses . Being certified since 1991 I know these tests are a very good indicator. I like the ones that say "anyone can pass them all you have to do is read about it and you can pass them, so a bookworm can pass them doesn't say anything about the ability to do the job" that is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard. Anyone who has taken them knows for a fact that is not by any means true!

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When I started with my dad in 1975 we were just a Tire and Brake shop, when he retired in 97 we did not even do oil changes. I saw it changing ,I was younger and we went full service, boy I am glad we did. Therefore all my young learning years was tires ,recaps, front end and brakes. I am 55 now and I do not have any ASE certifications although i am in the process of starting to take them. Two of my techs are certified , although it is like anything else, I have seen guys with a arm full of patches not worth a flip and I have seen another guy with a arm full that was the sharpest guy ever. I think "most" of you guys have had a lot more experience and knowledge than I have had under the hood . I would really like to see this industry get a uniformed code for license. It would really help clean out the rip raft. We are still going to have the dishonest guys , you never can stop that, they are in everything although the computer has made the consumer more informed. I have female consumers today wanting to look at date codes on tires, most guys and a lot of tire people have no idea how and where it is located years ago they never even new it existed. I still occasionally go outside and True and Strobe light balance a set of tires and people look at me amazed. in the 70's i did almost every tire that way. I have one other guy out of 8 with me that can true a tire. I still use my on the car spinner daily for wheel bearings and other stuff, I still think it is a time saver and feel strongly about being able to duplicate a sound with a car on a rack. There still is a common sense issue in all we do . As someone recently spoke about the reading comp test on pre employment really got my head spinning about that issue, me and all my techs need to slow it down just a bit and digest what we read, as we no some techs are hardheaded and stubborn, they to me, are the losers in there ability to repair and diag a car. HAS THERE BEEN ANY DISCUSSION IN THE LAST FEW YEARS ON STATE OR FEDERAL LEVEL ABOUT THE LISCENSE ISSUE ??? We all know times are changing, one thing I have never ever wavered from that is the Ethical Business Practices that my father instilled in me and that my friends is one of the biggest secrets, I feel, to putting the whole puzzle together. After all these years I still love my work and really enjoy my customers.

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If you want to hire good prospects, try your local trade school. Get to know the instructors, they can tell you who has the aptitude and work ethic. Some schools have a program development council that gives employers input into the curriculum taught, and it gives the employer chances to interact with the students.....

 

 

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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