I am posting, but you are not answering - That’s right, the days of posting ads for our open positions and getting responses like a Sugar Daddy in a strip club are as over as driving a starter remote kill car while not making payments.
What happened? Pre 2007, American workers were sucking up the good life with home equity, getting raises and feeling fat on money like a diabetic spooning up to Ronald MacDonald. Then: CRASH! The gigantic hangover part 1, part 2, part 3, etc. And that put Americans on a “life style cash crash diet” that left everlasting stretch marks to their psyches from unemployment to home loss.
That made pickings easy to find employees until 2nd half of 2014. (Spoiler alert: the US workforce now has as many employed as in 2006) We now are in a decline … no, a plummeting decline of jobseekers. Aging demographics of experienced auto/truck/tire/collision personnel, or individuals who have already left our industry, is no help either. The race to the bottom of auto/truck/tire/collision unemployment (0%) is here. Don’t believe it? Almost every auto/truck/tire/collision enterprise has an opening and can’t find the person with the skills to fill it, especially the skilled trades.
Dear Dealer and Auto Repair shop owners, It's not you, it's us. Also, it's you. – As mentioned above, our American workforce is suffering the Ebola effect amid declining workforce and aging demographics. On top of that, the auto/truck/tire/collision industry is about as attractive to non-auto industry workers as having a colonoscopy in an I-MAX theater. Let’s face it, with all the Silicon Valley and other desirable companies hyping their work environment including (and I am not making these up): ‘bring your pet to work policy”, “company provided yoga and massage”, “napping areas”, “bring your parent to work day”, (and best of all) “extend your fertility egg preservation” policy where dedicated employees can have their eggs harvested and frozen until a more finically advantaged time to bring in an offspring into the family. With benefits and perks like these, our auto/truck/tire/collision careers to Millennials are “Dead Jobs Walking”.
The American workforce is so backwards from just a few years ago, you would better understand it if you were dyslexic.
It’s an Unlimited Cage Fight to find auto skilled personnel - Better be prepared to find new ways to recruit because with a forecast of 16.7 million new vehicles being sold in the US in 2015, AND the economy recovering so that people can afford to repair their cars, YOU can’t afford to be shorthanded. The recruiting industry is NOW part of your business!
Since most anyone worth their salt in our industry IS employed, it now turns into a Cage Fight to find personnel with the “skills to pay our bills”. But here is your edge! There ARE still auto experienced people (with the skills you are seeking) who are looking for job opportunities. Here is how to get them …..
Passive but NOT aggressive - In Human Resource and Recruiting, candidates have been categorized into two pigeon holes: Active or Passive job seekers. Actives are usually unemployed, seeking out employers and job opportunities, as well as showing up for interviews (remember those days?). Passive Jobseekers however, are usually employed, but are UNDER-employed. They are not necessarily pursuing a job; they are waiting for a job to find them. Sound crazy?
LinkedIn: The social media board where professional people pontificate and post up information about themselves - If LinkedIn grows any faster or bigger, they will have to give it a hurricane name. Why is it growing so fast? Because most American companies’ Human Resource departments realize “unemployment percentages” that the government claims are way over-inflated. That is why American corporations are now chasing candidates on LinkedIn like the paparazzi chases Jessica Simpson. The Labor Department calls it J.O.L.T.S. - Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The simple definition of JOLTS is: the American worker has become astute and confident enough that he can look for another job while knowing that his employer can’t afford to dispose of him. The Labor Department keeps track of this statistic and as you can guess, the American worker feels his confidence coming back.
Proactive instead of reactive - So what is an owner or manager or recruiter in our industry to do? Auto/Truck/Tire/Collision skilled laborers/producers don’t use LinkedIn, but they DO post resumes on the Internet. We have already established that just waiting for candidates to contact you about a job opportunity is about as resourceful as trying to find Amelia Earhart. So finding qualified personnel resumes and reaching out to the candidates is how the BIG companies are surviving in today’s talent shortage.
Hope and Change? Well Americans have “Change” part – Recently a couple of studies released show that the average American no longer checks his email inbox or voicemails on a regular basis. Gone are the days when “You’ve got mail”, or the flashing voicemail light on your phone provoked the emotion of “can’t wait to find out who is trying to reach me” Most Americans now check their inboxes or voicemails no more than weekly. In many cases because the incoming messages are so numerous, many Americans just delete them all and start over.
Professional recruiters understand and embrace this “change”. That is why any successful recruiter will tell you that they reach out to the candidate AT LEAST 3 TIMES BY PHONE AND EMAIL, SOMETIMES MORE!
Seeking a cure for American’s character flaws … or better known as “luckless recruiting”? – Typical reaction I get about reaching out to a candidate at least 3 times from auto/truck/tire/collision owners, managers, or Human Resource managers is their facial expression looks like a TV screen that goes “fade to black”. Then their response is: “If the candidate does not respond to my call or email after one attempt, I don’t want them!” Seeking a cure for what you perceive as a character flaw of candidates is like pushing a rope. Reality- If you don’t show today’s auto skilled workers hard core attempts that you really want to visit with them, someone will! You can say that multi attempts to contact a candidate is “weapon grade stupidity”, or you can make the effort that the competition won’t. But making extra efforts like this in your career ….. isn’t that why you are more successful today?
When fishing, go where the fish are – And now you must find venues to view candidates in our industry. ACT is THE most target rich venue when it comes to resumes in the auto/truck/tire/collision industry. ACT actually pulls from other sources too. This is called “scraping” or “sourcing”, but whatever they want to call it, the more resumes and profiles you can view … the better.
It’s a numbers game, Baby – Many of your attempts to contact candidates WILL be simply ignored by candidates. Some days you will feel like you might as well gas up the dinghy and go fishing with Fredo from Godfather II. Other days you will get responses. But one thing is certain, the more candidates you attempt to contact, the better chance you will get candidates to respond. It is all about the number of candidates you reach out to.
You feel safe when you are in control - But you MUST steer into the ‘crazy skid’ of proactively contacting candidates. I know it is out of your comfort zone to pursue candidates instead of them contacting you, however, think about the book The Agony and the Ecstasy, written by Irving Stone, about the life of Michelangelo describing the risk and rewards. You are today’s Michelangelo.
Good Hunting – Joe Henry, owner of ACT Auto/Truck/Tire/Collision Staffing