Hiring Tactics

Hiring Tactics
Two generations of jobbers, Steve Kreiger (left) and Zak Kreiger, Barton Auto Parts (Photo: Huw Evans)

Today’s big wide world of ‘hiring’ is vastly different than it was just a few years ago…

People and their job expectations have changed as well. I read something not too long ago that struck me as pretty wise: ‘Hire for attitude and train for skills.’

That may work well for many industries… but does it in today’s automotive aftermarket? We talked to a few jobbers to see how they went about hiring someone they needed for their store. Most jobbers still stick to their tried and true methods of the past but others have really gotten into the ‘new stuff’!

Al tells us they use ‘Indeed’ a lot—a job site that has many visitors each month. The mission of the Indeed site is to help people get jobs, so you can find lots of resumés and people looking for jobs that you can utilize. It also tells about the company who is looking for an employee.

“We try to find someone internally first… and if we can’t find someone suitable, we go to Indeed plus word of mouth. We ask our customers as well. They know our business and may know someone who will suit us. We look for great personalities and someone with experience would be great, but if someone comes in and ‘blows your socks’ off… willing to learn the business, has great customer skills, this could be our opportunity to train that person for the job. Someone with a different background such as sales already has the ‘meat and potatoes’ of how to look after a customer well, so this is an advantage. We also like to hire someone who is accountable and responsible; one who understands they have to look after our customers,” Al relates.

Analyze results

Rob reveals another method of hiring. “When I need to hire someone, I always have someone else in the room when I’m interviewing them. That person may get a different feeling than I do. Then we analyze the results after the interview. One thing I can’t stress enough is checking references! And the best people you could ever hire—I have them as part-time drivers—are retired people. And we get these drivers through references from other drivers. They know if that person will fit into our atmosphere here!” Rob remarks.

This advice came from Nick: “Hiring back in the day, we used to ask fellow staff members if they knew a good person for a job opening and/or we advertised in the newspaper. Since everyone is on the internet today, we use methods of advertising a job posting either by Job Bank, Kijiji and our web site. In addition, we post a sign at the front counter. That always gets good exposure with all the walk-in traffic we get in the store. We also receive customer referrals of a person they know who’s looking for work.

For the counterperson and other positions, we try to hire/train from within before exploring outside candidates. And, of course, our Human Resources Department reviews and assesses all applicants with due diligence.”

Never stops looking

Up in northern Ontario, Doug explains that for hiring staff he feels that all he does is interview… at least 5ish a week! “We never stop looking for people even when we don’t need people. And we tend to be overstaffed most of the time. That has been the saving grace on almost all fronts, meaning we feel we are good for staff in case someone’s spouse gets a transfer out of town, or someone goes off on sick leave.

“We also tend to hire a few people for the same position and train all of them at once. Then we do shift rotations and pick the best one or two. We have grown our staff to around 80 and I feel I have the privilege of working with the best people in the business. But that just doesn’t happen,” notes Doug.

From the Ottawa district, Fida says he hasn’t had to hire anyone is some time. Lucky guy! “When I do have to hire, I get the news out by word of mouth… I don’t advertise and I haven’t used online sources. We put a sign up at the front counter and that has worked as well. People also dropped off resumes because they know us. Our people also know other people looking for jobs, so it all works out.”

And this from Zak… a young jobber using today’s methods. “Today the labour market is very volatile and very reflective of macroeconomic issues within the Canadian Economy.

“Over the past five years, we have redefined our Human Resource processes to keep up with the programs of some of the best companies within our industry. We have introduced clear and concise position profiles and marketed open positions using industry best online recruiting websites such as ‘Indeed’ and Zip Recruiter’.

“We created and implemented a comprehensive on-boarding process for all employees, so all new employees had clear guidelines as to our company code of ethics and all our HR policies.

“These steps allowed us to become more transparent with new employees and with our current employees as to our expectations as a company for the future.”

Going back on the point of the labour market in Canada, the strength of the economy of the past few years created a big labour shortage and fierce competition within entry level positions as industries such as housing and construction boomed.

“Knowing this, we used our family business model to do our best to try to create a more positive workplace culture and some flexibility for our staff to try to help with retention and turn-over.

We absolutely were challenged with turn-over, but many of hires using our newly implemented hiring practices have turned out to be incredibly valued members to our team moving forward.

It is interesting to think about where the Canadian economy and labour market will go from here and how this will effect hiring at our level, but having a strategic focus on Human Resources practices and our people is how we feel we will be able to continue to improve our business model for the future.”

If you’re struggling with how to hire people, maybe some of these suggestions will help you and to find the person you’re really looking for.

 

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