Choose new technicians more successfully by having your existing crew assist the screening process.
Establish a service department policy whereby your technicians have an informal get-acquainted session — over a meal, perhaps — with the person you want to bring on board.
Then have your techs write brief, spontaneous impressions of this potential new hire the morning after the meeting. Factor these evaluations into your own assessment of this applicant.
Successful owners and managers I know have spoken highly of this particular screening technique.
One of them, for example, has operated a thriving Japanese-vehicle repair shop for 25 years. He emphasized how important teamwork has been to the overall health and longevity of his business.
"These techs spend more time working together here than they spend with their own families. Their talents and personalities have to mesh instead of clash," he told me.
"That's why they help evaluate any new hire I make. They have to live with that person out in the bays, but I don't. So their impressions of a team player matter a great deal."
Increasingly, successful diagnosis and repair of many vehicles has demanded a team — rather than a solo — effort, the boss added. This has included techs' brains as well as brawn.
Experience has shown that your own trusted employees may provide valuable insights about a fellow tech you overlooked. As a matter of fact, they might sense things about another tech that even a human relations manager wouldn't.
Of course, their first impressions may be positive, negative or even lukewarm. Regardless, techs' reviews help the boss make a more informed hiring decision every time.
Frankly, the key here may be the willingness of an owner or manager to get their crew's input from one of these informal meals and bull sessions.
My sources also emphasized that their crews' assessments were enlightening, whether they were evaluating an experienced or an aspiring technician.
Naturally, an owner and/or manager of a tire dealership or service shop always has the final say on hiring. Understandably, a boss favors a reasonably streamlined hiring process.
So, he or she initially may resist the idea of expanding the hiring procedure to include the meet-and-greet meal session.
However, my sources said that the price of an informal dinner is a pittance. It's really cheap insurance against a bad hire.
Listening to their own techs' input, they noted, has helped them make better-informed, more-confident choices.
To be fair, any potential new hire — for any position inside a tire dealership or service shop — may be an excellent actor. But involving rank-and-file techs in the evaluation reduces the chance of a big talker or bullshooter fooling everyone.
Consider using the team "eval" approach if you aren't already. It looks like a winner.