Most shops use the strategy of "post and pray" to recruit new technicians, Goninen said.
"It's not the way you should do it to be successful. It's a piece of it, but when it's your entire strategy, I think you're setting yourself up for failure."
Both men encouraged shops to not rely on one approach for recruiting but to use a variety of formats: post on job boards, actively post on social media, ask for referrals and develop a pipeline with local high schools and tech colleges.
Shops should market themselves and publicize why the shop is a great place to work and what sets them apart from other employers.
"I think one of the major issues we've got is being able to take a step back and look at how we compare to other industries, other shops and really, truly being able to see what it is that we are. Why are we unique as a shop? What's different about us?" Goninen suggested.
Determining what is unique and different about a shop, compared with another shop down the road, involves more than offering free uniforms or being a family-based business. Those are things found in many a job ad, he said.
"It's growing a pipeline of people who know who you are and think that you are a pretty cool place to work. That's how you're going to change the perception of who you are," Goninen said.
Unfortunately the only social media content many shops post online is "We're hiring."
"It becomes redundant. Of course, you're hiring. So is every other shop in the nation," Goninen said.
He suggested the rule of 10-to-1 for social media posts: Make 10 different types of posts for every one hiring post. Social media posts should market the shop's brand to technicians and build an audience.
O'Brien and Goninen encouraged businesses the post social media videos to promote the workplace and the profession, noting that video content on social media gets 1,200% more shares than text and image content.
Tell your story of why you're unique and be proactive, Goninen suggested. After building an online audience, when the shop needs to hire, it can put a call out to that audience.
About 75% of job candidates are passive job seekers, they said, which means those technicians are currently employed and not actively looking for a new job, but are open to a good career opportunity. They're not looking for a new job but they're available.
Those are the candidates a shop wants to market to, Goninen said. They're not going to be browsing job boards, "but they would be willing to listen should something come across to them."