Businesses today are embracing new recruitment techniques to find the perfect candidates.
Good, skilled employees make up the backbone of every business. With the constant rigorous changes taking place in the automotive industry, every segment under its umbrella is struggling to find enough individuals to join the bandwagon. The situation faced by tire shops is no different. Besides lack of available skilled labour, steep competition from other organizations, higher wages in other sectors, disbursement of benefits and lack of interest are some of the many challenges that tire shops face when recruiting candidates.
“Our biggest challenge when it comes to recruiting is finding skilled talent. The automotive aftermarket industry is currently facing a skilled labour shortage, so finding a qualified Journeyman or experienced service truck operator in the sector can be difficult, especially in rural areas. Encouraging young people to enter the automotive industry, in general, can be a challenge, and it is a non-traditional sector for women. Fountain Tire supports trades training and on-the-job development at our local store level to ensure the future pipeline of skilled workers for our industry,” explains Shad Smereka, General Manager, People and Store Innovation at Fountain Tire.
In the midst of recruiting fresh talent for its corporate office in Edmonton as well as its 160 stores across Canada, the roles available within the automotive industry. Therefore, this section comes in handy to clarify the type of work that Fountain Tire offers. Stories of real associates talking about what they do and why they love their jobs are also shared in this space.
Hussey, on the other hand, has not used a “Careers” section to find people. Fountain Tire is primarily focusing on scouting for candidates that not only have the necessary technical skills and experience, but also fit well with the culture of each local store.
Walking down the traditional path
Before the advent of the Internet age, tire shops often relied on newspaper job postings, word of mouth referrals and in-store advertisements for open positions. Tire shops still continue with these methods to look for talent. Rod Hussey, owner of OK Tire & Auto Service in Fredericton recalls a time when he would call up local parts suppliers looking for recommendations of good candidates. It is not so easy for him anymore, he says. A trend he has noticed with his shop is that there are fewer candidates who apply for the same position.
At Fountain Tire, traditional techniques sometimes do work out in helping with personnel hunting. “We do whatever works in the local community to raise awareness. Our store managers are also actively involved in their communities, and maintain strong relationships with secondary schools, technical colleges and other local businesses,” says Smereka.
He further adds that the company focuses heavily on partnership and collaboration. As such, word-of-mouth marketing and referrals have often been successful methods of connecting its store managers with employees that fit their culture.
Recruitment and job-seeking methods have changed tremendously in the last couple of decades and will continue to change. The Internet era has opened up several new avenues for head-hunting that companies may explore.
“Candidates have different expectations in 2019 than they did in 1999—and so do employers,” says Dave Fraser, Ontario Education Coordinator, Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA).
However, not shying away from implementing new methods, his shop has done a fair amount of online recruiting through job portals. The challenge of posting positions online, he finds, is that there is no way of telling who will apply.
“Since you don’t know at the beginning, you might be going through a lot of applications trying to figure out who’s who. There is a possibility of receiving a high volume of responses, but there might be someone from Texas applying for a job in Canada without realizing it,” he explains. To counter this, he suggests requesting that candidates input certain information at the time of applying. This could streamline the process better.
At Fountain Tire, getting the company’s message out to a broader audience is deemed important since it allows it to connect with a large base of skilled candidates. Smereka explains that this is a necessary tactic in today’s competitive hiring environment. “Beyond our website, Fountain Tire recruits on employment-related search engines and job websites. We take a proactive approach in promoting our jobs rather than waiting for the ideal candidate to find us,” she adds.
Fraser notes that there has obviously been a successful shift in terms of recruitment. “Look at how many posting sites and services are out there now! But the reliance on these sites can’t be the entire recruitment process,” he cautions.
Social media platforms
A new avenue that Hussey has found useful is finding the right people through social media platforms like Facebook. He believes that such platforms often help in understanding candidates better.
Reiterating this point, Smereka says that digital and social media provide a great opportunity to quickly connect job postings with qualified candidates. However, companies have to go beyond advertising to find their perfect fit. “We encourage our local owners to network within their communities to advertise their opportunities. Supporting up-andcoming talent in the industry and building relationships with trades training schools ensures a future pipeline of skilled workers for your own business and for the industry overall,” she says.
LinkedIn, Twitter, I n s tagram, Facebook are all great platforms for employers to connect with potential candidates. “Raising awareness and brand image of your organization through a strong social presence is key! No one’s going to apply to a company that they can’t learn about online,” explains Fraser. “The other thing I’m seeing a lot more of recently is online networking—whether it’s a virtual career fair or a webinar ‘open house’—there’s lots of opportunity for recruiters to undertake many steps of the hiring process online,” he adds.
Smeraka believes that embracing online tools is critical to recruiting these days, but it is not a differentiator. “We leverage it as a tool to inform people about opportunities. It is the local owners’ involvement in the community that really takes recruiting to the next level,” she concludes.