Always Be Recruiting

Always Be Recruiting

Do you ever feel like you are just starting to gain a little momentum with your business growth and then someone on your team quits bringing everything to a screeching halt again?

Of all the factors limiting business growth, I can’t think of anything as costly as not having the people needed to properly conduct business. Each time someone quits, a sequence of devastating events occurs, perpetuating and worsening the situation.

The same old story

James, your new body technician who was starting to show promise, just accepted a job at the big chain store down the street. Ouch! Now you as the owner or manager have to stop working on your business (again!) so you can work on cars! I guess the new S.O.P. manual and employee handbook you have been meaning to get to will need to be put off for another year… again.

Instinctively, you know how much this guy quitting is costing the company, so every moment you can spare (when you’re not doing body work), you spend trying to find another body man. Not to mention, you are getting seriously burned-out working 14-hour days.

Two months go by and you can’t believe your good fortune when your paint jobber sends over a guy who just got fired from the shop across town. Your interview process is swift! Your questions reveal not only does this person know how to breathe, walk and talk, he has his own tools too! Hired!

This story illustrates the vicious cycle occurring in far too many businesses these days. And, as you can probably guess, the people hired out of desperation are usually not the ones you need for sustainable business success.

Losing people

According to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report,  employers in the U.S. spend approximately one fifth of a worker’s salary every time a worker must be replaced. In 2019, 42 million people voluntarily left a job, costing businesses $630 billion. The interesting part of the study indicated of all those who quit, 78% were preventable by their employer!

Those are pretty staggering figures and, preventable or not, the blame for this problem lies completely on the company doing the hiring. In my opinion, the role of good company leadership is two-fold. First, to hire the right people while taking the time necessary to do so. And secondly, to retain them by building a business deserving of their talents.

2020 had a surprising lesson for many shop owners: it revealed the best and worst employees. Through furloughs and the Paycheck Protection Program, collision repairers got to see their peoples’ loyalty and work ethics, up close and personal. Many shop owners reported their decision to not bring back some of their furloughed people. The reason? With them gone, their productivity and morale actually went way up!

This begs the question… do you have people working for you who are actually holding everyone on the team down?

Finding the best people

Now let’s assume for the sake of this article that, as an employer, you have done a good job building a company where people don’t want to leave. However, you are still having trouble finding the right people. What can be done?

My friend Bruce King, the former owner of King Collision Centers, always says that at his company they didn’t try to fit square pegs into round holes. Instead, they only hired round pegs. This is one of the primary keys to building a powerful team. And I am the first to admit it takes time, but like anything worthwhile, it can be done if you attack it proactively as opposed to hiring out of desperation.

Once you know what the “right person” means to you, how do find them? The answer… A.B.R. Always Be Recruiting. From now on when someone asks you if you are hiring, the answer is always YES! Your new task as a shop leader is A.B.R. and it should literally be on your to-do list every day – whether you have a job opening or not!

Whether you have a spot open or not, this is an opportunity to start selling your business to this person… if they are good. This is your big opportunity to start building a relationship with them. If you have a spot open… great! If you have a poor performer and would like to replace them with a high performer… great!

If nothing else, you are building a relationship so when you do have an opening, you can immediately pick up the phone and say, “Hey my friend… the time has come!”

Here is a great tip for you…

Many shops post job openings only when they desperately need someone using platforms such as Indeed, Monster, or Zip Recruiter. Who hangs out on these sites? People who are out of work or people who really hate their current jobs. This demographic may not always make the best employee for you!

The guys and gals you want are probably working for someone else. You want to find the people who are not completely satisfied with their current work environment, but perhaps are not disgusted enough to be actively looking for a job.

The future of recruiting does not lie in transactions, it exists in your ability to build relationships!

How? Here are two ways…

  1. Leverage your existing workers to ask who they know at other shops who would be a good fit for your shop. Then reach out to them for a non-threatening and secure conversation. Get the conversations started and exercise patience as you continue building rapport.
  2. Use one of the most powerful relationship building tools available on the planet…social media.

Facebook and Instagram are incredible ways to inform the world why your body shop is your city’s employer of choice! There are also millions of professionals on LinkedIn you have direct access to if you spend the time to make new friends.

Consider running social media organic and paid ads year-round, this year, next year… every year!

If you want to build the winning team that will help you reach your potential, remember A.B.R.

If you want to stop working IN the business and start building the business of your dreams, remember A.B.R.



On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, I will be teaching in-depth on ‘Modern Recruiting Methods: Becoming the employer of choice’ during Operations Monthly LIVE. We are saying good-bye to methods that no longer work and hello to a positive work environment full of round pegs! Click here and sign up for Operations Monthly LIVE. I’ll see you soon for interactive management and operations training!



About the Author:

Dave shares his experience from over 30 years as a collision repair industry leader in leadership, lean and Theory of Constraints. Once the owner of a body shop himself, Dave draws on the realities of a real world collision repair shop in his consulting, writing and keynote speeches.

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