Running a Shop Human Resources

Hiring for Success

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As a business owner, you invest a lot in your building, equipment, software, tools, and most importantly, people. Your employees are the lifeblood of your business, and you want to make sure you hire wisely. But what does that look like? How can you determine whether someone is the right fit for your shop?  


Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves 

Sid Upadhyay, CEO and Co-Founder of WizeHire, a hiring platform for small businesses, recommends that shop owners decide what qualities and skill sets a potential new employee must have to be successful in their job, versus those that would just be an added bonus. 

“Shop owners should put job requirements into two distinct categories: must-have and nice-to-have,” he says. “This is a must in today's tight labor market—many employers are often too selective and pass up great talent as a result. Must-have requirements should include only those skills and qualities that are absolutely essential for the job. Nice-to-have requirements, on the other hand, should be those that would be beneficial to have but are not essential. This approach will provide a wider pool of qualified candidates to choose from, and ensure that the best person for the job is ultimately hired.” 

Upadhyay says that employers should identify skills that can be taught on the job and remove those from the must-have list. Those could be part of a future development plan and instill growth in a new hire. 

“Job seekers today are looking for opportunities to grow in their careers and mentors to guide them,” he says. ”If they see that their growth is important to you, they’ll be even more attracted to the position and more engaged as employees.” 


Personality or Experience: Is One More Important? 

“To an extent, I believe personality and attitude are more important than experience when hiring a new crew member,” says Tyson Daniels, President of Threshold Automotive Service, which operates Grease Monkey shops in Idaho. “The quick lube is a team sport. It is amazing to see what a high-energy, positive team member can do as far as the morale and productivity of a shop. A team member that is consistent and customer-focused will usually take pride in the work they do and will want the people around them to be happy. With a quality training program, most of the positions inside the quick lube can be learned quickly.” 

Daniels’ shops utilize a combination of online and hands-on training to bring new hires up to speed in short order. 

“I am grateful to be part of the Grease Monkey franchise, which has given us access to the FullSpeed Training platform,” he says. “This platform allows us to take a new team member and quickly get them through a quality certification process alongside their hands-on training.” 

When it comes to hiring for other positions within the shop, however, Daniels pointed out that the opposite is usually true—experience matters more than personality. 

“As our company has grown, we have added internal positions where we are certainly looking for skill above personality,” he says. “Examples of these positions are marketing managers, bookkeepers, auto glass installers, certified mechanics, and alignment technicians.” 

Daniels says he doesn’t have formal training processes for those positions, but he seeks people with experience in those fields. It’s more important in those cases to have experience-based skills, because those are positions that are more self-directed. 


The Right Fit Is Unique to Your Operation 

“Shop owners shouldn’t focus on finding candidates with a specific personality type,” Upadhyay says. “Though there are some work styles and preferences that may better suit someone for a particular role, the most important thing is to build a team with a variety of personality types. A diverse team can help to prevent blind spots and ensure that all bases are covered. Most successful businesses have these sorts of well-rounded, cohesive teams.” 

Daniels agrees, and says there’s only one fatal personality flaw in a potential employee in his mind. 

“I love working with people that are passionate, shy, funny, serious, fast, slow, strong-willed and sometimes even people that are difficult!” he says. “All these personality traits can make a well-rounded team. The only type of people I cannot work with are the ones that will actively work against what we are trying to accomplish, making things more difficult for the team. I think we have all worked with the type. They are the ones that purposely put stumbling blocks in front of you while secretly hoping for your failure.” 

“As leaders, it's up to us to figure out how to work with different personality types,” Daniels says. “We need to be diligent in hiring people with great attitudes and finding where they will be most successful.” 

For Grease Monkey, that means using personality assessments and paying careful attention to employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and hiring accordingly. 

“We have realized everyone has individual strengths and something to contribute to the team,” Daniels says. “We have also learned that everyone has a few things they will never be great at or enjoy. Rather than train to someone's weaknesses, we would rather put people where they are strong and complement their role with someone who understands and enjoys the other parts of the job.” 

Upadhyay echoed that advice, and recommended that shop owners focus on finding new employees who will complement their current team and business as a whole.  

“When it comes to hiring new employees, there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” he says. “The most important thing is to find candidates who have the skills and personality traits that will fit well with your existing team and complement their skill sets, and fit well with your company culture. You can best determine a team fit through a combination of interviews and personality assessments.” 

Beyond just the personality fit, shop owners should also consider the motivational fit of prospective hires.  

“Understanding someone’s values and what motivates them can be a very important indicator of how well they will align with the business,” he says. “This can help you identify your top applicants, but more importantly, help you motivate and retain passionate employees by ensuring new hires are better aligned with and engaged in their work.” 

Once you’ve made your hiring decision, it’s time to turn a new employee into an asset for the business, says Daniels. 

“Keep your good people—train them, invest in them, set goals, and push them to be better,” he advises. “Don't be afraid to bring in new crew members—they have new ideas and new energy. Just know that you will need to incorporate how to drive a manual transmission into your new training procedures!” 


The Interview Process 

“There's no better way to find out if someone is a good fit for your company than by having a conversation with them,” says Upadhyay. “Consider using a personality assessment like DISC+ during the hiring process to provide key indicators that can help guide your questions. Ask about their experiences, their goals, and what they're looking for in a new position. See if their values and motivations align with your company's culture and the team dynamics you want to create.” 


Consider asking questions like: 

  • What’s most important to you in your next opportunity? 
  • Tell me about your career goals and what your plans are to get there. 
  • What are your top skills? 
  • What’s a weakness you have that you’re getting better at? 

Next, focus on their motivations and goals and how they align with your company: 

  • What did you start out doing at your last job? 
  • What is motivating you to leave? What are you looking for next? 
  • What were some of your successes? 
  • What was the biggest challenge you encountered there? 
  • Who was your manager? How would your manager rate your performance? 

Daniels follows that advice to a T, taking the time to sit down and have a conversation around goals and motivation with every potential new hire he interviews. Some additional questions he likes to ask include: 

  • Why did you apply with us? 
  • What are you hoping to get from the job? 
  • What motivates you? 
  • What other activities are you involved in that I'll need to be flexible in scheduling for? 
  • Is this something you want to do for a season or do you plan on staying a while? 
  • What hidden talents or abilities do you have that we may be able to leverage? 
  • How and why did you leave your last job? 

Presentation is also an important factor in any public-facing job, and Daniels advises assessing candidates on factors like dress and grooming. This also applies to verbal communication, smiling, and other gestures related to customer service. 


 

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