Tatum: What Do You Look For?

May 1, 2024
Characteristics in lube technician hires.

As we all struggle to find the right people to add to our teams, we need to look at what it is that we are looking for to begin with. The first step in finding the right people is to know what it is that you are looking for in the position. Since the position that we are always in the most need of is the lube technician, then that should be the focus of this article. I will go over a few things that might make it easier to understand or change what you are looking for.

The one thing that I needed to get my own teams to realize is that a lube technician position is an entry-level position into the automotive maintenance industry. What this means is that you are still going to be likely to lose more than you keep on the roster.

This could be from the technicians moving on to another opportunity, realizing that this is not the right job for them, or just not being able to keep up with the speed of our service centers. Putting together a list of things that you are looking for will help you minimize these losses by hiring the right candidate to begin.

Some of the things that my guys now look for in a technician can be answered by a few simple questions: Why do you want to work for us? Where do you see yourself in three-to-five years? Are you looking to be a technician, or do you want to be a manager someday? Three simple questions can get you a yes or no to hiring quickly.

Why do you want to work for us? “I just need a job” is a red flag for someone that may not stick around. The only motivation is to work somewhere. Not a big red flag, but still a red flag.

Where do you see yourself in three-to-five years? How many times do you hear, “I hope to be working in a dealership or own my own shop”? Their motivation is great to make themselves better, but not for long-term employment, if that is what you are looking for.

Third question: technician or manager? If someone is motivated to learn this business, they will say manager one day. This opens more questions for you to go into on leadership and training and long-term motivations.

If they are just looking to be a technician, they are probably that guy looking to do something else in three-to-five years. The choice is yours on this one, but I want people who are motivated to move forward in their career.

Based on surveys, many of the next generation of employees have been taught the opposite of what the previous generations have when it comes to careers and working in general. You are used to people willing to put in the work, learn, and work their way up. Those applicants are fewer and fewer today.

The new generation is taught to be a jack-of-all-trades, not a master of one. They will use each jump to make more and more per hour, so don’t be surprised when this comes up. You will either get it right off the bat looking to make more and more before they even start or training on the job or you will get it soon after they start—be prepared for this. We will all face this eventually and the issue will become rising labor costs. I say this only to prepare you and help you decide which ones you give that money to hire.

In my case, I try to look for one of two things: I look for experience in the business or a highly motivated individual. We would all pay a little more for trained employees. Who would not?

When I look at their skill sets, I give them a path to promotion from just being a tech. The reason that they are coming to me for a job opportunity is likely that they saw no way forward where they were.
This leads right into my highly motivated applicant. You can be as green as grass, with no experience, if you exhibit a clear positive attitude. If I can see that you want to be more, do more and be more, I will give you a path. Sometimes, it is as simple as showing a technician a way to move up to keep them around.

We all talk about training programs and hands-on experience in our locations. It is a very important skill and knowledge to put into practice. None of that matters if you do not have the right people in place. A lot of our articles are on leadership and techniques, but not a lot on finding the right people. I hope that reading over some of the things that my team looks for or tries to accomplish in hiring great people will help you as well.