To Find Qualified Technicians, Follow the Lead of Professional Recruiters

With no end in sight of the shortage of diesel technicians for today’s trucking fleets, owners and managers should use the same recruiting methods that staffing and recruiting companies have successfully employed for many years in a wide range of industries. The key is to use today’s technology to your benefit, or just let the experts take over.

The transportation trade press has been covering the growing shortage of diesel technicians for more than a decade. It seems that every possible reason for the problem has been analyzed. But what you don’t often see are pragmatic tips on how to recruit from the same dwindling pool of qualified candidates. As someone who worked for 15 years as a recruiter, I can help fleet owners and managers use the time they spend looking for talent to their best advantage.

The good news is that there are proven recruiting methods used by a variety of industries that can be easily translated to the trucking industry:

Forget newspaper advertising. Besides being very expensive, newspaper ads have a low success rate because the job seekers you want – most likely in the 18-to-34 age range – probably aren’t reading the newspaper. It should be no surprise by now that they are going online to get their information. And the best venue to reach them is through job-aggregator Websites such as Indeed.com, which scans the Internet and pulls job postings together in one Website.  If you have job postings on your company Website, they will be posted on Indeed.com—for free!  Just let the person in charge of your site know to create settings that will allow these sites to pull job postings directly from your site to theirs.

With any online job posting, be sure to refresh often because the most recent postings land at the top of the lists. Make sure the job title describes as closely as possible the actual skill set required, i.e. Diesel Mechanic , so that people searching key words for jobs can easily find yours. Remember that with everyone vying for the same candidates, you need to make the posting appealing to job seekers. Highlight the key selling points of the position, for example, if you’re looking for someone on the day shift or if your pay is slightly higher than your competition.  Some Websites specifically geared toward diesel technicians include Skilledworkers.com, and Findamechanic.com.

Another avenue to pursue is job posting sites aimed at former military personnel: MilitaryHire.com, HireVeterans.com, and RecruitMilitary.com are just a few. You can also contact your local Army Career & Alumni Program Center, which helps veterans transition to new careers. You can check out state unemployment offices, many which provide free job postings, as well.

It’s who you know. Everyone knows the best candidates come from referrals. According to the publication HR World, fully 30% of job openings are filled through referrals. But how do you actually get these referrals, especially in a larger company? Encourage referrals by implementing a strong, written referral bonus program that outlines specifically who is eligible, what the company is looking for, when the referral program starts and ends, and if the bonus is given if the person is simply interviewed or actually hired.

Outsource it. Of course, one of the easiest routes to take is using a third-party recruiter to fill positions. The best have large pools of pre-screened candidates and they often offer you the flexibility of temporary, temp-to-hire, or permanent placements. Check out the firms that specialize in finding diesel technicians for our industry, including TransTechs and Maizis & Miller.

My advice to trucking firms who are discouraged in their efforts to find qualified technicians is to take heart, dedicate some manpower to your recruitment efforts, and learn from the pros who do this day in and day out. You’ll soon see a return on your investment of time and money in a relatively cost-effective manner.

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