Hiring is a complex process, and right now in the auto repair industry everyone is focused on it. Every owner or hiring manager wants to do an exceptional job finding and hiring the right techs so that they will be able to maintain and grow their auto shop. One aspect of hiring we haven’t covered before is the role personality plays in it. Many managers hire based on personality. Is this good or bad?
Hiring Based on Skills
The current employment market is focused on skill sets and who can demonstrate the most comprehensive one. Skills are important. If a tech doesn’t have the right skills, there’s no point even conducting an interview. Training isn’t everything, though, and continuing education in the field has made training a beginning rather than an end of the learning process. You need to hire workers who are willing and able to expand their knowledge over time and can adapt to changes in the field. The auto industry is in a state of continual change. What techs need to know today is not the same as what they’ll need to know five years from now.
Hiring Based on Personality
Determining the personality of a prospective employee is also important. There are personality traits – such as responsibility, reliability, honesty, and a willingness to work hard – that are needed in a good employee. A hiring manager also has to consider the personalities of other workers in the shop. Assembling a team that works well together is a major priority for any smoothly functioning shop.
One mistake that some managers make in hiring is to choose employees who the hiring manager “clicks” with. If an interview goes well and the manager enjoys the company of the prospective employee, it may seem natural to offer that person the job. The same is true with the “going with your gut” approach. This is the lazy way to hire by personality, though, and can lead to trouble.
Instead of making emotion-based hiring decisions based on personality, it’s better to use personality as one factor in the decision and to back that up with other information. What can you objectively tell about a person based on personality?
First, it’s important for a hiring manager or hiring team to determine what personality traits they are looking for in an employee before they interview anyone. Being familiar with a list of desired employee traits should be a part of the pre-interview process. When you know what you’re looking for, it’s much simpler to decide if a candidate displays those traits. Creating a scoring guide that will help any interviewer identify those traits in any interviewee is also helpful.
This is because an interview is a subjective process. Both the interviewer and the interviewee have their own perceptions. They respond to cues that they perceive as coming from the other person in the room. Unfortunately, people often misinterpret cues in speech and body language.
Another way to determine personality traits is to utilize personality tests. There are a number of personality profiling tools that interviewers can use to vet candidates, including Core Values Index, Wonderlic, and Predictive Index. If a hiring manager does not want to or isn’t comfortable with asking candidates to take a personality test, there are ways of posing questions that will reveal basic personality traits. People actually like talking about their preferences if you approach them the right way. Some people even take personality tests for fun.
Searching for external evidence of personality is also important. Some interviewees are good at making a positive first impression. Being charming is a useful skill, but that doesn’t mean that person will be a good employee. This is where following up after an interview is necessary.
For example, if two of the personality traits the hiring manager is looking for are intelligence and reliability, then seeking out the candidate’s history in terms of his education, accomplishments, references, work record, and experience will reveal more than an interview. Over time people reveal themselves in how hard they work, how well they score on tests, and what they do in their free time.
The emphasis in hiring techs is often on the skill set they have, but hiring based on personality has its merits too – as long as employers do not take shortcuts and hire people they just personally like. Taking the time to understand what employees bring to the table in terms of their personality will make a difference in how they will interact with your existing team and will lessen turnover in your shop. It will also make your job as a manager easier.
What does your auto repair shop focus on when it comes to hiring? We would like to hear your experience with searching for good employees, so please leave your comments either here or in our forums.