Technicians Wanted Part IV: Dealers compete to recruit, develop diesel techs

Jason Cannon April 4, 2014

Climbing truck sales over the last two years have increased competition for techs among dealers and left them struggling to find the best ways to woo new recruits. Most use a several-pronged approach including local tech schools, classified ads and specialty recruiting sites.

RELATED: Technicians Wanted Part III: The changing face of tech candidates

Montgomery, Ala.-based Four Star Freightliner advertises its vacancies online and recruits from Finish First, a 12-week Daimler Truck elective training platform at Universal Technical Institute, says Sherrie Moore, human resources manager. “We find our best method is word of mouth from other techs,” she says.

Al Clark, diesel tech instructor at Lane Community College, Eugene, Ore., says the best way to assure dealers have access to highly-qualified applicants is personal involvement. “You want to make sure the industry people are getting involved in their local college,” he says.

That’s the path New Jersey-based Campbell Supply has taken. “We are a major sponsor and also sit on the board of a local diesel technical school,” Campbell Supply President Scott Campbell says. “We attend numerous job fairs that the school conducts. We participate in veterans’ job fairs across the state. We also are a member of the Universal Technical Institute and participate in their technician recruitment program.”

Clark suggested other dealers and OEMs follow that path. “Give us a hand,” he says. “It’s your guys, the technicians, that we’re grooming.”

Rush Enterprises has shouldered some of the responsibility for tech training internally by developing a yearlong mentoring program for new technicians. The program “develops not only the younger technicians that are coming into the business, but it also develops the technicians that are more mature and wanting to refine their leadership skills,” says Mike Besson, Rush’s vice president of service operations.

“The interesting part, on the flip-side, is watching the development of the mentor, not just the mentee,” he says. “The mentor gets a grade, too. What kind of leader was he?”

Rush Enterprises also has a recruiting department and has a relationship with CareerBuilder to list vacancies. But Besson says it’s the job of all company employees to seek out qualified applicants.

“Everybody in a location is a recruiter. I don’t care what your job is,” he says. “We do a very good job of working at selling ourselves as being the place to go to buy parts and service. It’s just as important that you badge yourself and sell yourself as the place to work.”

Expansion has driven Campbell’s need for applicants, and even being deeply involved with a local program hasn’t made the search necessarily easier. “We are constantly in the hunt for qualified technicians,” he says. “In September 2013 we moved into a new facility and almost doubled our service capacity. This intensified our need for technicians,” he says. “(It is) always a challenge finding techs. We are located in New Jersey where there are many dealers and independent shops competing for a small technician pool.”

View this article on one page
  • bozzer 52

    I’ve been a diesel mechanic for 33 years, there’s no way in hell I would
    work in a flat rate shop, it’s no wonder shops are losing mechanics,
    flat rate was used in the 80′s at most dealerships, and it was a
    disaster. No matter what is said here, pay is still the #1 problem with
    retaining mechanics.This is why so many mechanics leave the industry at an early age.


Do you actively capture and use customer data?


Volvo truck boss says growth in truck market emerging

Allison unveils integrated stop-start technology for ultra-low carbon powertrain program

Caterpillar engine lawsuits consolidated, new suits continue to be filed


Successful Dealer Award finalist: Truck Centers, Inc.

River States Truck and Trailer hosts Truck Beauty Contest

New Pete 220 now in full production

Successful Dealer Award

Click here to read about the award and see the nominees for this year's award.