After 34 years working in Fixed Operations I made the decision to switch gears and accepted the position of Vice President of the automotive division with Source Recruitment Group. This new change has allowed me to combine my passion for the business with my knack for spotting top talent. In my previous role, my responsibilities included managing technicians, advisors, driving efficiency, hitting sales targets, and delivering an exceptional customer experience. I thrived on the fast pace and variety inherent in fixed ops. No two days were ever the same! One part of my job that I especially enjoyed was mentoring up and coming employees. I took pride in recognizing raw talent and potential in our younger technicians and advisors. Coaching them on the best practices and giving them room to grow into the dealerships top performers. Seeing people develop their skillsets and advance their careers was incredibly rewarding. I soon realized that helping match individuals with the right positions was a true passion of mine. Fixed ops was in my heart but I was ready to parlay my talent for identifying and cultivating talent.

Technician retention is currently affecting a large majority of dealerships nationwide due to retirement, bad management or competing dealers (local and out of state) offering thousands of dollars in signing and relocation bonus money. This is causing technicians to make a change if they are not happy with their current dealership. Recruiting agencies are flooding the automotive industry, promising dealerships they will find quality technicians, advisors or managers, without having any foundational knowledge of what these jobs consist of, they are preying on a dealers desperation to find technicians. The next recruiter you speak with, listen how scripted they sound, ask them how many years have they worked in a service department, their response will not shock you!

After using numerous recruiting agencies and getting poor results filling our open positions, our GM received a referral, you guessed it, another recruiting agency! The company was Source Recruitment Group, we had a phone call with them and immediately they expressed genuine care. Stephen Sweeney the CEO said “Unlike traditional recruiters who rely on job boards to make placements, we take the time to understand our clients’ specific needs. We want to learn about your dealership’s culture, technician skills gaps, pain points, and goals for growth. This allows us to source candidates who are a seamless fit”. The introductions did not stop there, next we met Wayne Smith (managing partner) he is extremely detail oriented. Wayne heads up all candidate recruiting, he asked four important questions, “reason for the hire, describe your dealership culture, what benefits do you offer, and time to hire.” Wayne asked the right questions and has a great sense of humor! Lastly, we met Mike Ryall the COO, he echoed exactly what Stephen said earlier about how important relationship building is to their company. He continued by adding, “We don’t just make a placement and move on. We care about the long term success of both our automotive clients and candidates. Our comprehensive process sets technicians, advisors, and managers up for success from day one with the right fit and culture. We provide ongoing support to ensure satisfaction on both sides.” The vision Source Recruitment Group shared was our company culture, finding the right candidate fit, building relationships, position requirements, current challenges, and our growth objectives.

It has been two years since working with Source Recruitment Group they called me to see if I would have any interest in the role of Vice President of their automotive division. I was excited to be considered for this role with this incredibly organized and effective company. I gladly accepted the offer and have never been happier in my career. While I never expected to embark on a recruiting career, it has proven an ideal convergence of my strengths and interests. I’m grateful to take my fixed ops experience and expertise in a new direction that promises continued growth. Now, working with my team in automotive recruiting, I share and leverage my industry knowledge and networks to connect quality candidates with open positions at dealerships. Having walked in an applicant’s shoes, I understand exactly what traits and skills make for a standout fixed ops hire.

When speaking with promising technicians, I emphasize how my background enables me to assess their technical capabilities and understand the processes and challenges they have encountered. With advisor candidates, I highlight my firsthand experience as an advisor and managing service advisors to describe what it takes to be successful in this highly challenging position. Discussions with potential service manager/director candidates typically starts out slow, as they are careful about what they say regarding where they currently work or have previously worked. Once I share my career experiences the flood gates open! They share their struggles and obstacles they have experienced and conclude with, it made them a better leader, person, and broadened their vision.

Our team works together to make the right match between the candidate and dealership as this is vital. We evaluate both technical aptitude and soft skills when placing candidates. Much like fixed ops, success here depends on assembling the best possible team. One advantage to leading a recruiting team is the chance to maintain connections across the industry, making introductions to dealerships my team will be working with helps build a stronger relationship. I love being able to engage with former fixed ops peers, many of whom are now potential dealer clients.

If you are a dealership owner, partner, or hiring manager looking for a results driven recruiting partner that has hands on fixed operations experience, I encourage you to connect with Source Recruitment Group. My team and I will collaborate with you to execute a plan to fill your open positions with the right team members while focusing on retention and future growth.

By : Robby Villanueba – VP Automotive Division – Source Recruitment Group