FOR EMPLOYERS: Hiring a Repair School Graduate:
When considering hiring a repair school graduate, do not underestimate your role and the role of your existing technicians in ensuring success. It is critical to have realistic expectations. Please consider the following:
What to expect from a new hire:
Recommendations before hiring:
- The graduate will know what to do, but will be slow doing it. Expect to break even on your new hire for at least three to six months. Repair schools introduce their students to the craft. Time, repetition and experience mold the tech from there. The breadth of repair skills covered in school means time is needed to develop speed. The first year on the bench is a time of rapid development for most.
- Expect an "Advanced Apprentice". The new hire may not be familiar with the tips and tricks many techs employ to speed repairs through the shop. They need an experienced tech to mentor them.
What to do after hiring:
- Always bench test any potential repair technician, experienced or not.
Click here for a sample bench test. The proof of ability will show in the bench test.
- Always contact the repair school for reference on your potential hire. All repair school graduates are not equals and contacting the school for information may help in your decision. There may be legal restrictions on what can be provided, but your asking specific skill-set questions about your candidate should net the information you are seeking.
- Orient the graduate to your approaches to repair. The applications for tools and the techniques learned in repair school may not always align with yours.
- Do not leave them alone - mentor the graduate. Often, too much is expected too soon of a graduate. He/she will require continual advice and guidance to help gain speed and confidence.
- Invest in your repair shop. Continually expand and improve your services. Make certain your technicians have the tools they need and a safe, well-lit productive environment. Challenge them to continually improve and expand the services offered. A bored technician is often a temporary employee. Too, if your repair shop is not a profit center or at least breaking even, it most likely can and should be. Contact NAPBIRT for references on shop management and layout if you need assistance.
- Provide for as much repetition as possible. Repetition is a key to cementing speed, agility and confidence. Some shops start graduates on rental/lease return stock as a vehicle to teach the specific techniques used to attain quality and speed.
- Give continual feedback. Every repair and the processes used should be evaluated. Observe and guide them through specific repairs early on. Inspect every repair for at least six months to ensure it reflects your shop's standards and provide feedback on both quality and speed.
- Be clear with expectations. Most graduates will want to elevate each instrument to the highest standard possible, micro-managing the repair without respect to reality. Guide them to be realistic as to what is possible with each instrument, considering age, condition and cost to the customer.
- Provide regular formal evaluations. It is recommended to sit with and formally review the new technician once every week. Be candid about your expectations and their progress relative to those expectations.
- Be receptive to new approaches and tools. Your new hire may have much to contribute to your repair processes and tool choices. They may have experience with tools and techniques that can help augment your existing services and increase profitability. If you are expecting the new hire to be receptive to your approaches to repair, demonstrate your own receptiveness to what they are bringing to the table as well.
- Provide training for your technician. NAPBIRT exists to help you grow your technicians and to help ensure profitability in your repair shop. NAPBIRT creates forums for technicians to learn from one another such as regional and national clinics, the TechniCom publication, website and the National Technical Training Center (NTTC) in Normal, IL. Your technician's active participation in NAPBIRT can make a difference.
Your technicians play a vital role in the success of your clientele and the school music programs you serve. The repair shops that do the best work make the most money, draw repeat sales and promote instrument upgrades. Make certain that rising profits for your repair shop result in rising compensation for your technicians. With the demand for technicians as big as it is, ensure that your technicians are challenged, continually developing their skills and are fairly compensated.