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Tips to Hiring Diesel Technicians & Heavy Equipment Mechanics  


You need to hire diesel technicians and heavy equipment mechanics to support your shop or field service operations. Your typical strategy usually involves employee referrals, which are great when your business is small. But when your referral tap runs dry this causes you to rely on job postings (aka job advertisements). Job postings are great if you happen to have a qualified candidate looking for a job at the exact time you are posting your advertisement. But if we are being honest with ourselves, how often do the planets align and get you a qualified job applicant quickly?

Assuming your referrals and job postings are failing, then perhaps you break down and decide to get an agency recruiter involved? More than likely you do this with some hesitation. If you are like most, you think the cost and risk is too high. Ringing any bells?


The truth of the matter is, heavy equipment mechanics are the lifeblood of your operation. Without them, you’ll struggle to keep machines running, and that is costing your customer a lot of money and putting your customer satisfaction at risk. If you can’t get this problem solved, then it will start costing you a lot of money, too! In fact, it probably already is.

Unfortunately, employee referrals usually tap out pretty quickly, so you fall back on your ‘post and pray’ strategy. You take your average (at best) job description, cut and paste it onto a job board and then you wait. It’s a bit like fishing. Your job posting is the bait, and you are fishing for mechanics. Sadly, even if you catch something it likely will either be too small to keep (inexperienced) or is the wrong type of fish entirely.

We’ve learned that the quality of job applicants is typically no better than ten percent. Not a great number! If you have a low number of applicants then you may not waste a lot of time, but it gives you very little to consider for hire. If you have a high number of applicants then you’re wasting an incredible amount of time looking at resumes that aren’t even close. It’s a no-win situation. Maybe you get frustrated enough that you opt to engage a staffing or recruiting agency. You find, though, that they often just lob poorly vetted resumes/candidates into your inbox.

Even if you get a resume of a candidate worth hiring, there’s a good chance the long-term ROI won’t justify the fee. Not to mention, you’ve waited until your pain is so high that you will probably hire a heavy equipment mechanic that you know in your heart isn’t the right fit. But, because they can fog a mirror you are more than happy to extend them a job offer. Maybe you get lucky and the candidate is a good fit, but more than likely they’ll barely get by (or worse) and then go find another job somewhere else leaving you in no better position than before making the hire. Painful, right?


Here’s the thing. Heavy equipment technicians are billable resources. Assuming you have a decent recovery rate, every hour they work makes you money. But hiring a bad technician, even with a good recovery rate doesn’t ensure individual profitability. If the tech is slow, or does shoddy work, then the re-work will eat into your profit, not to mention frustrate your customer. Once your customer has reached boiling point, they’ll likely start taking their business elsewhere. This is why they say that “sales sells the first, but service sells the rest.” However, poor product support could likely lead your customer to another brand, and then you’re in trouble. There’s a solution, though.


  • Never stop recruiting!
  • Never sacrifice on quality (skills & culture), an unfilled job is better than hiring a bad fit!
  • Train & develop. Let me say that again in another way, invest in your people!
  • Provide great leadership and take care of your technicians. Be honest, and be fair!
  • Partner with a recruiting agency that knows what they are doing to augment your recruiting efforts!

Ignoring these things will negatively impact customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, quality and safety, and financial performance. We’ve been recruiting in heavy equipment for 40+ years. While our focus has largely been on hiring management talent, one thing that has not changed is the demand for technicians. So, Jordan Sitter Associates now recruiting technicians for select clients! Contact us today, 210-798-5888

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By Bill & Chris Sitter (Published in CED Magazine in 2008) For several recent CED issues, we’ve enjoyed presenting helpful tips relating to the effective