People have been sticking with the cars they have, rather than buying new ones, amid the economic uncertainty of the past couple of years. Repair shops and service departments have been doing a brisk business and have been hiring to keep up with it.

But leading the news recently are headlines like, “Auto jobs boom coming to Midwest.” The economy is showing signs of recovery, and experts are saying new car sales will rebound to the tune of 13.8 million in 2012. Domestic automakers (the number of which continues to grow) are gearing up – making a hot topic out of how to fulfill the need for more hourly workers.

According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, total payrolls at U.S. auto plants could reach 650,000 employees this year, a 10 percent gain. Here’s how hiring managers at these plants can improve the hiring process ahead of the boom and land people who are more than qualified:

Be where the best hourly job seekers focus their search

The way to put the best people into the thousands of jobs that are expected to open up is to start at the beginning: the job post. The choice of where and how to advertise your job openings is critical. If you rely on classified ads or you venture online and post your jobs on a large general job board, plan on spending your time weeding out all of the unqualified applicants. The same goes for the most social media-savvy of recruiters who are using Facebook and Twitter. It’s especially true for recruiters using Craigslist.

Job seekers applying through niche job boards, like, are two times higher in quality than employees attracted through general job boards, and eight times the quality of hires made through traditional newspaper ads, according to a Direct Employers Association Recruiting Trends survey. Think people searching for automotive manufacturing jobs aren’t doing it online? Snagajob has more than 30 million registered members who tell us all about themselves during registration. According to self-reported industry interest, we can tell you they are.

Don’t forget, how you’re advertising your job openings is as critical as where. Getting in front of the right people is not enough. For years Snagajob has been helping employers craft job descriptions that motivate great people to apply. There could be fierce competition to land the best people available as the job market opens up. Be sure to have a skillfully crafted job description that casts the job and your company in a way that sets you apart. We suggest you provide detail on what your new hires will be expected to do along with the reasons why they would want to do that job for your plant in particular.

Eliminate paperwork and guesswork

Speaking of motivating great people to apply, make sure you have an application process in place that’s convenient and efficient for job seekers and that helps you find out exactly what you need to know about them very quickly. Snagajob’s job posting service would take your applicants through filter questions and a behavioral assessment as part of an online application process. You would log in and see from the green, yellow and red color-coded applications who has the right qualifications, motivations and character traits necessary for success in the position. Just because they’re qualified doesn’t mean they’re suited (people who are qualified but not suited turn over more often than people who are both experienced and wired to be good at the job).

And by using a job posting service like Snagajob’s, you won’t have to worry about missing your chance at the best people available. By eliminating costly paperwork and time-consuming guesswork from your hiring process, there’s no downside to casting a wide net to be sure all the people you’d want to apply are doing so, and before they’ve had a chance to apply elsewhere. Not only will you save time and money by taking candidates through a loaded-up online application, you’ll also be able to get a jump on companies with a paper-based hiring process that are competing with you for quality hourly workers. If you’re going to make most of the rebound in new car sales, you’re going to want to be the one to land employees who are more than qualified to help you do it.

For more on finding great employees, read our other automotive industry blog posts here and here.