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June 02, 2014

Tips for recruiting women to automotive service

Stephanie Huff of Tire Discounters has won a national award for executive leadership. 
Stephanie Huff of Tire Discounters has won a national award for executive leadership. 

Stephanie Huff, vice president of human resources for Tire Discounters Inc., recently received the National Diversity Council’s 2014 Glass Ceiling Award. She shares the company's strategies for recruiting women in an exclusive interview with MTD.

The Glass Ceiling award recognizes and honors women who have not only achieved personal success but have made it possible for others to more easily follow in their footsteps.

“Like many before me, my career path has been filled with a combination of twists and turns that have gotten me to where I am today,” says Huff. “I’m grateful for the support of my family, friends and colleagues and I’m really looking forward to leveraging my award to achievements help other women in business.”

Huff has been in recruiting, training and other human resources roles at Tire Discounters since 2011. In the last three years, the company has grown from 450 employees to nearly 1,000 and has expanded to three new markets. Before her current position, Huff served in other human resources roles for eight years.

“We’re thrilled for Stephanie and believe that her work with Tire Discounters clearly demonstrates that she deserves this award,” says Chip Wood, founder and chairman of Tire Discounters. “She has been extraordinary in her leadership in a male-dominated industry like vehicle service and really has been instrumental in helping our company grow.”

In an exclusive interview with MTD, Huff shared Tire Discounter’s plans to recruit women to the automotive service industry.

MTD: What are you currently doing to attract women to the tire industry?     

Huff: From a marketing perspective we include female employees in our career brochures and on our websites. Through social media, we focus our SEO marketing toward females. We also have an excellent employee referral program and several of our top female employees have come from referrals.

MTD: What do you plan to do to continue to recruit women to Tire Discounters?  

Huff: Historically the automotive service industry has struggled to not only attract but to retain women at all levels within the organization. However, we have a strong motivation to change that trend.

We are working diligently to more actively develop and implement additional recruitment strategies to help us build a pipeline of talented women for our organization. We are developing a recruitment video that will showcase our focus on a more diverse workforce.

We have several great success stories to share about women that have worked their way up through our organization. We want to bring more attention to their successes to show that there are no barriers between what women are capable of in our industry.  

In addition, we focus heavily on sharing our vision and expectations as early as the interview process and we re-emphasize that even more during the initial onboarding of new hires.

MTD:  Do you have any tips on what male-dominated businesses should do to attract women applicants?

Huff:  It is important to crack down on stereotyping and the negative perceptions about what kind of work women have the skills to do. It is so imperative to work on building a culture of acceptance and appreciation by having women in the non-traditional roles.

Changing the culture is not an easy task and must have buy in from all levels of the organization. Without support from the executive team, this strategy will fail.

MTD: Can you elaborate on any specific achievements at Tire Discounters that helped you win the award?

I’ve played a large role in a company experiencing tremendous growth. In less than three years, Tire Discounters grew from a company of 450 employees to nearly 1,000 today.

In addition, I lead Tire Discounters in changing its internal processes and structure, implementing a 100% paperless system. In 2010, all employee files, applications and paperwork were still handled through card copy paper documents. I spearheaded the adoption of the necessary technology that enabled the organization to hire and maintain employees more efficiently.  

In 2012, Tire Discounters launched a fully functioning electronic application process and applicant tracking system as well as an Employee Self Service System and HR Information System for electronic employee files.

Tire Discounters operates in five markets across three states, employs more than 900 people and is No. 9 on the MTD 100.

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