Hiring top performers is a high priority for all businesses but the recruitment of talented staff is a critical focus for auto dealership management and owners. With unemployment at 3.6%, industry turnover around 22% and 11,955 dealership-related jobs posted on Indeed.com, recruiting top performers can be tricky. Here are the necessary elements of a successful recruiting strategy for your dealership.

Identifying the Need and Creating a Position

Before anything else, you must identify the need. Is this hire a replacement, a new hire due to increased business or a new position? Once you identify the need, determine what skills, abilities or knowledge is essential for the role. Then, determine if anyone on your current team is willing and able to take on some or all of the tasks you've identified.

Next, it's time to create the position description. Within the description, it is important to outline the exact tasks that need to be performed and the experience, education and soft skills that are needed to make your overall team successful.

Make Your Job Posting Interesting

The second step in a successful recruitment strategy plan is the job description. Use key job responsibilities and required experience and present those responsibilities in an appealing way. Share examples of situations an employee may encounter during a workday.

Ask yourself: why would someone want to work for you and do this job?
The answers should be in your job posting.

Once you have the job posted, use your network to spread the word. There are several sources that require little-to-no financial resources, but still result in qualified leads including:

  • Post the position to your website
  • Share the job posting on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Post the position on auto dealership professional association websites
  • Share the open position with colleagues you know in the industry
  • Notify current employees and encourage them to share the posting within their networks. You could even consider offering a referral bonus.

Reviewing the Candidates

Once resumes and applications start coming in, review them quickly and respond to all applicants to let them know you received their resume, appreciate the interest and will be in touch with next steps. This extra touch may seem small, but it will have a meaningful impact in your recruitment strategy.

Ideally, conducting phone interviews with strong candidates within 1-5 days of receiving the resume or application is a best practice. Spending just 15-30 minutes on the phone with a candidate can tell you a lot and save you significant time in the overall hiring process.

Possible questions include:

  • Why are you interested in this position and our company?
  • Why did you leave your previous/current employer?
  • Have you ever been terminated from a position? What was the situation? What did you learn from it?
  • What experience do you have with XYZ (the key responsibilities you identified for the job posting)?
  • When are you available to start?
  • Do you have the legal right to work in the US? Would you require sponsorship to work for our company?

Keep in mind that you need to check your state laws to determine if you can ask questions regarding previous or current compensation history. Pay equity laws have made this practice illegal during the hiring practice in MA and NYC and 19 additional states are also considering similar laws.

An Important Reminder

Never ask questions related to an individual's gender, age, ethnic background, race, color, religion, disability, genetic history or veteran status. Keep your questions related to the job.

Interviewing Candidates

After you've conducted phone interviews, it's time to schedule in-person interviews with the top candidates. The interview serves as an opportunity for both the employer and candidate to provide a positive impression. Interviews allow you to learn about the candidate and whether they have the skills and experience to do the job, and for the candidate to learn about you and whether you and your company are a good fit for them.

Before a candidate comes in for an interview however, it is important for you and your team to be fully prepared so that the interview is effective. You need to decide on an interview team. This team should be made up of at least one peer, the supervisor and a manager/executive. Having a candidate interact with various position levels can tell you a lot about the person and how they may behave in the work environment. It also allows the candidate to connect with future coworkers, which makes it easier for them to picture themselves working for you.

The team should meet ahead of time to identify specific questions each interviewer will ask of every candidate to determine skills, experience and abilities. Questions should focus on a candidate's previous experience and not "what would you do if..." situations. Each team member should be assigned specific information to share with the candidate regarding the position and company including:

  • what a day in the job is like
  • the work environment and culture
  • dealership growth and goals
  • perks and benefits
  • how performance is evaluated and rewarded.

Interviewers should prepare for the interview by reviewing the resume or application and identify questions that can be asked based on the resume, in addition to their assigned questions. Interviewers also need to arrive to the interview on time and should not leave a candidate waiting in a conference room alone.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.