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How to Hire Great Talent at Your Dealership

By Ryan Leschel | Oct 9, 2020

Last updated on May 11, 2023

Hiring great talent in today's modern business climate has evolved. Long gone are the days of simply putting a classified ad in the paper or reaching out to your HR department and expecting to snag the best of the best. It takes work.

The hiring process can be challenging especially in the automotive industry, as many dealership staff members wear multiple hats and share responsibilities and expertise. Finding a new hire to check all those boxes can seem like a daunting task for any organization, no matter the size.

However, with the right considerations and guidance, hiring and retaining solid talent is much less scary.

Let’s dive in.

Bring Department Leaders into the Fold

No one better understands the day-to-day needs of a department better than your current leadership team. That is why it is crucial to include them in the talent acquisition process. In your next leadership meeting, consider asking what qualification and characteristics a potential new hire would ideally have. Their answers will provide insight into the specific gaps a department has, which you can then use in the interview process to fill those specific needs.

Consider Culture Fit

While it has become increasingly difficult for employers to hire people who check all the boxes, how a person fits into a company’s culture is just as, if not more, important. Every dealership has a unique dynamic between its associates, with no two organizations being the same.

Personalities, accomplishments, goals, and backgrounds all vary from one dealership to another. What works well for one dealership, may not work for another.

Do they mirror the goals of the organization? Of the leadership team? Of their potential colleagues? People with shared goals and visions usually push each other to strive for success, creating a positive influence on the organization.

It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to consider the candidate as a whole when deciding if they are a match with the organization. A high-performing candidate might not always be the best cultural fit, whereas a candidate who might not check all boxes, could be a great cultural fit.

If you believe that to be the case, sometimes you need to trust your gut and it might be worth your while to bet on the latter candidate’s ability to grow into the role. You’ll need to make sure that your current team is equipped to provide the right training, guidance, and resources to set the new hire up for success.

Learn how to optimize and retain your dealership team. →

Personal and Professional Development

Hiring great talent is tough but retaining great talent can be equally as challenging. The hiring process is a two-way street in which both parties are gaining something—the employer gets a great new hire, and the employee, in turn, gets compensated for their work. Go beyond that simple transaction. Give your new employee a reason and purpose for staying.

While pay is obviously important, personal and professional growth has quickly become a standard in most industries and can often be the key to retaining top tier talent. The bottom line is a big deal to job seekers and having an offer for a track of professional development will make your dealership stand out in a big way.

Professional growth can look like skill-based training, continuing education in the form of certifications, providing feedback, and cross-training your employees, to name a few. Many job seekers are looking for a reason to stay. They are looking for purpose. Give them one. When they grow, so does your organization.

Bonus: it also makes for a great working environment.

Hire In-House

Great hires can often be right under our noses. Instead of outsourcing talent, consider looking within your current organization. Benefits of hiring in-house include:

  • An employee will have a greater buy-in to your company
  • Knowledge and skills developed by working on your strategies is kept in-house and is available for later use
  • An employee has greater familiarity with your organization, which can be helpful for getting initiatives out quickly
  • You have greater cost control

Do some research and check in with managers and supervisors. The day to day is where the magic happens, and they know associates best. You’ll quickly realize who has been “going the extra mile,” and who might be a good candidate for promotion or a new position. 

The empowerment of your current employee will provide an invaluable opportunity for both you and them. A mutual investment in personal growth is one of the best retention tools in your “toolbox” as a manager—you would be wise to use it.

Leverage Technology

We live in the modern retail era and our hiring process should reflect that.

By leveraging technology that helps place great talent in front of the hiring manager, you are taking much of the heavy lifting out of the process.

Social media networks make our worlds smaller and our lives easier. For example, well-known platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed allow the hiring manager to find exactly what they are looking for in a candidate by filtering positions, experience, and location. This allows the hiring manager to get in contact with candidates through direct messages and targeted job postings.

A new and exciting tool that is making headlines within the automotive industry is called The Predictive Index and it's transforming the way that dealership managers are hiring and creating teams.

Basically, The Predictive Index's mission is to understand people and the teams they are a part of; specifically, what drives behaviors in a work environment. By giving a potential hire a cognitive assessment, an employer can identify and understand a person's learning capacity, individual attributes and needs, all to optimize teamwork and organizations.

Knowing how an individual works with others, when faced with a challenge or task and knowing what motivates them is a powerful combination of knowledge that can help a hiring manager make a great fit.

Investing in your hiring process is a decision that will not only save your dealership money in the long run, it's also an investment into the growth of a strong and healthy business culture.

If you are interested in learning more about the power of The Predictive Index and how it can help solve your businesses problems and help your organization grow, let’s talk and build your dream team.

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