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Where do we find good people? This is a question everyone would like answered. Just about every business needs to hire more people. Finding people, let alone good people, seems impossible. When we do have a promising applicant, what are the chances they show up for the interview? We are up against what seems to be impossible odds, so does this make us desperate to hire?

In the automotive field, the hiring process has always been a challenge. The biggest difference we see now is, instead of one more person, we need five. Add in the fact that we are losing our current staff faster than we can replace them. The answer is “yes,” we are desperate to hire.

Let’s walk through a scenario. We need two Advisors. This typically means the Service Manager is helping on the drive or writing service. If this is you, I’m sorry, we have all been there before. By luck, an interview shows up. They seem to have what it takes. We hire them. “Can you start tomorrow”?

This is a picture we have all seen before. Let’s play it out. We hire the person, and the manager or your best person starts to train them. After a couple of days, we realize they are not a good fit. What do we do now? We still need another Advisor, and we have one going on vacation in two weeks. What do we do?

When we hire someone out of desperation, it devalues our team. When we hire someone who does not perform well, others notice. Our staff whispers to each other, “What is management thinking?” Our decision to hire the wrong person affects everyone.

Consider a few ideas before we hire our next customer-facing employee:

Who are we looking for?

  • Consistent Job History
    • “Walk me through your career from (3 years ago) or (Last 3 jobs) through today.” “Why are you looking to work here?”
  • Dealership Experience
    • “What dealerships have you worked for?” “What jobs have you done in a dealership?” “What was your favorite job?” “What was your most challenging job?”
  • Brand Experience
    • “What brands have you worked with?” “What’s the benefit of working with (Brand)?” “What’s a challenge to work with (Brand)?”
  • Tenure
    • “What’s the longest job you have ever held?” “What kept you there that long?”
  • No Dealership Experience
    • Look for candidates that have customer service experience.
      • Grocery stores
      • Department Store
      • Hotel
      • Restaurant

  • “Tell me about your interactions with customers in your current job?”
  • “Give me an example.”
  • “Have you had any formal customer service training?”

We can train on:

Inspection-based selling, using our DMS, and the Manufacturer’s Policies and Procedures.

We are looking for someone who is good with people. They would display good communication skills, problem-solving, and the ability to overcome objections.

The Interview:

It is recommended to have a minimum of two managers, if possible three managers, interview a potential candidate. Think about it. Our manager is shorthanded and probably desperate to hire. They are looking for relief, and any candidate will do. More than one manager interviewing a candidate will keep us focused on hiring the right person rather than just another body.

Hiring is a skill that most managers struggle with. It requires training and a strategy to become good at it. If we continue to hire out of desperation, we will continue to have turnover. Break the cycle and focus on hiring the right people.

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