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Category Archive: Hiring Strategies

Adam Robinson

Should Your Dealership Host a Career Fair?

Networking

Dealerships need bright and eager employees to fill their fixed operations and sales departments. Hosting a career fair at your dealership is a great way to find the right candidates and an opportunity to let them know about the benefits of working for you. While you may think career fairs are an anachronism, these events can deliver fantastic results—for example, AutoNation successfully held over 15 annual job fairs in cities across the country in 2016.

AutoNation was not alone in this endeavor. Hoehn Motors, an Audi dealership in Temecula, Calif., along with Charlie Clark Nissan in El Paso, Texas, conducted career fairs of their own in the last couple months. Each of these dealerships reported results that met or exceeded their expectations.

Dealerships must focus on ways to better attract millennials. The current pool of potential employees is largely made up of this incoming generation, who range in age from 18 to 34 years old. Fewer members of Generation X, who are between the ages of 35 and 54 years old, are seeking jobs at dealerships, and those in the Baby Boomer generation are beginning to retire.

In 2015, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers attended an average of 31 career fairs. The youngest millennials are still currently college students, and they frequently show up to career fairs held at their campuses just to see what options are out there.

A career fair has two benefits: First, it allows your dealership to meet several potential job candidates in a short amount of time. Second, it gives candidates an inside look at how your dealership operates and the overall culture of the workplace. Sales managers, service managers, and other high-ranking employees can speak candidly with attendees about all aspects of their respective jobs, make a lasting impression, and collect resumes. The purpose is to inform job seekers about the careers and the positions available at your dealership and how they can fit into the broader picture.

Career Fairs Still Matter

Job seekers attend career fairs because they’re useful for plotting a career path. It’s possible your fair attendees are just there to find out about dealership culture and if it aligns with their current ideals and lifestyle goals; this is your chance to engage potential candidates and let them know about the day-to-day operations and responsibilities they would have to take on.

Career fairs are also networking magnets. People show up not only to meet with potential employers but also to network with each other. This networking creates a dynamic atmosphere where candidates and employees are mixing and building rapport. Relationships can pay dividends when an applicant is deciding whether or not to apply somewhere.

How to Prepare for Hosting a Career Fair

Much of the advice for job seekers attending career fairs applies to the hosts as well.

  • Be ready to introduce yourself: Have a concise statement ready about your dealership and the opportunities available. It’s likely that the job seeker is looking for work at other companies, including dealerships, so make sure you put your best foot forward.
  • Always maintain your enthusiasm: Make that job seeker feel like you want them there. Be warm, conversational, and engaging so that he or she feels comfortable.
  • Follow-up with the people you meet: After the conversation has ended, jot down a quick note about that person on their resume or business card so that you can recall them from the many faces you met at the career fair. If you’re interested in bringing that person in for an interview, they will feel a personal connection in your follow-up email or phone call.

Plan Your Career Fair

Your career fair will require some planning that will include a budget for venue space, marketing, printed materials, food, and more. You will also need to determine who from the dealership will attend the fair and whether job seeker registration is required.

Should your dealership host a career fair?  Yes—but you need to plan properly if you’re going to achieve success. If you want to try a career fair on for size, attend one at a local college or chamber of commerce where other companies also have booths set up. Study how the process works and see if you are interested in holding one of your own. Once you create an atmosphere for job seekers to come to you, then you can sit back and watch the applicants stack up.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/should-your-dealership-host-a-career-fair/

Adam Robinson

Recruiting Strategies to Attract Millennials

Business people waiting for job interview

By the year 2020, the U.S. workforce will be comprised almost entirely of millennials. What’s more, Generation Y is projected to account for 30 percent of new vehicle sales in 2016, and that number could double next year.

Millennials are much more apt to make a purchase from—or develop brand loyalty to—a company with whom they identify and are even more trusting of purchases from employees who are like them. As a result, companies must now clearly communicate their viewpoints and company culture to potential millennial customers, and perhaps most importantly, employ individuals who connect with that target audience.

Unlike previous generations, millennials care more about fulfillment from their careers and evaluate potential jobs on a number of factors that can cater to this need. To retain these workers, organizations must tailor internal positions and programs to meet the needs of this growing workforce demographic. Also, recruitment strategies must be updated accordingly, to attract the best candidates effectively.

Companies must first identify what millennials want. Here are key traits of what they look for in potential jobs, and how that plays a role in the recruitment process.

What Does Millennial Recruitment Mean for Dealerships?

The dealership model has been in play for decades with little to no change. But these days, millennials want to work for a company that is not only profitable but making a difference in society and providing them with perks that will fit into their personal lives. Millennial needs from employers include:

Income Reliability

Due to the challenges of making large student loan payments and covering basic living expenses, millennials as a demographic are not interested in a commission-based position where pay is unreliable. Rather, they are interested in a base pay plan that gives them the confidence of a guaranteed stream of income. In the auto industry, providing base salary positions in lieu of commission will not only attract better talent but can provide a better customer experience, as well.

Work Flexibility

Fewer millennials today believe in the 9-to-5 workday but prefer instead the flexibility to integrate their personal and professional lives. In an interview with Forbes, Chief Strategy Officer for the Intelligence Group Jamie Gutfreund stated that 88 percent of millennials consider how a potential job will cater to their work-life balance. While it may seem more challenging to provide scheduling flexibility in your dealership, there are a number of options that can work for your organization. Examples include running two shifts—9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.—and perks such as giving every other weekend off.  Some innovative dealerships have even moved to a “four days on, three days off” format where sales associates work four ten-hour workdays.

Clear Job Titles and Descriptions

Job descriptions and position titles must be updated for the millennial audience, highlighting the aspects that will fulfill their wants and needs. Outside of salaries and benefits, millennials are looking for a job with a higher purpose—one that makes them feel fulfilled. As a result, they are interested in companies focused on helping solve problems in society.

In addition, because millennials are still relatively early on in their careers, they want job titles and responsibilities to outline the scope of the work clearly. They are interested in learning as much as they can to advance in their careers and want to know if a company is willing to invest in them through ongoing training and development programs.

Lastly, when placing job openings online, be sure to use concise keywords and descriptors that your target audience will most likely type into search engines when looking for open positions to help better connect you with ideal candidates.

Consistent Communication

In addition to clear communication of job responsibilities, millennials are interested in real-time feedback on the job. Because they appreciate knowing where they stand, along with the opportunity to consistently learn, maintain engagement with them by providing periodic, consistent check-ins as opposed to an annual review.

A Bigger Picture

As mentioned, millennials consider a number of factors from a potential position so as to feel fulfilled, maintain a work-life balance, continue career advancement and align with a company’s values. In exchange for their productivity and devotion, millennials are looking at what a company can offer them not just in monetary compensation, but how a job will fit into their overall life and society.

Once you’ve successfully recruited top talent, it becomes imperative that your dealership retains that employee. This is a particular challenge with the Gen Y employee. In fact, according to a recent 2016 Gallup report, 21 percent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year—more than three times the number of other generations. This turnover is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

One of the biggest complaints millennials have is a lack of opportunities to move their career paths forward. One explanation for this is a company’s preference to hire externally rather than promote from within. Hiring from within is more cost efficient and provides your millennial employees the chance to further engage with, and invest in, your company.

Tailoring recruitment strategies to attract top talent to your workforce, and providing them with ongoing opportunities for advancement and support, will help ensure your millennial employees will connect with your company and provide loyalty and dedication for years to come.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/12/recruiting-strategies-to-attract-millennials/

Adam Robinson

How to Hire the Most Important Sales Role in Your Dealership: Service Advisors

NCM-CD-627

There is no question that a successful dealership has both skilled technicians and knowledgeable salespeople to maintain profit margins. But an oft-overlooked—and equally (or arguably even more) important—component is the service advisor.

When people take their cars to a dealership, the service advisor is the first face they see. The service advisor quarterbacks the entire service experience and serves as the critical link between the customer and the work. This dynamic means service advisors have a heavy influence on customer experience, which can either keep them coming back or drive them away.

While a basic understanding of how cars work is essential to helping the customer navigate their needs, communication skills are even more crucial in ensuring the customer has a positive experience and feels confident about the work and service your dealership provides. Critical conversations had between the advisor and customer include such topics as explaining invoices, deciphering warranty coverage, explaining necessary or suggested additional repairs and providing the customer with updates on the progress of the work. All these conversations require someone with good people skills as well as excellent car skills.

Here are the key elements I recommend to identify quality service advisor candidates and how to hire them.

Recognize the Traits of a Solid Service Advisor

As mentioned above, a service advisor is the first face your customer sees and the person with whom they communicate the most, if not exclusively, throughout their service experience. A good service advisor should possess the following traits:

Mechanical Knowledge and Ability to Articulate – Because the service advisor is the one to communicate with the customer from start to finish, it is important they understand the industry enough to be able to answer questions, suggest options and explain the process to a customer who may otherwise be unfamiliar with the work needed or performed. Additionally, the service advisor should be able to relay the information without overusing technical jargon, making it simple for every customer to follow and understand.
People Skills – The service advisor should have the ability to read and adapt to different customers’ communication preferences: some like a plethora of details while others prefer to be in and out. The service advisor must also possess good listening skills to clearly understand what the customer needs or wants and be able to relay that information correctly to the technicians doing the work.
Integrity – In addition to communicating information between customers and technicians, service advisors have a responsibility to provide the client with accurate information that is in their best interest, instead of using every interaction as an opportunity to upsell extra work. A service advisor with honesty and integrity will quickly earn the confidence of your customers, ensuring they look to your dealership as a trusted place of business, returning for additional needs and sending friends and family your way. Also, a good service advisor will provide updates or call customers back in a timely fashion, keeping them looped in every step of the way

Things to Consider When Hiring a Solid Service Advisor

Now that you know what to look for in a service advisor, there some factors to keep in mind when considering hiring one. For starters, consider how your dealership and employment brand will appeal to women candidates. Half of your customers are women, so having at least one female service advisor on staff will help you better connect with that demographic. Consider advertising the job with a title other than “service advisor,” so as to appeal to a larger number of applicants. Alternate titles can include customer service representative, service secretary or customer service associate. While technical knowledge is beneficial, you might consider advertising the position with “no experience required” to welcome applicants who have all the other necessary skills without potential bad habits that will require much more aggressive retraining to break. Lastly, consider the number of service advisors your dealership needs to meet demand to give your customers the full attention and service required.

Benefits of a Solid Service Advisor

Hiring the right individual for a service advisor position will yield lasting benefits, including an increase in repair order count, CSI and owner retention. It will also increase your technicians’ productivity, resulting in a boost of customer loyalty.

A service advisor typically touches a customer five times more than a sales person, making proper candidates for this position a crucial component for your dealership’s success. As new car sales are expected to plateau or decline next year, a stable of high-quality service advisors will keep your customers coming in for repairs and services. Preparing for 2017 means staffing up with skilled service advisors who can create a lasting, positive impact.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ content partner, Hireology, for sharing the guidance on employee referral programs. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice for hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/how-to-hire-the-most-important-sales-role-in-your-dealership-service-advisors/

Alisha Stewart

Embracing the #hashtag Generation: How to Retain Talented Millennials in the Workplace

Coffee Girl

Millennials get a bad rap. We’re called loud and opinionated, lazy and entitled … the list goes on. And employers seem wary of hiring us, especially given reports about our low-loyalty, making it hard to find the right job. As a Millennial employee, I have experienced the backlash of these assumptions, but I think a lot of our negative press misses the point: Our opinions may challenge your dealership, but we want to bring our passion for change and innovation to the workplace!

And it’s going to happen. The truth is that we are the future of business, and by 2020 Millennials will make up 50% of the world’s workforce. Here are a few suggestions I have to help your dealership retain your talented Millennial employees and embrace the cutting edge ideas that they bring with them.

Pay us fairly and give us room to grow

Fair pay and growth opportunities are paramount to the retention of Millennials. As a group, we expect to progress in your company —and achieve leadership roles—faster than Gen X or older groups. When we don’t achieve this, we leave. A business’s failure to offer advancement results in costly and constant turnover. While it may seem that easy to take the cheaper route, there are many employers out there that will provide fair compensation and clear career path, and Millennials are eager to find them.

Embrace social media in all aspects of business

We all know that Millennials live their life online. Whether you’re looking to hire or looking to engage, I can’t stress enough the use of online tools that are available to you, and 99% of them are free! Let your employees write for the company newsletter or blog. Use LinkedIn and Indeed to recruit talent. Post employee recognition or business events on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Other ideas include purchasing a custom Snapchat filter for company parties and hosting a weekly vlog on YouTube. The options are truly endless, and they all help your Millennial employee feel engaged with your dealership!

Allow us to use our voice

I’d say that Millennials have a deep desire or, more appropriately, a need to let our voice be heard and share our views. (Why do you think we’re so active on social media?)

A few ways to encourage this are:

Give us opportunities to lead in roles that bring active change to the company, such as seats on committees and inclusion in forums.

Listen to us and be open to ideas! Just because something has been done a certain way for an extended amount of time does not mean that it is the most effective or efficient way to keep doing things. Use our creativity to advance your business.

Allow us to be creative by embracing technology.

Let us be involved. Here at NCM, we have an Ownership Culture Committee that not only plans social events for the company but also participates in charity and giving back. Believe it or not, Millennials do care about things bigger than themselves and allowing them to give back, and get involved will reap huge rewards in employee morale and culture.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/embracing-the-hashtag-generation-how-to-retain-talented-millennials-in-the-workplace/

Chris Kahrs

Building Your Bench Strength

Weight lifting

Addressing personnel changes and challenges can occasion lengthy conversations. I’d say that the most often asked question is, “Where do I find my next manager?” As dealerships continue to experience rapid turnover and acquisitions—and promote good employees into management—many organizations struggle to find replacements for vacancies.

Prepare for the unavoidable

It’s generally when they’ve lost an employee that dealers realize they have no one in their organization to assume that particular role. Dealers are forced to search outside their organizations for a candidate who shares their business’s values, culture, work ethic and vision. This hunt can be exhaustive, and the process is disruptive to the daily operations of the organization.

Why your team is critical

To use a sports analogy, each team has its starters suited up and ready to go for each game. When one of those starters gets hurt, a “bench player” is the next man up to assume that role. That bench player has been preparing for a scenario like this and is ready to perform. Yet in a lot of automotive organizations, there isn’t a bench player who has been coached to assume the role of the starter should there be the need.

How to create a strong bench

Weak bench strength is a problem for a number of reasons. First, it means you must spend time and money to find an outside replacement. And, more importantly, that unnoticed bench player is likely to leave. I honestly believe that one the greatest threats to your dealership is for an overlooked bench player—one who is not being groomed for advancement—to leave. And they will. Sensing the lack of opportunity, individuals like this will typically depart for greener pastures should they have the opportunity, thus leaving your organization searching for yet another replacement.

Here are my suggestions to improve your bench strength:

  • Train and educate from the top down to develop future organizational leaders
  • Cross train for diversity
  • Create peer-leader relationships
  • Create a career path with clear and defined advancement opportunities
  • Train, coach, motivate and encourage personal development

Filing managerial vacancies can be challenging for many organizations; however, you may already have an individual eager and ready to perform if given the opportunity. By building your bench, you can create future leaders from within your organization. Work on developing one to strengthen your overall talent pool.

Learn more about Chris Kahrs and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/building-your-bench-strength/

Kevin Baumgart

How to Improve Your Customer Experience with Better Employees

Businessmen talking

You never want your dealership to become infamous for poor customer service. No company wants that sort of stain on their brand image. And in today’s always-on, always-connected society, it’s incredibly easy for poor customer experiences to go viral and impact both sales and your brand image.

Comcast has a well-documented history of infuriating customers. If you recall this internet phenomenon from 2014, there was an encounter between a customer who was trying to cancel internet service and a Comcast employee who worked tirelessly to convince him otherwise. The recording of the conversation is painful to hear. Even a company as customer-centric as Amazon has been drawn into the crossfire through a poor customer experience during a live chat session where the customer was called the wrong name and gender throughout the encounter.

Needless to say, the internet is an unforgiving place in many respects when it comes to showcasing poor customer experiences. What’s more, a clear takeaway from each of these examples is that the individual employees have a significant role in shaping these experiences and perceptions as a whole.

With better employees, you’re able to make substantial progress towards creating a dealership culture and operational standard that consistently provides exceptional customer experiences.

How To Get Started with A Hiring Strategy

According to an article for Harvard Business Review, companies that effectively manage the entire customer experience see improved customer and employee satisfaction, stronger loyalty and higher revenue. From a hiring perspective, you need to implement a standardized process to select better quality employees who will provide your customers with a higher quality experiences.

Improving customer experiences doesn’t happen by addressing a single interaction with a customer—it involves everyone in your dealership. It’s truly a cultural shift, and one that needs to be reflected in the attitudes and core competencies of each and every employee.

With that in mind, here are a few qualities that you should look for in each candidate:

  • Listening abilities – In a customer service position, being able to focus your attention exclusively on the customer sometimes feels like a lost art—and like assessing artwork, trying to be objective about a person’s listening skills can be tricky when you’re not given the right tools. This is the type of soft skill that will likely present itself during a phone or in-person interview with job candidates. Take this opportunity to measure the accuracy of their responses to pointed questions, whether they talk over the interviewer and if their body language indicates they’re paying attention to you.
  • Empathy – Like listening skills, empathy is pretty difficult to judge unless you see a candidate in action. However, pre-screening tests and assessments can provide insight into whether a candidate will respond to a hypothetical situation in the right way. At the same time, you can ask open-ended questions that allow you to see whether the candidate exhibits empathy in response to a customer’s issues.
  • Technology literacy – While a great deal of customer experience management comes down to face-to-face human interaction and people skills, you need staff that understands how to get things done from a technical perspective. The kindest, most accommodating person in the world will still rub a car buyer the wrong way if he or she can’t point out specifications or talk about key vehicle features such as infotainment or Bluetooth connectivity with customers. Skills assessment tests are ideal for this sort of situation, providing you with an objective metric by which to score job candidates.

Understand Your Customers

At the foundation of your shift toward providing exceptional customer experiences is knowing your customer through and through. According to the annual J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, the number one thing new-car buyers look for when they’re selecting a specific model is reliability and durability. So, if your sales team member immediately starts off by how cool the customer will look in the vehicle, they may be getting off on the wrong foot—or, at least, isn’t addressing the customer’s priorities.

You need employees who have the listening skills, attitude and know-how to get to the bottom of what your customers want from the get-go. That means smarter hiring. Dealers with a process-driven approach are much more likely to find and hire quality candidates. In fact, 70% of our auto customer’s new employees hired through Hireology are rated as high-quality hires.

Take a data-driven approach to hiring that leverages skills assessments, pre-screening tools and interview checklists that help you objectively evaluate candidates.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the guidance on employee referral programs. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/how-to-improve-your-customer-experience-with-better-employees/

Kevin Baumgart

The First 7 Days: Why Onboarding Millennials Is Critical to Employee Performance

Coffee Girl

With each passing day, dealerships have to reconcile the fact that they will need to hire an increasing number of Millennials. What does this mean exactly? Like any normal demographic shift, older Americans are retiring and younger generations are filling their positions.

The big differentiator between now and previous generations is that the incoming group is such a huge segment of the population. According to Pew Research, Millennials – those between 18 and 34 – now number more than 75 million in the U.S., pushing them past the next largest group: the Baby Boomers.

What Does the Millennial Shift Mean for Dealerships?

This is meaningful for your dealership for a number of reasons. First of all, Millennials are in the middle of a job-hopping trend that has been growing increasingly pronounced over the past decade. For example, research from LinkedIn found professionals who graduated between 1986 and 1990 average 1.6 jobs during their first five years in the labor market. Workers who graduated between 2006 and 2010 have an average of 2.85 jobs during the same timeframe.

On top of that, Millennials are pretty stark in their self-assessments of their level of preparedness for the workforce. Bentley University released a study that revealed Millennials give themselves a grade of C or lower on being prepared for their first jobs.

When you consider the ramifications of these trends, you have the chance to recognize the importance of an onboarding program that keeps employees engaged and less inclined to look for work elsewhere.

Make Onboarding a Competitive Advantage

Building a dealership with the right talent will extend into the overall positive performance of the business. Employee onboarding is a fundamental aspect of the overall engagement framework of a top-performing business. With Millennials taking up a growing segment of the overall talent pool, keeping new hires engaged early on is even more important.

Strictly concerning financial performance, having a formal employee engagement program can make all the difference. A recent report from Aberdeen Research found that companies that have programs aimed at building employee loyalty achieve a 15.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue – compared to 12.3 percent for all other organizations (Link to PDF report).

Meanwhile, these top-performing organizations also generate higher annual revenues from customer referrals, and more of their sales team members achieve their annual quotas compared to companies that don’t have an employee engagement strategy.

How Are Companies Creating Impactful Onboarding Programs?

Consider the first week of a new employee’s time on the job. At the end of the first seven days, do they:

  • Have a clear sense of their role within your dealership?
  • Understand your organization’s culture and expectations?
  • Feel as though they are socially integrated?
  • Have confidence in their abilities to fulfill their responsibilities?
  • See a direction forward as they continue along their career path?

These questions can help you get started understanding whether your dealership has an effective onboarding program.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re keeping Millennials engaged from the very start.

1. Limit Traditional Learning Strategies

It’s important to remember that onboarding is not the same as training. There are certain aspects that will cross over, but, in large part, your onboarding program should be squarely focused on integrating new hires into your dealership. Certainly, you should be taking the time to introduce company policies, benefits and other fundamental information for each new employee. However, your onboarding program should get Millennials out from behind a desk and next to a mentor within your dealership who they can shadow. This will enable them to get hands-on experience and information about the processes and practices that go on during a regular day.

2. Begin Employee Recognition Early

From the very beginning, your dealership should work on integrating ways to help Millennials feel that they’re making significant progress—and you have made the effort to recognize them for it. A recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management found there’s a growing trend among organizations to invest in social recognition tools. A simple “thank you” goes a long way with respect to encouraging engagement among new hires, especially when you’re using social platforms that enable a millennial workforce to do so quickly and conveniently.

3. Customize Their Experiences

Whether or not it’s a positive attribute, Millennials are known for their love of personalization. From their Spotify playlists to their Starbucks orders, customization is a central component of their daily lives. They expect this to transition to the professional world. For instance, it’s common for new staff members to get introductory materials, clothing and other items during their first few days on the job. By adding their name or including references to topics or trends they enjoy, you increase the likelihood that your new hires will have a positive outlook and impression of your dealership.

By understanding how Millennials approach their professional lives and careers, you put your dealership in a better position to create an effective onboarding program that will make your business more productive.

Remember that this generation is less loyal to their employers than previous ones, meaning your onboarding strategy is even more likely tied to the long-term success of your business than you may have originally thought.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their insights on onboarding process. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable guidance for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/the-first-7-days-why-onboarding-millennials-is-critical-to-employee-performance/

Kevin Baumgart

Four Fundamental Steps for Hiring Product Specialists at Your Dealership

car salesman talking to young woman inside showroom

Our automotive customers have shared that employing product specialists helps improve customer experience and loyalty, while simultaneously lowering employee turnover. When executed well, everyone is better off—the dealership, from improved customer satisfaction; the new employee, with a clearly defined career path; and the customer, who drives off your lot happy and ready to refer their friends.

Why do you need this position? Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, and the traditional sales approach isn’t working like it used to. Customers don’t want a sales pitch when they come to the dealership—they’d rather leverage their own research to speed up the buying process and purchase their new vehicle as quickly as possible.

Traditional salespeople and this new breed of product specialists are not cut from the same cloth. This new group of jobseekers is harder to recruit and retain, forcing you to bring your recruiting A-game.

Step 1 – Learn what makes great product specialists

Based on data from Hireology’s Talent Coaches—our team who works with dealerships to help them recruit and hire great resources—there are several key factors to look for when hiring a product specialist:

  • New to the industry: You want your employees to be molded by your system, not bringing bad habits into your dealership.
  • Ability to be a sponge: If they know nothing about the car business, then they must be prepared to absorb information and put it to immediate use.
  • Comfort with technology: New specialists should have the ability to learn the multitude of vehicle features and convey them to the customer in a digestible manner.
  • Puts customer needs first: Successful product specialists do what it takes to make the customer happy and find the car that’s right for them.

When we look outside the auto industry for product specialists, we create a near-limitless supply of job seekers. As long as a candidate has the fundamental building blocks for success, he or she could be the exact employee you’ve been seeking.

Step 2 – Discover the best candidates

Dealership executives must know how to find and recruit preferred talent when it comes to building a team of product specialists—which means sourcing your candidates. You need proactively to determine where you want to locate top talent. Think about using job boards such as Indeed.com, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Snagajob so you can source candidates from the world’s best job sites.

Hireology’s Talent Coaches also recommend attending college career fairs and to build a strong social media presence for your dealership. Include on your dealership’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages such information as company culture, career opportunities and employee reviews. This helps ensure your dealership remains present within this ever-growing channel for job seekers.

Keep in mind that it’s important to have all your employees share this information and motivate them to want to share it. Otherwise, your social media efforts will seem forced or manufactured.

Here’s our breakdown for candidate discovery:

  • Publish jobs to the most effective job boards
  • Share positions using your social media accounts
  • Transform your website into a customizable job site
  • Use mobile-friendly job applications
  • Apply candidate pre-screening surveys
  • Create an employee referral program

Step 3 – Attract the right talent

There are two critical factors for attracting qualified candidates to fulfill your product specialist roles—the job post (which includes a job description) and the career site.

Most young job seekers aren’t actively considering traditional auto sales as a career option, so highlight the fact that you’re hiring for a product specialist position to drive more interest in the millennial market. Let job seekers know this fundamental difference in the job description and post.

Here’s an example format to follow when creating a Product Specialist job description:

Job Title: Product Specialist

Company: Jon Doe Automotive

DEALERSHIP AND ROLE: Be sure you tell applicants why your dealership is a great place to work and why this is a fantastic role within the company. Describe these vital details in a paragraph or two before you mention the benefits, responsibilities and qualifications.  This step is critical to developing their interest and drawing them in to apply.

BENEFITS: Add any benefits that your dealership may offer for employees, such as 401K, medical and dental insurance, paid time off and other perks.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Have bullet points listing all essential daily tasks, duties and any other obligations that are needed to be a top-performing product specialist at your dealership.

QUALIFICATIONS: List all things that require a product specialist to thrive to at the job, such as ideal personalities, skill sets and anything else you would consider needed in a qualified dealership employee.

Click here to get Hireology’s sample product specialist job description that will drive applicants.

Take advantage of a career site:

Updating the dealership career site is indispensable when attracting today’s product specialist job seekers. Design, word choice and other essentials play a major role in attracting applicants and top talent. Don’t let a non-existent or old careers page slowly fading on your website get in the way of finding great product specialists. Be sure you’re utilizing a streamlined career site so you can attract quality talent to your dealership. 

Step 4—Interview (twice), Verify and Hire

After you build your talent pool with a number of candidates, it’s time to interview your top choices for your product specialist positions. Starting this process with a phone interview is the best way to weed out the best candidates from the other applicants. From there, it’s highly recommended to conduct in-person interviews with the preferred candidates so you can get a better feel of who these people are and whether or not they might be qualified to work at your dealership. Lastly, before you make your hiring decisions, it’s always best practice to verify your candidates via background and reference checks.

Here are some tips on each phase of the process, so you can make sure you’re hiring qualified employees:

The Phone Screen—To get a better sense of who the applicant is, make sure you ask about his or her careers plans, their generals likes and dislikes, and their job history. Finish up the call by providing any information you have about your open product specialist role. Phone screens are an excellent way to save time by weeding out less qualified candidates and focusing on in-person interviewing only those that are qualified.

The Face-to-face Interview—These interview questions are different compared to the phone screen. Use this time when to learn more about the candidate and measure his or her work behaviors and personality. Skill assessment tests are the best way to gauge fully how qualified a candidate is for the job and are highly recommended.

Verification—The last step of any good interview process contains background and reference checks. There are easy ways to complete these processes without having to spend extra time on your end; be sure to do your due diligence when researching preferred vendors.

Wrapping Up: Product Specialists are the Future

The sales team structure at dealerships is changing. More dealerships are finding success with product specialists: their recruiting efforts are improving, their customer satisfaction is improving and their overall business is on the right path for thriving in today’s market.

Don’t let your dealership fall behind your competition when hiring new sales employees, especially on the product specialist end. It’s time to start employing product specialists so you can improve customer experience and loyalty, as well as achieve the hard-to-reach goal for every dealership—lower turnover.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the results of their study. Learn more about Hireology.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/07/four-fundamental-steps-for-hiring-product-specialists-at-your-dealership/

Kevin Baumgart

Does Your Dealership Value its Interview Process?

Businessmen talking

By the time a candidate reaches the interview stage, it’s clear they have grabbed your attention as a potential hire for your dealership. The interview process is an irreplaceable component of your dealership’s overall hiring strategy. It’s also the point at which both the employer and job seeker determine if it’s worth their time to move forward with the process.

What’s at Stake for Employers?

Taking the time to speak with a candidate in person is critical to determine if someone is a good fit for the role. It’s also an integral part in persuading top talent to work for your dealership.

Research from LinkedIn found that 87 percent of job seekers said a great interview experience would make them reconsider a job offer even if they have initial doubts. In a competitive job market, this can make the difference between hiring an all-star and a dud.

Conversely, 83 percent of candidates say a negative encounter during an interview will erode their interest in a position. Getting the interview process down to a science begins far in advance of the in-person visit.

Employer Due Diligence

You will want to use the early stages of the hiring process to get as much information about the applicant as possible to ensure you’re making the right decision by inviting them in for an interview. Hiring technology has come a long way in enabling auto dealers to evaluate job seekers before they ever step foot in the dealership.

Employers should take advantage of tools that test hard skills, soft skills, culture fit and aptitude. Based on the results of these evaluations, you’re able to better gauge whether they meet—or even exceed—the requirements established in your job description. This adds insight that employers can use in conjunction with resumes and applications to make informed judgments about applicants and if they should bring them in for an interview. Once you’ve completed these critical steps, you need to make sure you are prepared to meet the candidate in-person.

How to Prepare for the Interview

No detail is too small as you prepare for the interview. Consider what type of impression you’ll leave after you’ve invited a candidate to talk about a specific position and you forget their name, the job they applied for or refer to past work experiences belonging to another applicant. This is the candidate’s first impression of what it would be like to work at your dealership, it’s important to get it right.

You should also have your interview questions prepared in advance and in front of you when you sit down for the interview. Be sure to have questions that will help you effectively identify whether the candidate can perform all necessary tasks defined in the job description. Addressing your priorities upfront and asking questions about measurable criteria will help you determine their ability to do well in the role.

At the end of an interview is a great time to allow candidates to ask questions and helps set expectations for the candidate and the interviewer. If you are prepared for this exchange in advance, it is easier to sell top talent not just on the role, but also on your dealership as a place to work. As much as the employer is judging the candidate, the potential new hire is also forming opinions about working for the dealership, and a great impression will win over all-star candidates.

An Extensive Process

The interview is the singular component in hiring that carries the most weight for both the employer and candidate. It’s crucial that you have a rock-solid process in place—built on strong intel about each applicant—that will make the encounter productive and illuminating for all parties involved.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their insights on the interview process. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable guidance for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/06/does-your-dealership-value-its-interview-process/

Adam Robinson

Recruitment Best Practices from DrivingSales’ Most Valuable Insight Competition

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Recently, Hireology was fortunate to speak and present at the DrivingSales Presidents Club 2016 event as a finalist for the Most Valuable Insight Awards. As a way to share our “most valuable insight,” Hireology presented the findings from an in-house study on how effective employment branding drives quality hires and improved store performance at dealerships. After conducting our research, we found something to be true across all retail automotive dealerships: employment brand matters.

Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make. When dealerships build a strong employment brand and utilize procedures to manage the recruiting and hiring effort, the results are staggering.

How we did this study

(Short on time to read? Jump to the results and learn how to use them.)

While conducting our research, Hireology studied two control groups (for easy reference, I’ll refer to these as “Group A” and “Group B”). Group A consisted of a six-rooftop dealer group from the Mid-Atlantic region, and Group B was composed of a three-rooftop group located in the Midwest. Management teams were surveyed electronically, which covered their approach to employment branding and recruitment process as well as their results from such efforts.

Before diving into the results, let’s take a look at some of the industry-wide data related to human capital:

Therefore, we anticipated a correlation between the way dealerships present themselves as employers to today’s younger workforce online and the harmful effects of their staff turnover.

What we found: A branded career site yields better candidates

Our survey exposed numerous challenges facing the automotive industry when it comes to finding and hiring employees. Hireology discovered that there was a clear difference between utilizing job boards and a company career site when it comes to recruiting talent. Here are our results.

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Applicant conversion by source

We analyzed the rate at which inbound page traffic to Group A’s career page converted into candidate applications and found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site substantially over-performed the conversion rates generated from paid job board traffic:

  • 0.2% conversion rate from job boards
  • 11.5% conversion rate from organic traffic

Candidates by source

In this analysis, “candidate” is defined as someone who has applied for an open position via the career site and who has been deemed qualified at the first review so that a next step, such as an interview, is warranted. What Hireology found was that nearly 94% of candidates who applied for an open job were attributable to a paid job board, versus organic traffic due to a career site.

  • 6.1% career site
  • 93.8% job boards

Hires by source

Our analysis of Group A data showed that 77% of all hires resulted from organic traffic generated by the dealer’s career site versus job boards. This insight, when examined against conversion rate and candidate source data, shows that even though organic traffic attributable to a dealer career site generated just 6% of all candidate traffic, the career site cohort produced a whopping 77% of all hires. In other words, 6% of traffic generated 77% of hires.

  • 22.7% job boards
  • 77.3% career site

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Quality of hires by source

Our analysis defined “quality hire” as “a hire who was able to meet or exceed 75% of their states production or performance target.” In sales roles, this might be a monthly vehicle unit sales quota. When controlling for the candidate source, 75% of all “quality hires” originated from the candidate pool generated via organic career site traffic. Just 25% of Group A’s quality hires came from a paid job board.

  • 25% job boards
  • 75% career site

Turnover percentage by source

Most importantly, the results show that turnover rates diverge substantially based on the cohort. The new variable ops hires that originated from a candidate attributable to a branded career site turned over at a rate two-thirds less than the industry average.

  • 25% from Group A
  • 72% industry average

Group B (Three-rooftop control group—Midwest)

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For this second control group, we similarly analyzed the rate at which inbound page traffic to Group B’s career page converted into candidate applications. Hireology found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site substantially over-performed the conversion rates generated from paid job board traffic.

Applicant conversion by source

We examined the rate at which inbound page traffic to this dealership group’s career page converted into candidate applications and found that conversion rates from organic traffic delivered as a result of a branded career site significantly over-performed the conversion rates that came from paid job board traffic:

  • 1% came from job boards
  • 13% came from the dealership’s career site

Candidates by source

In this analysis of Group B data, we defined “candidate” as someone who has applied for an open position via the career site and is a qualified applicant warranting a next step, such as an interview. Hireology found that nearly 82% of candidates who applied for an open position were attributable to a paid job board, compared with organic traffic due to a career site.

  • 82% job boards
  • 18% career site

Hires by source

Our analysis of the data showed that 71% of all hires resulted from organic traffic generated by the dealer’s career site versus job boards. When evaluated along with conversion rate and candidate source data, we concluded that even though organic traffic attributable to a dealer career site generated just 18% of all candidate traffic, this cohort produced a whopping 71% of all hires made. In other words, 18% of traffic generated 71% of hires.

  • 29% job boards
  • 71% career site

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As previously mentioned, Hireology defined “quality hire” as “a hire who was able to meet or exceed 75% of their states production or performance target.” When controlling for the candidate source, 70% of all “quality hires” came from the candidate pool generated via organic career site traffic; only 30% of quality hires resulted from a paid job board.

  • 30% job boards
  • 70% career site

Turnover percentage by source

What’s essential here is that the results show that turnover rates deviate significantly based on the cohort. The new variable ops hires that came from a candidate attributable to a branded career site turned over at a rate that’s nearly 50 percent less than the industry average.

  • 21% from Group B
  • 70% industry average

A branded career site for improves hiring and turnover

So, what’s the value in having a branded career site for your dealership? Here are four things to consider:

  1. Organic applicant traffic and process is over 5x more cost-effective
    1. Organic cost-per-hire: $245
    2. Third-party sources cost-per-hire: $1,700
  2. Organic applicant traffic and process yields the majority of hires—20% of the traffic yields 80% of the hires
  3. Hires sourced this way are 2.5x more likely to be an A or B player
  4. Hires sources this way have higher retention rates—
    1. 27% versus 67% industry average

Key takeaways for dealers

Retail automotive dealers who want to build better teams and reduce turnover should invest in employment branding and adopt a data-driven hiring process. The financial benefits of such an approach far surpass nearly all potential operational improvements through which dealers can generate a return on investment.

Assuming your dealership has 55 employees (the average) and a turnover of 67% per year, turnover is costing you nearly $600,000 per year, every year.

                        37 turns (67% x 55) @ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea.  = $592,000

Based on our study, dealerships can anticipate dramatic changes in turnover after adopting a structured hiring process and creating a branded career site. As soon as you produce a turnover rate similar to the cases studies discussed above (i.e., 25%), your dealership turnover calculation would improve:

                        14 turns (25% x 55) @ $16,000 cost-per-turnover ea. = $224,000

That’s a profit add-back of $368,000 per store per year. Dealers are hard-pressed to figure out a more straightforward way to generate a higher return in this amount of time.

The bottom line is that dealers must take charge of the hiring challenge by taking control of the recruitment process. Strong employment branding, when combined with a data-driven evaluation process, is one of the best investments a dealership can make.

If you’re not already taking this approach, it might be time to reconsider the way your dealership hires employees because your employment brand most definitely matters.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the results of their study. Learn more about Hireology.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/05/recruitment-best-practices-from-drivingsales-most-valuable-insight-competition/

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