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Category Archive: Hiring Strategies

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/

Joe Basil

Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring cycle

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It’s a process we all know too well. You post a job online. Get 12 applications. Interview nine; hire four. And three out of the four are gone by the end of the quarter. Sound familiar?

Why do new hires leave?

During the interview process, each prospect was painstakingly interviewed by two or three other managers. You and your team spoke at length about each candidate, and there was majority opinion or consensus about who to hire. Everyone—you, your managers and the new hires—were enthusiastic about the opportunity. And you thought, “Hey, we made some good choices!”

“Wrong fit” is the wrong answer

So, why did they leave? (Or get fired?) The answer for most managers will be that they just didn’t work out. I’ve also heard, “They weren’t as good as I thought during the interview.” Or, “She turned out to be a different person than the one we interviewed!” Sometimes the blame shifts back to the interviewee, with claims that the new hire just didn’t realize what the job entailed.

These are not acceptable answers. And they certainly aren’t answers that help us solve the hiring problem.

Identifying the real hiring problem: Your process
Let’s take a look at the steps dealerships typically take to bring new staff on board. In the video below, I break down the typical automotive dealership hiring process and its challenges:

Here’s the question I ask hiring managers to determine if there’s a hiring process issue: What did you discover about the new hire between the date you hired them and the date you fired them that you didn’t learn during the interview?

The gap I consistently find is that an inefficient interviewing and selection process coupled with a lack of job descriptions led to a mismatch. Add to this confusion the fact that the vast majority of managers have little or no training in how to conduct a thorough interview, and you develop a systemic hiring process problem.

The results of a bad hiring cycle? You discover deficiencies about the candidate after you’ve hired and trained them, mismatches which should have been identified during the interview stage. Really, it’s no different than putting a price on a used car trade-in and not doing a test drive, evaluation and inspection until after you have taken the car on trade and own it!

Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring Process

So, how can you change the cycle going forward? I have three steps that will make an immediate impact on how your organization selects new employees.

  1. First, you have to have a detailed job description. The details need to be reviewed and approved by all the managers who will interact with the position. This way, the managers own the job description.
  2. Second, anyone involved in the interview process must be trained on how to conduct a thorough and effective interview. Require the interviewers have an interview plan, a personality profile, and a question list prepared; they should reference these tools during the interview process.
  3. Third, clearly communicate the job description to the candidate and confirm their understanding of the duties during the interview stage. Question them about their ability and willingness to fulfilling the job description.

Once you have a thorough and efficient interview process—and that process is utilized by well-trained managers—you’ll see an immediate improvement in selecting and hiring the right people the first time. These strategies will help you discover if a candidate is a good fit for your organization and has the talent and abilities required for the position. And you’ll discover all this at the interview stage, not when they’re walking out the door.

Employee recruitment and retention continue to be a struggle for the automotive industry. Join Joe for his class, Finding Top Talent, to get more tools on how to simplify and improve the hiring process. And, once you’ve found the right person, learn how to keep them with Mark Shackelford’s course, Sales and Management Compensation.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/three-must-do-fixes-to-improve-your-hiring-cycle/

Adam Robinson

The Three Components of a Strong Employment Brand

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Auto retailers spend a fortune building their consumer brand. In the hyper- competitive world we live in, your local brand is one of the most valuable assets you control. A strong brand establishes the credibility, good will, and trust that buyers want when purchasing a car.

But what about your employment brand?

Your brand as an employer really matters. It’s the way that your local market’s talent pool perceives your organization as a potential employer. And make no mistake, you’re competing with other businesses for the best talent to staff your stores. Just like a strong consumer brand, a strong employment brand can differentiate you from the dealer down the street, and land you the best candidates. A weak or nonexistent employment brand all but ensures that you’ll be interviewing your competitors’ cast-offs.

The best demonstration of your employment brand is your career website. It’s a well-established fact that consumers are shopping online for hours before raising their hand and asking you for information about a particular vehicle. But did you realize that these same consumers are doing the exact same thing when considering whether or not to apply to your open job?

You’ve invested time and money getting your dealer site to a point where it’s producing leads, and your career site needs the same attention to detail to attract great job candidates. In addition to impacting applicant quality, your career site has real financial consequences. Chances are that you’re spending a lot of money on job boards and employment ads, but you can’t recoup that investment if you’re not directing those leads to a strong career site that speaks to your candidate pool.

To see an example of what I’m talking about, Schomp Automotive out of Denver, Colorado absolutely nails it. Check out one of the best career sites in the industry at http://careers.schomp.com. (Full disclosure: they’re a Hireology customer)

Here’s a fun exercise: open up a new tab in your internet browser and bring up your dealership’s website. Now, find the section of your site where a job candidate would research your business and apply for a job and ask yourself how your employment brand stacks up against these three critical success factors:

Can I easily submit an application?

Think about your digital marketing programs that are focused on your market’s consumer base. How much information do you ask of them in order for them to submit a lead? Pretty much a name and email address, I’m guessing? And you know the reason why: the more fields on a leads form, the fewer leads you get.

 

It’s no different with online job applications. The experience is everything. If you’re asking applicants to give you their name and email address along with a resume, then you’re in good shape. If you’re asking your applicants to completely re-create their resume on an online web form with dozens of fields, then you’re making it much, much harder to apply for the job than it needs to be.

Our research shows a nearly linear correlation between fields on an online job application and the conversation rate of traffic to form submissions. We strongly recommend keeping online job applications to 8 fields or less. Like car buyer leads, the point is to generate interest and make contact; if you’re running an effective interview process you’ll have plenty of opportunity to fully vet candidates.

Does it work on a mobile phone?

You know that you’re really missing the boat if your consumer site doesn’t render well on a mobile device, but did you realize that in 2015, 50% of all candidate traffic in the US and Canada originated on a mobile device?

That means that if a candidate can’t open your careers page on a mobile phone, you’re throwing away half of your applicant traffic, drastically restricting your access to the strongest candidates in your local job market, not to mention wasting half of your investment in recruiting.

Go ahead, try researching jobs at your store from your phone. How’s the experience? Ask yourself: if I were looking for a job, does my dealership make this experience a good one? If the answer is anything other than “yes,” you’ve got work to do.

Does it tell a compelling story?

The labor market is as tight as it’s been in a decade, and you no longer have the luxury of being undisciplined when it comes to attracting the best talent. Job seekers, especially the 50% of the workforce that’s made up of GenY, want to work for an employer that provides a great working environment and a defined career path.

A career site is more than a listing of open jobs – it needs to build excitement and reflect your company’s history, culture, community involvement, and employee quality of life. Ask yourself: does your career site explain the professional growth potential for a new employee? Does it tell the story of who you are and what you stand for?  Does it give me a compelling reason to want to work for you?

With these best practices in mind, take another look at the Schomp site from earlier. Take note of how they’ve built a site that supports any device, streamlines the application process, and has mastered the art of telling their own story. The site clearly shows potential applicants all the reasons why Schomp is an employer of choice. If I’m shopping for a job, Schomp presents a compelling case for why they deserve my time and attention.

It’s time for dealers to treat their employment brand with the same level of rigor and quality control that they do their consumer brand. In these increasingly competitive and uncertain times, the difference between your success or failure may very well rest on your ability to hire and retain great people. Great people want to work for great companies; make sure that your employment brand meets today’s standards.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/02/the-three-components-of-a-strong-employment-brand/

Joe Basil

What are you hiring for: personality or failure?

What are you hiring for?

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to hiring complaints from dealers, managers and business owners. Finding and retaining the right people is a huge concern for any business, but the auto industry pays a particularly heavy toll with an average turnover rate of 66%.

Leaders like you want to know the best way to hire and keep high-performing staff, but the answer may not be what you expect.

Hire the person and the talent, not the skillset

Take a minute to think about a job opening you have. Chances are, you have a specific list of activities and experiences needed to fill that role. Now, consider the last person who worked in the job—did you let them go because they didn’t match up with this list or did they simply not “work out”? Did a different person show up for work than the one you interviewed?

I’d hazard to guess it’s because they “didn’t work out.” But what does it mean, exactly, to “not work out.” It means that the person didn’t behave in the way you wanted. Maybe he or she wasn’t outgoing enough to really make sales. Maybe she simply wasn’t very organized and couldn’t keep track of incoming BDC leads. Those problems are related to personality, not skill.

Understand the personality needed for success

Let’s agree that personality and talent should influence your hiring decision. The next question is: What’s the right personality? How do I know their talents? This is where things can get tricky. Let me give an example.

If you ask around the dealership what are the best traits for a sales rep, you’re going to get many different answers:

Dealer:  Energetic self-starter with good people skills who sets goals and achieves them —a good closer, good grosser and they have to be a team player!

Manager #1: Someone who is organized, punctual, follows procedure and covers all the details.

Manager #2: Someone who is persuasive, outgoing and can build a book of business.

Manager #3: Someone who is friendly with customers, always takes care of their needs, never has customer complaints and can create strong customer satisfaction.

Who should you hire? One manager would hire a “neat nick,” the next manger would hire a “slammer” and the last one would hire a “consumer advocate”—and no one would hire the dealer’s sales person!

To figure out the best personality fit for a position, don’t ask the managers what they want—in fact, don’t even ask yourself that! Instead, look at who’s been successful.

Consider your top performers: What are the character traits that help them succeed? Then study your worst performers in the role: What about their personalities led to their failure? After some thought, clear patterns should emerge about each job, and you can use those insights to find the right personality for your open positions.

Balance out performance and personality

Not that you should only hire on personality! You need to balance a candidate’s skills and personality, and select people who are a great fit in both criteria. During the interview, gauge the candidate’s ability and natural talents. But remember: while you can always train someone, you can never change their personality.  Even if you like a candidate, he’s not going to perform well if your dealership requires him to act against his nature.

Ready to learn more about hiring and retaining the best talent? Join the NCM Institute for its courses on Finding Top Talentand Sales and Management Compensation. Working with experts such as Joe Basil and Mark Shackelford, you’ll develop a comprehensive hiring and compensation strategy to bring the best talent onboard and to keep them.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/7977/

Chris Kahrs

Don’t Lose Your Best: Employee Retention Starts Day One

retention

I read something shocking the other day.

According to Forbes, the average annual raise an employee can expect is 3%. But our high inflation rate means that’s really about 1%.

But, if a top employee chooses to jump ship? They can expect anywhere from a 10 to 20% bump in salary. Sometimes as much as 50%.

FIFTY PERCENT? That’s a lot of money. No wonder employee turnover can be so bad!

Money is a motivator, but not the only one

What?! I know you’re thinking. I can’t afford to give a 20% raise each year, no matter how great an employee he is!

I get it. But the fact is that top talent is leaving every day and, unless you do something to stop it, you are likely to see your best people walk out the door.

Fortunately for us, people are motivated by more than money. The Pride Staff 2015 Employee Retention Survey reports that 17.5% of interview job seekers were looking for more money. But nearly as many – 16.2% – were looking to leave because they didn’t like the company culture or wanted more training! That’s means we have an opportunity to fix things.

Good retention starts Day One

When you have a great company culture, top talent will be willing to invest in you. I recommend that you establish your company culture early, starting with a solid onboarding process.

Here’s my 10-Step Onboarding Process:

  1. Before the first day, tell them who to ask for when they arrive. Ideally, have this be someone involved in the hiring process. A familiar face upon walking in the dealership is very welcoming!
  2. In that same conversation, tell them where to park so they aren’t embarrassed by being asked to move their vehicle on the first day.
  3. Email—or leave on their desk – their first month schedule. Include details about meetings and list a goal for each day.
  4. Prior to the new employee’s start date, tell the entire organization to expect them and encourage them to say hello.
  5. Clean and prep their work station before their arrival. Do they have all of the tools necessary? Does everything work? Make sure everything is in order.
  6. Have their paperwork packet ready when they arrive. Most, if not all, new hires know there is important paperwork to sign. This shows the new hire you’re prepared and value their time.
  7. Prepare all needed log-ins and passwords and set up their voicemail. (This helps you, too. Remember: This new employee has told several people where he is working and he/she may get calls on day #1. No voicemail = potential lost opportunities!)
  8. Give them a thorough tour of the facility when they arrive, and introduce them to the staff.
  9. Clarify the schedule for the first week and month. Review the expectations of the employee in their new role.
  10. Explain your organization’s goals and future outlook and how he or she fits into them.

Retention matters … every single day

You can’t forget about retention once that new employee is settled in. If anything, it’s more important than ever!

Show your staff that you’re willing to invest in them with training and career development. Not only will it improve their performance, but it will give them another reason to stay with your business.

My last recommendation is to keep your eye on the ever-changing market. Make sure you stay up-to-date with current employment and benefit trends, so you attract – and retain – the best staff for your business. Review your procedures, such as the onboarding process I outline above, with your management and make sure they are following it.

Remember: The better your company culture, the more likely you are to keep your best talent!

Have a great retention tool at your business? Comment below and share your expertise.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/09/dont-lose-your-best-employee-retention-starts-day-one/

Dustin Kerr

Hiring Buy Here Pay Here Salespeople That Produce – The Newspaper Ad

I’ll be blunt; hiring candidates from a newspaper ad is not the most effective way of finding the type of talent that can be molded into a productive salesperson. However, there is a time and place for the newspaper or Craigslist ad, and in this article, we are going to discuss how to make your ad as effective as possible.

Watch the video – Click here!

First, we should set the correct expectations. It’s highly unlikely you are going to find a seasoned, successful salesperson through these types of ads. Salespeople that are already trained and productive are likely making a significantly better income than what the average BHPH dealer is going to be willing to pay them.

So, we are really looking for people that have the right temperament, work ethic, and confidence to be receptive to our training program (because we are going to train them correctly) and to fit in well with the culture we are trying to promote.

Before we go any further, I want to give you two sources that I have used in the past that provide great information on hiring salespeople. The first is a book by Chet Holmes titled “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” and the second is “The Anderson Hiring System” by Dave Anderson, a virtual training program available in NCM OnDemand.

The ad I use and will describe below is a combination of what I have learned from those two gentleman mixed in with my own experiences. Be warned: this ad will eliminate most of the applicants you would get through the typical newspaper or Craigslist ad, and that’s what we’re going for. We don’t want to have to wade through all the applicants who are just looking for another paycheck.

The headline of the ad should get their attention and should show the upward end of what they could expect to make. For example: Now Hiring Sales – No Experience Necessary – Extensive Training Program – $40,000-$60,000.

The body of the ad should then eliminate as many of the undesired applicants as possible and we will do that by using very blunt, straight-forward language.

We are looking for individuals that have the desire to be great. Please do not apply if you only have an average desire or work ethic. Our training program is very extensive and includes a great deal of role playing and practice. We are a rapidly growing company that is a leader in our industry and we are only interested in those that want to be the best.

Too many times we get caught up with trying to sell the reader on why they should apply with our company, generally because we are in crisis mode and desperate for a warm body. This ad will eliminate a great deal of the warm bodies as they will be turned off by the strong, in-your-face language. Those that do apply will typically be very confident in their abilities and open to the idea of training.

Now, this MUST be followed up with a thorough interview process that goes well beyond the applicant’s previous job history and resume. Conducting a proper interview is beyond the scope of this article, but is something we will cover in great detail in future articles.

In the meantime, get these ads running continuously on Craigslist, and if you have any questions regarding improving your hiring process or how being a member of a 20 Group can help your profitability and cash flow, please email me at dkerr@ncm20.com, or call me at 913-827-6677.

ondemand

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/hiring-buy-here-pay-here-salespeople-that-produce-the-newspaper-ad/

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