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Tag Archive: Hiring Strategies

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

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/

Joe Basil

Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring cycle

older-business-couple

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/

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/

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/

Steve Hall

Grow Your Own Best People for Your Automotive Dealership

Hand pouring water from watering canHow do you find employees?  I continually hear dealers and managers say that they can’t find good people to hire.  It seems dealers often times expect to find the “perfect” candidate when they post a job and unfortunately, many times that perfect person may not exist.    What is a dealer to do?  Do you hire the re-tread, or the person with the fewest objectionable traits?  Hopefully not.

We are a people-centered business and without great employees, we can’t possibly take care of our valued customers.  So how do we overcome the obstacle of needing good people and consistently not finding them?   The answer may already be within the walls of your dealership. You must grow your own!

Yes, it takes time and dedication and better hiring practices at the lowest levels.

Managers will agree that it is easier to find a low-skilled employee than a high-skilled employee.  Think porters, lube techs or reception, versus F&I producers or master technicians.  Because of this very reason, shouldn’t we be looking to hire the best low-skilled employees for your store?  If they are low skilled due to lack of experience, lack of knowledge or lack of training and not due to a lack of intelligence or drive, couldn’t these employees be made into valuable and productive employees going forward?

Can your warranty administrator, cashier or greeter become your next service advisor or BDC representative?  If you need a new line or “B” level technician, they can be hard to find.  So maybe you can look at it this way…. can your technically-inclined and dependable porter become your new ‘D” tech and your current “D” tech become your new “C” tech, while your “C” tech becomes your newest “B” tech?  Now we only have to find another good porter, not a “B” technician with five-plus years’ experience that we might even have to over-pay just to land.  Seeing the ripple effect of opportunities within the store is always good for moral.

Learn to look at people’s skill sets, and personality traits, not just what position they have worked in before. 

The next time that you are looking to hire a porter, don’t just look at if the person can do that job, but look at them from the standpoint of “what can I grow this person into.  What is their real potential?”  Once you consistently do this, you will start seeing the quality of your lower level hires become better.  You will stop hiring for a $10.00 an hour person and start hiring for your next sales consultant, service writer, or possibly down the road, department manager.

We all pretty much started like this.  We were given opportunities, we took advantage of them, we performed at a high level and eventually became the managers, leaders and partners that we are today.  Looking back at your career path, did you have to change companies to get the next opportunity?  If so, was it because the company that you left only saw you as the porter, or BDC person you were, and not the skilled employee that you were becoming?  Even though they were currently looking for sales people, service writers, parts personnel or other positions?  You left because they couldn’t see the diamond that they had.  Don’t make the same mistake and overlook people that you have for the positions that you need.

Another benefit is that once the new hires see they have opportunities to grow with the company and move up the ladder, they will be more likely to put their hearts into their work.  Friends of these quality people who are stuck in hourly jobs with no future will start coming to you looking for careers.  The word will get around that you are “the place to work.”

People like working for companies that look inside before looking outside.  They start seeing a career, not just a job, and that makes hiring easier.

salesandmang_compensation

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/grow-your-own-best-people-for-your-automotive-dealership/

Dan Schneider

Successor Development and Talent Management: What Makes It So Hard?

Image converted using ifftoanyCompanies like to say that people are their greatest asset. If that’s really true, why are so many organizations unprepared for facing the challenges associated with recruiting, selecting, and retaining the right people in the right seats?

According to one COO I interviewed recently, “Talent management puts you under strain because it stops you from doing what you are rewarded for.” This COO’s sentiment, one that I find many executives agree with, is one of the major obstacles to developing talent, family or otherwise: people simply don’t believe that’s what they’re paid to do.

Whether your business is privately held or publicly held, talent management and successor development in your organization probably share a common financial thread. In both cases, development is expensed rather than capitalized. Now you might be asking, “What difference does that make?” Keep reading.

If talent management and successor development are expensed, then when revenues and profits go down, so does the effort put into people development. When you stop developing your people, you dull your competitive edge. That usually occurs when you can least afford to have that happen. But the lure of a “quick fix” on the expense side of the financials is very seductive.

If talent management and successor development aren’t part of your strategic and succession plans, prepare to wander in the desert. During one session with a group of CEOs, one asked me “Why are really talented people so hard to find?” My answer is that there just aren’t that many to start with. As a result, there is a real global “talent war”.

Check your organization on the following questions and see how you fare:

Question: True False Unsure

  1. Senior managers spend quality time on talent management.
  2. The company encourages constructive collaboration and
    sharing of resources.
  3. Line managers are committed to developing direct reports.
  4. Line managers differentiate performance among their people.
  5. The Senior team is involved in shaping talent management strategies.
  6. Talent management is aligned with business strategy.
  7. Underperformance is addressed as it occurs.

Now, go back and look at your answers. Were you really honest or did you just want to feel good today? If you answered all seven as “True”, and if you were honest in answering, then you and your management team have learned how to manage talent and will be in a better spot when it comes time to identify successor candidates. If some of your answers were either “False” or “Unsure”, then you might want to consider why finding and keeping the right people is harder than you would like it to be.

Note from the NCM Institute:  NCMi® now offers Mastery Level classes for Used Vehicle, Service and General Sales Managers, which include focused discussion on employee development and talent management. To learn more, click on the “Master Your Destiny” link below. 

Master-Your-Destiny

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/successor-development-and-talent-management-what-makes-it-so-hard/