Five biggest mistakes dealers make when hiring
By David Druzynski, Director of Human Resources, Auto/Mate Dealership Systems
Its no secret that the employee turnover rate for certain positions in the auto industry is high. Why is this? In my career with Auto/Mate, I have interviewed thousands of job candidates, the majority of whom have car dealership experience.
From what I have gathered, here are the most common hiring mistakes that auto dealers make (which lead to their employees wanting to leave):
1) Hiring too quickly to fill a need
Dealers may associate an empty seat with lost revenue, but its important to realize that the wrong person in that seat could cost you even more lost revenue, and then some! When the wrong person is fired or quits, theres the cost of unemployment insurance and COBRA administration. If this person harasses or discriminates against a coworker or customer, you are left exposed to lawsuits. Then there is the time spent interviewing the hire, training them, managing them more than necessary, and repeating the process unnecessarily a few months later.
In fact, the average cost of turning over an auto dealership salesperson is $20,000 (not including the wages you paid them).
In addition there are hidden costs of making a bad hiring decision, such as the cost of lost vehicles sales, cost of alienating customers, cost of low employee morale, cost of your reputation being affected, and more.
Have patience when it comes to hiring. Also be sure to hire people who are a good culture fit. I understand if you have a rock star sales person in front of you, you may want to hire that person immediately. But if that persons sales style is aggressive and dog-eat-dog, and your sales environment is all about relationship building and team effort with a friendly attitude, that salesperson will not last long, despite the fact they can sell cars.
2) Believing what is on a candidates resume is true
Its hard for many dealers to believe or understand, but candidates lie all the time. They lie on their resumes and they lie during interviews. They lie about their abilities, achievements and experience.
The best way to fully assess each candidate is to establish a hiring process. First, form a hiring committee with three to five members whose judgment you trust. Formulate interview questions and check for inconsistencies in candidates answers. If their resume says they were a service manager, but they describe duties that closely resemble an advisor, then its likely they inflated their title.
Also, require that your top two or three candidates take pre-employment aptitude, skills and/or personality assessments. These are inexpensive, some are very accurate, and they can tell you a lot more about a candidate than what is revealed in an interview. I also recommend that a unanimous “yes” by all hiring committee members is required in order for any candidate to be hired.
3) Hiring someone because you like them
This is similar to number two. You may have a great “gut feel” about a person and you may really like them and want to hire them. Just because someone is likeable, doesnt mean they are capable of, or willing to do the job. Gut feelings can be dead wrong. Dont skirt the hiring process.
4) Not properly vetting a candidate
Take the time to vet all candidates, even if they seem perfect on paper. In a survey of 3,100 hiring managers, 49 percent said they caught a job applicant fabricating their resume. There are even companies out there like CareerExcuse.com, that create fake companies, fake work histories and provide fake references for job seekers.
Ask every candidate for at least three references and state that two of them must be previous managers. Research to make sure they are legitimate managers at legitimate companies. Call and talk to the managers on the phone; sometimes youll catch a hesitation or inflection in the voice that you wouldnt otherwise notice in e-mail correspondence.
You can gain a lot of valuable information from references. This year alone, we caught one candidate who submitted a reference letter on company letterhead, and when we called to verify with the dealership, we learned she never even worked there. In another instance, we had an individual who said that they resigned from a parts position, when in reality, we learned they were fired for theft and escorted out of the dealership in handcuffs. A little extra effort can save your dealership from being victimized.
5) Overselling the job opportunity
The top three reasons that people quit their previous position at an auto dealership (according to thousands of interviews conducted with former auto dealership employees at Auto/Mate) are:
« “They promised I would make more money than I did.”
« “They told me there was opportunity for advancement, but there were no opportunities in the entire year (two years, three years) I was there.”
« “I got burned out.”
Its critical not to oversell the opportunities in your dealership.
Dont promise a potential salesperson they will make $120K if the average salesperson makes $80K. Dont promise someone they can have weekends off if your staff is expected to work weekends. If you are interviewing a potential service advisor and he says hes ready to be a manager, dont promise that hell be a service manager within a year or two–unless you know with a high degree of certainty that you will have a service manager opening in the next year or two.
When you exaggerate opportunities in order to convince a candidate to take a job, that employee will feel duped in short order, and rightfully so. Chances are they will immediately begin looking for a better opportunity.
For information on how to create a successful hiring process, download our free eBook titled The Auto Dealers 10-Step Guide to Hiring the Best Employees. The eBook is available on Auto/Mates website in the Resources section.
David Druzynski is director of Human Resources with Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. He oversees strategic HR planning, talent management, employee engagement, leadership development, benefits and compensation, and legal and regulatory complianceDownload Bulletin PDF