‘Fire’ Unsuitable Job Candidates Before Hiring Them

Having applicants interview complete strangers is part of the Sellchology drill.

Jim Henry, Contributor

February 16, 2020

1 Min Read
Jonathon Dawson
Automotive sales trainer and consultant Jonathan Dawson.

LAS VEGAS — A dealership hiring-practices workshop with the catchy title, “Fire Them Before You Hire Them” advocates so-called demonstrative tests in job interviews, such as learning a task from a how-to video, or interviewing complete strangers.

“If a candidate will not work to get the job, you can have no confidence they will work once they get it,” says the workshop leader, automotive sales trainer and consultant Jonathan Dawson.

His workshop is at the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention and expo here.

His Atlanta-based firm is called Sellchology — a mashup of “Selling Through Psychology.”

Demonstrative tests are aimed at having candidates actually demonstrate attributes the dealership wants, such as good people skills, the ability to take criticism or a willingness to learn, Dawson tells Wards.

Following Directions

As the workshop title suggests, the idea is to “fire” unsuitable candidates before they get hired.

Jon headshot - Copy.jpg

Jon headshot - Copy

To demonstrate good people skills, Dawson says, “I may send a candidate out with a camera and tell them to be back in 40 minutes, with video of them talking with five complete strangers, at least 90 seconds each.”

In another exercise, Dawson (pictured, left) says he has candidates watch an online “how-to” video for some relatively simple task.

“Say it’s a seven-minute video. Before they do it, I tell them they can watch the video as many times as they like, however long it takes them to really master what it is they’re expected to do.

“Now, it’s a seven-minute video. And I have some people who are back in seven minutes. They’re back in seven minutes, but they can’t do the task.”

A more “teachable” candidate follows directions and watches the video enough times to master the task, he says.

About the Author(s)

Jim Henry


Jim Henry is a freelance writer and editor, a veteran reporter on the auto retail beat, with decades of experience writing for Automotive News, WardsAuto, Forbes.com, and others. He's an alumnus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. 

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