Three Ways Car Dealers Can Draw Top Job Seekers

Auto retailers can take a page from tech companies’ hiring efforts to get people excited about joining the team.

Adam Robinson

August 20, 2019

4 Min Read
Adam Robinson 2019
Adam Robinson

The top 25 U.S. metro areas (out of a total of 384) accounted for more than half of the nation’s $19.5 trillion GDP in 2017, according to an Axios analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

Outside of these top metro areas, retail automotive is one of the few industries that regularly offers entry-level employees access to six-figure salaries.

Yet, despite the opportunity for financial gain and career growth, college graduates, mothers looking to reenter the workforce and others seeking entry-level positions often have dealerships at the bottom of their consideration list.

Cox Automotive’s 2019 Dealership Staffing Study says only 25% of job seekers and employees outside the automotive industry show an interest in dealership careers.

To attract talent, a dealership should modernize its employment brand – especially if the store is located outside the top 25 metro areas in the U.S., where the talent pool is smaller.

Here are three ways dealerships can take a page from tech companies’ hiring efforts to get quality job seekers excited about joining the team.

1. Decide what you want your employment brand to stand for.

In today’s competitive hiring market, your employment brand can make or break the likelihood of attracting and hiring qualified talent. The 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study found that 69% of candidates would reject a job offer from a company with a bad employment brand.

A key aspect to any strong employment brand is ensuring job seekers understand a workplace’s culture and values.

Walser Automotive, a dealership group with more than 20 locations in Minnesota and Kansas, is an example of a retail automotive leader that has shaped its employment brand around intentional core values.

Those values include doing the right thing, leading by example, displaying positive energy and being open-minded.

As stated on the Walser website, its values aren’t just words; they drive every aspect of the business.

Take a similar approach by putting defined core values into place, highlighting these values in employment brand materials (including your job descriptions and career site), hiring employees based on your core values and holding employees accountable to living by these values.

2. Incorporate an intentional value proposition to the people side of business.

Top job seekers today are interested in more than compensation when they’re considering career opportunities.

This means a dealership needs a strong, intentional value proposition that answers the job-seeker question, “What’s in it for me?”
To answer that, a dealership should outline key benefits of joining its team.

These include career paths, employee success stories/testimonials and an overview of the dealership’s company culture.

A dealership also should touch on any pay plan benefits (such as whether it offers a commission-based or a base-plus-bonus plan).

According to Cox staffing study, 41% of job seekers would not consider a position that was paid strictly on commission, while 32% of current dealership sales consultants already have considered leaving due to a commission-based pay structure.

Fox Motors, a dealership group with more than 30 locations across Illinois and Michigan, has taken a proactive approach to developing an intentional employee value proposition. On its careers page, one of its missions, front and center, is “Putting People First.”

The page outlines how the group cares for its team, including insurance benefits, vacation and sick days, discounts on products and parts, mentor programs and more.

A strong employee value proposition excites and attracts top talent.

3. Mirror trends in diversity recruiting.

Technology companies have done a great job of recruiting diverse employees for their open roles. Dealerships can do the same.

For example, rather than requiring a new sales hire to have extensive sales experience, consider hiring an employee – such as a recent college graduate – who aligns well with your core values and will be eager to learn and succeed on your team.

Think outside the box when it comes to the targeted talent pool. Given the low unemployment rate, your team shouldn’t limit recruitment efforts to specific levels of experience, those with dealership backgrounds or specific demographics.
Expand recruitment efforts to reach diverse groups, such as former non-violent offenders, job seekers of all ages and women.

This is possible by writing inclusive job descriptions rather than ones that require a certain level of experience or include language that targets aggressive, lone-wolf salespeople.

Highlight on your career site diverse success stories about employees from a variety of backgrounds.

Dealerships offer employees – from entry-level through senior management –opportunities for long-term success. But many job seekers don’t realize this and hold the misconception that dealership roles have limited room for growth.

Modernizing your employment brand can change the perception about working in auto retailing and attract top talent from both inside and outside the industry.

Adam Robinson is co-founder and CEO at Hireology.

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