Dealerships face many challenges when it comes to attracting and hiring top talent for open roles. Unemployment is at a historic low, many dealership roles have high turnover rates and few job seekers are interested in retail automotive careers.
Given these challenges, now more than ever, it’s critical for your dealership to meet job seeker expectations and sell qualified talent on the opportunity joining your team presents. Employees are your dealership’s top source of competitive advantage and by meeting the demands of prospective applicants, you can staff your team with employees who will drive productivity and profitability for your dealership.
Below, we’ve outlined 10 key criteria job seekers look for considering roles at a dealership – and with other employers – and tips for your dealership to create the best candidate and employee experience possible.
1. Simple Job Applications
Depending on the team and role, many job applications are several pages long or result in an endless scroll, leading to a frustrating applicant experience. Recent data found that younger job seekers in particular get turned away by long job applications. In fact, more than 60 percent of Generation Z job seekers are only willing to spend 15 minutes or less on a job application.
Another recent study found that contrary to what some employers might think, long job applications don’t always weed out unqualified candidates. Instead, candidates who might not be qualified and are desperate to find a new role will take the time to fill out the application. On the other hand, qualified job seekers know they can skip complicated job applications and easily find opportunities elsewhere.
For your dealership roles, all you really need to ask on an initial application is general contact and background information. Keep applications simple by only requiring job seekers to include their name, email address, telephone number and resume, with an option to add a cover letter explaining their interest. Additional information about candidates’ fit for your open roles can be uncovered later on in the hiring process – through prescreen surveys, skills tests, interviews and more.
2. A Strong Employer Brand
When it comes to recruiting top talent for open roles at your dealership, you should think of your employer brand as no different than your consumer-facing brand. Just as your website helps you attract customers to purchase or service vehicles, the careers page on your website should encourage job seekers to apply to your open roles.
The most engaged candidates apply to jobs directly through the company career sites, as they take time to research prospective roles rather than simply clicking “apply” on job boards. Eighty percent of career site applicants are considered quality and career sites drive 30 percent of eventual hires.
Your career site gives you the opportunity to excite candidates by telling an employer brand story about your culture, people and core values. On your career site, answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for job seekers by outlining employee benefits, training opportunities and career paths. Also highlight employee success stories and testimonials on your career site, so top talent can envision what it might be like growing their careers with your team.
3. Defined Career Paths
Today’s top job seekers are looking for more than simply an exchange of time for money. Rather, they want to work for organizations where they know they’re contributing to the overall business goals and have the opportunity to grow in their careers.
Starting with your job descriptions and on your dealership career site, outline potential career paths so driven job seekers can imagine themselves working for your team. For example, some job seekers might not have a full understanding of the growth opportunities auto technician careers offer. Beyond simply entry-level technician roles, many technicians have gone on to hold management and leadership roles at dealerships. Former AutoNation CEO, Mike Jackson, started his career as a technician for a Mercedes-Benz Dealership, ultimately serving as president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, overseeing U.S. sales operation and 311 franchised dealerships before joining AutoNation.
On your career site, highlight any possible career paths for roles across departments at your dealership. You can do so by including a visual of each step along the way or by highlighting employee success stories about automotive technicians who have risen through the ranks. Defined career paths can help prospective employees who are researching job online excited about the career opportunities beyond roles.
4. A Streamlined Hiring Process
The average time it takes a job seeker is 21 days, so your dealership needs a streamlined hiring process in place to secure top talent before other potential employers. In fact, Hireology data found that U.S. dealerships lost 2 million applicants in 2019 because they were either never reviewed by the hiring manager or it took longer than 21 days to review.
Your dealership can take several steps to reduce your total time to hire and extend offers to qualified candidates before they either receive other offers or lose interest in your open roles. One step you can take is having your hiring managers commit to reviewing new applicants on a daily basis. Beyond this commitment, you can also automate several steps in the hiring process to keep it moving – and keep candidates engaged. Steps that can be automated include prescreen surveys, interview scoring, reference checks and background checks.
5. Communication Throughout the Hiring Process
Just as today’s seekers demand a streamlined hiring process, they also want to be updated on their status and potential next steps along the way. If your dealership doesn’t keep candidates engaged, they’ll quickly lose interest in your open roles.
After you review and initially reach out to applicants, you should regularly communicate with candidates throughout the entire hiring process. If you’re trying to schedule interviews and can’t find time in a team member’s schedule for a few days, reach out to the candidate instead of leaving them waiting and wondering when – or if – the interview will be confirmed. And if it’s taking a while to receive reference or background checks back from a candidate, contact the candidate to check on the status or see if there’s anything you can do to help.
Also, when candidates don’t end up getting an offer, make sure to close the loop by letting them know. This way, if they’re considering a job with your dealership in the future or know a friend or colleague who would be a great fit for a role, they’ll remember the organized, professional job applicant experience and continuous candidate engagement throughout the process and think positively of your dealership.
One way to make candidate communication more efficient is by tapping into text messaging. Hireology data found that text messaging can decrease total time to hire by an average of eight days. With text messaging, you can avoid the risk of playing phone tag with candidates or emails getting lost in crowded inboxes. Text messages can be used to schedule interviews, share directions to your dealership or remind candidates of steps they need to take.
6. Seamless Onboarding
No new employee wants to spend their entire first day sitting in the HR office filling out paperwork – especially your top employees who are eager to get started with their day-to-day responsibilities.
By partnering with a hiring platform that seamlessly integrates with your other HR systems – such as onboarding and payroll platforms – you can make the transition from candidate to employee seamless. Such an integration enables hiring data to automatically be transferred to kick off a digital onboarding process – before the employee even starts on his or her first day.
Digital onboarding steps employees can complete as soon as they sign an offer letter include: signing the employee handbook, filling out direct deposit information for automated payroll, completing tax forms and filling out benefits paperwork. Sharing this information with employees before the first day can keep them engaged leading up to the start date and helps save time that would have otherwise been spent in the HR office on the first day.
7. Simple HR Processes
Your most motivated employees want to spend their time driving results for your dealership, not completing mundane HR tasks. Starting with onboarding and throughout each employee’s time at your dealership, your team needs to have effective technology and processes in place to make HR-related tasks as user-friendly as possible. If employees can’t find their pay stubs, or lose track of how many systems they need to log into – such as payroll, benefits, time and attendance and countless other systems – they might get frustrated with your company and seek other job opportunities.
Instead of tapping into multiple different systems for your HR needs, your team can partner with a seamless hiring, payroll and benefits provider to decrease manual tasks. For example, if an employee changes his or her benefits election or leaves your company, the change will automatically be reflected across your payroll and benefits, rather than your HR team needing to manually make updates and ensure all information is accurate.
8. Visibility into Their Overall Benefits
Motivated employees want to understand how much your dealership is investing in them. It’s a good start to include a list benefits on your career site or in your offer letters, but to maintain employee engagement, you should also make it easy for employees to access an overview of your benefits.
Employee compensation consists of far more than simply paycheck and salary. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates benefits make up about 37.6 percent of employees’ total compensation. But some employees might not realize just how much your organization is investing in them if they don’t have visibility into their overall benefits statement.
Such a statement enables employees to not only see their paycheck and salary information, but also such benefits as: health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, flexible spending, life insurance, commuter benefits, retirement benefits, time off, and more. Ultimately, this will make employees feel valued when they have full visibility into how much you’re investing in each of them. As a result, employee engagement will increase and your staff will be motivated to positively contribute to your team.
9. Measurable Goals
The 2019 Dealership Staffing Study from Cox Automotive found that only 50 percent of dealership staff say their managers meet with them regularly to set goals and objectives. Additionally, a top reason current dealership staff consider leaving their roles is lack of opportunity for advancement.
Your top employees are likely motivated by striving for and achieving goals. If your dealership doesn’t have goals in place to help employees visualize their success, they won’t hesitate to seek jobs elsewhere. Starting during each employee’s first week, have them sit down with their managers to outline goals that can be tracked on a regular basis – such as monthly or quarterly. Then, make sure your managers follow up with employees to show they care about each employee’s continued growth.
10. Ongoing Training Resources
Once you have goals in place, the next step is setting employees up to successfully reach these goals. And training shouldn’t stop following onboarding.
Beyond initial onboarding, your dealership should offer all employees opportunities for ongoing training. Training might include reimbursing for outside certification, attending recurring lunch-and-learn sessions and completing skills assessments to name a few. Also consider setting aside budget, in case employees are interested in relevant training opportunities you might not already offer. When employees realize you’re investing in their continued growth, they’ll be more motivated to stick with your team for the long haul, rather than seeking out new job opportunities.
The tight labor market makes hiring top talent more competitive than ever before. By meeting the expectations of driven job seekers, you can attract and hire qualified employees at your dealership. Interested in learning more about how to hire qualified employees faster? See a demo or visit Hireology at booth #4137C during NADA Show 2020.