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Dealership Hiring: Excite Young Job Seekers to Join Your Team

Dealership hiring is challenging in today’s tight labor market. Not only is most of today’s top talent already employed, but most job seekers aren’t interested in dealership careers. According to Cox Automotive’s 2019 Dealership Staffing Study, interest in dealership careers has significantly declined in recent years. 
The Dealership Staffing Study found that as of 2016, 33 percent of employees from outside the automotive industry indicated they would be interested in dealership roles and this number has dropped to 25 percent as of the 2019 study.

Despite this decline, the good news for dealership hiring is that younger job seekers are interested in working at dealerships. According to the study, 33 percent of Generation Z non-dealership employees are interested in dealership jobs, as well as 36 percent of young millennials. Interest from Generation Z is a strong sign for dealers, as this generation will make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020.
Given interest in dealership careers by younger generations, how can your team improve your dealership recruitment and hiring efforts to attract Generation Z and millennial workers? We’ve outlined several key tips below. 

Present Training and Growth Opportunities

Today’s job seekers spend a significant time researching prospective employers before applying to open roles. And top talent is looking for more than simply an exchange of time for money – instead, they want to join a team that will offer them the opportunity for long-term career growth. 
The Dealership Staffing Study 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. 
Before prospective employees apply to your open roles or walk into your dealership, they need to have an understanding of the training and growth opportunities your team has to offer. In your job descriptions and on your career site, highlight various career paths – such as paths on both the sales and fixed ops side of the business – and include employee success stories highlighting staff who have risen through the ranks. 
In your recruitment materials, also share how you’ll set your team up for successful long-term dealership careers. 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. Making your training opportunities known to job seekers will make them more motivated to join your dealership team.

Offer Short and Sweet Job Applications

A recent study found that more than 60 percent of Generation Z job seekers are only willing to spend 15 minutes or less on a job application. If part of your dealership hiring process includes filling out a lengthy application, you’re likely losing out on qualified job seekers who don’t want to spend the time on your application – and instead apply for roles at other organizations with simpler applications.
All your dealership needs to ask for on an initial job application is general contact and background information. Your applications should only require job seekers to include their name, email address, telephone number and resume, with an option to add a cover letter explaining why they want to join your team. You can easily gather any other required information from qualified applicants during the interview process. 

Engage Top Talent with Text Messaging 

In today’s competitive hiring market, you don’t want to miss out on top candidates because they overlooked your email or you can’t reach them on the phone. Instead of emailing or calling candidates, you should consider keeping in touch with candidates via text message. But this can result in a game of phone tag if you’re not tapping into the right recruitment technology. Rather than using traditional communication methods like phone or email, consider text messaging with candidates. 
A recent study found that 95 percent of Generation Z has a smartphone – and more than half (55 percent) spend five or more hours on their phones each day. With Generation Z and other younger generations spending so much time on their smartphones, they’re more likely to see and quickly respond to your text messages throughout the hiring process. 
Data from another study indicated that up to 90 percent of job seekers would be open to receiving text messages during the application and hiring process. Your team can make the most of messaging by using it to schedule interviews, share directions to your workplace, follow up with feedback post-interview and remind candidates of actions they need to take – such as completing prescreen surveys.
Hireology data shows that text messaging can save up to eight days on your total time to hire. Ultimately, candidate text messaging can improve your dealership hiring by keeping candidates engaged and helping you hire top talent sooner than the competition. 
Generation Z and millennials are making up a growing portion of the workforce. By understanding what they’re looking for in their careers – such as training and career growth – and supporting an engaging applicant experience, you can staff your dealership with qualified employees who drive productivity and profit. For additional tips on keeping candidates engaged throughout the hiring process, read our resource, “The Hireology Candidate Engagement Playbook.” 

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